Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Revisiting Henderson's Past: American Gangsters

It's time for another peek into the archives ...

Henderson: Home of an American Gangster

It was July 7, 1946, and the headline of the Sunday Gleaner and Journal read “2 Chicago Gangsters Nabbed in Henderson.” It is easy to imagine that the town’s residents were aghast as they read the story of the early Saturday morning FBI raids on Center Street and in the Weaverton district. The two men captured, George “Bugs” Moran and Virgil Summers, had lived as Hendersonians for several weeks, with none of the town’s citizens becoming wise to their true identities.

Born to Irish and Polish ancestry, Bugs Moran was a notorious mobster and bootlegger of the 1920s era of prohibition. One of the most illicit underbosses in Chicago’s northern outfit, his most renowned enemy was the disreputable Al Capone, who Moran saw as an unregenerate wrong-doer. After Moran’s involvement in the city’s 1929 gangland mass murder, Capone annihilated Moran’s gang in the nefarious St. Valentine’s Day massacre, shutting down the north-sider’s Chicago operations and forcing George Moran to turn to a life of pettier crime.

At noon on July 6, 1946 in Washington, D. C., FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover made the announcement that Moran, along with Summers, had been captured and charged with armed bank robbery. With the FBI tailing Bugs Moran and his family for weeks from Owensboro to Henderson, disguising themselves as neighbors and servants in nearby homes, they had made the arrest that morning in Henderson, disrupting the delinquent’s sleep and restoring Henderson’s well-being.

To learn more about George “Bugs” Moran, Virgil Summers, and their Henderson capture, come visit us upstairs in the library. As always, you can see what else we have by visiting our Genealogy and Local History webpage.

(Photo is of George "Bugs" Moran.)

No comments: