Frank McErlane

Frank McErlane

Frank McErlane (1894-8 October 1932) was a Prohibition-era gangster.

He led the Saltis-McErlane Gang, allied with the Johnny Torrio-Al Capone Gang, against rival bootleggers, the Southside O'Donnell Brothers. During the Chicago Bootleg Wars, McErlane was known as one of the most violent gunmen of the 1920s.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Frank McErlane was first arrested in 1911 and sent to Pontiac Prison in June 1913 for involvement in a car theft ring. Released on parole in March 1916, he was arrested eight months later as an accessory in the murder of an Oak Park police officer Herman J. Malow, Jr.. [ [ Sheriff William Phillip McEvoy, San Mateo County Sheriff's Department ] at] Sent to Joliet Prison for one year, he attempted to escape but was caught and spent another two years in prison. Shortly after the start of Prohibition, McErlane began running a gang with partner Joseph "Polack Joe" Saltis, operating in the South West section of Chicago. In 1922 McErlane and Saltis allied with the Johnny "The Fox" Torrio-Al Capone Chicago Outfit against the Southside O'Donnell Brothers. During the war with the O'Donnells, McErlane was the first gangster to use the "Tommy" submachine gun, and he killed as many as 15 men during the Bootleg Wars. His attempted assassination of O'Donnell leader Edward "Spike" O'Donnell on 25 September 1925 while driving past a southside storefront, firing over 50 rounds before speeding off, convinced O'Donnell to retire from bootlegging. McErlane was suspected to have taken part in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre on 14 February 1929, and he suffered serious wounds during a gunbattle with Bugs Moran in 1930. While he was recovering in the German Deaconess Hospital, two of Moran's gunmen, reportedly Wille Marks and Ted Newbury, attempted to kill him, but he pulled a revolver from underneath his pillow and began firing, driving off the surprised gangsters. McErlane was wounded in the gunfight, suffering two gunshot wounds in his injured leg and one in his arm, but he recovered. In 1932 he became ill with pneumonia and died within days.

Further reading

*Asbury, Herbert. "The Gangs of Chicago: An Informal History of the Chicago Underworld". New York: Alfred A. Knoff, 1940. ISBN 1-56025-454-8
*Binder, John. "The Chicago Outfit". Arcadia Publishing, 2003. ISBN 0-7385-2326-7
*Chiocca, Olindo Romeo. "Mobsters and Thugs: Quotes from the Underworld". Toronto: Guernica Editions, 2000. ISBN 1-55071-104-0
*Enright, Laura L. "Chicago's Most Wanted: The Top Ten Book of Murderous Mobsters, Midway Monsters, and Windy City Oddities". Dulles, Virginia: Potomac Books Inc., 2005. ISBN 1-57488-785-8
*Lashly, Arthur V. "Illinois Crime Survey". Chicago: Illinois Association for Criminal Justice and the Chicago Crime Commission, 1929.
*Reppetto, Thomas A. "American Mafia: A History of Its Rise to Power". New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2004. ISBN 0-8050-7798-7


*English, T.J. "Paddy Whacked: The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster". New York: HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN 0-06-059002-5
*Kelly, Robert J. "Encyclopedia of Organized Crime in the United States". Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2000. ISBN 0-313-30653-2
*Sifakis, Carl. "The Mafia Encyclopedia". New York: Da Capo Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8160-5694-3
*Sifakis, Carl. "The Encyclopedia of American Crime". New York: Facts on File Inc., 2001. ISBN 0-8160-4040-0

External links

* [ Frank McErlane and the Chicago Beer Wars] by Allan May

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