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Overview

Born on the 21st of August 1893, George ‘Bugs’ Moran was a famous American mobster, bootlegger and a prominent figure in the North Side Gang that was popular in the Prohibition-era. Born Adelard Cunin, he rose in the mafia ranks to one of the most powerful and feared gangsters in Chicago. He used fear and assassinations (drive-by Shootings) to assert his authority in the dreaded American mob world. Although he was a common gangster, his breakthrough came in during the famous American Prohibition era where he majored in bootlegging. He was actively involved in the distribution and selling of banned alcoholic drinks and beverages. He lived a gangster life often evading the authorities as well as fighting his rivals, the South Side Gang (The Chicago Outfit) He passed on in February 25, 1957 while serving a 10 year sentence at the Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary.

Early life

Moran was born to French immigrants Jules and Marie Diana Gobeil Cuninin Minnesota and attended Creighton School. His father was a strict man who often fell out with him but his deeply religious mother was always on his side. It is while at Creighton that Moran ventured into crime by joining local juvenile gangs that were known for muggings, burglary and petty theft. His first encounter with the authorities was when he was caught in a burglary incident at a local store. He was sent to the juvenile correctional facility where he went 3 more times for similar crimes just before 21.

Instead of changing for better, he became a hardcore criminal and escaped to Chicago where he was involved in more robberies, horse stealing rackets and even the death of a police officer. By this time, he was a feared gangster in Chicago together with his new accomplices, Charles “the Ox” Reise, Hymie Weiss, Dean O’Banion and Vincent Drucci.

Just like you’d expect from a mobster, he married twice. His first wife Evelyn Herrell Moran left him because of his criminal lifestyle. He later married Lucille Logan Bilezikdijan Moran with whom they had a son called John George Moran.

 

Taking Advantage of Prohibition

It is after the enactment of prohibition that Moran and his gang saw a great potential in bootlegging. Smuggling, distributing and selling alcohol was much more viable than robberies. Of course they would sell their alcohol as a scarce commodity and at very high prices. It wasn’t long before they knew the South Side Gang was in business too. Immediately, squabbles begun but they managed to settle them amicably as they were also being targeted by the authorities so laying low was important for both gangs. At that time, the Chicago Outfit was headed by Johnny Torrio, a humble guy who loved peace but sooner than later, he was replaced by the aggressive Alphonse Gabriel aka “Al” Capone who was driven by the desire to control the trade.

 

The North and South Gangs Feud

Even though most of the feuds between the gangs were managed amicably, the North Side Gang didn’t take lightly the murder of one of their own, Dean O’Banion. It is alleged that O’Banion was killed in retaliation for setting up one of Torrio’s breweries to the police. Moran didn’t take this lightly and being a gangster, he was ready to declare war on the Chicago Outfit. Moran and Weiss then made an attempt on Torrio’s life and this was a clear statement, the cold war that was there was now a real mafia war. Unfortunately, Weiss was murdered before taking out Torrio. Moran was now the head of the North Side Gang.

 

Moran Breaks Bad

After the unfortunate demise of Weiss, Moran waged a hard war on Capone. He killed prominent figures of the Chicago Outfit, Capone’s closest friends, ambushed his alcohol supplies and even destroyed his nightclubs and businesses. Capone was now on the receiving end. He then went for the kill and planned an attack on Capone’s inner circle. Capone seemed prepared and fought back resulting to the infamous ”The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre”

 

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

After Moran had ripped of almost half of his empire, Capone knew it was the time to end all this so he tricked Moran in to a lucrative whiskey deal through an anonymous phone call. The shipment was to arrive from Detroit at 10:30 and Moran being a businessman, he fell to the lie that it would be a great bargain. Capone had his men camouflage in a police car and uniform and when they struck at the warehouse, Moran’s men thought it was an ordinary raid. Fortunately for him, he saw the car earlier and fled. His men were asked to face the wall and they obliged before being shot repeatedly. Another innocent civilian who was Moran’s lookalike was also shot and Capone knew he had succeeded.

Read More about the Valentine’s Day Massacre here

After Prohibition

After the the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Moran laid low and tried to consolidate his empire. After prohibition, the mafia’s business was on its knees. The North Side Gang lost its influence and Moran had to go back to his earlier life of normal crimes like robbery, extortion and fraud.

 

Incarceration

Moran’s escapades came to an end in April 30, 1939 when he was arrested for conspiring to make $62,000 worth of American Express checks. He was freed on bond and escaped but was later captured in December 21, 1943. By mid 1940s, he was a broke man and had to involve himself in robberies which got him a 20 year jail term after an unsuccessful robbery in Dayton, Ohio. After serving the sentence, he was once again tried for robbery and sentenced to 10 more years in 1957.

 

Demise

He passed on in February 25, 1957 at the age of 63, just months in to the second sentence at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. It is believed that he died from lung cancer complications. Even though he was once a filthy rich mafia boss, he died a poor man with just over $100 under his name.

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Saint Valentine’s day is a day that most people around the world celebrate their loved ones. It might have a sad story behind it, we all know about the beheading of St. Valentine, but that’s not the only major tale this day carries with it. Apparently, on February the 14th in 1929, someone was in no mood for some loving acts. He had some other idea; the Big Gangland Massacre’, as it was referred to by the Chicago Herald Examiner in February 15, 1929. This marked the death of six of Bugs Moran’s man.

Like every other known massacre, it was a carefully planned and effectively carried out plan. It is no surprise that no one was found guilty of the heinous crime.

FACTORS THAT LED TO THE ST. VALENTINES MASSACRE

The Saint valentines massacre took place in a city that was well known for gang wars and all forms of illegal trade in that particular period- Chicago. There were two major gangs pursuing each other. One of the gangs was led by Al Capone and the other by Moran Bugs. Moran wasn’t always a gang leader, but the rivalry between the two leaders began long before he took up the position. Al Capone had killed Bug’s pal and gang leader in a bid to rule over the antagonized territory. Moran Bugs had however taken the lead and relentlessly gone after Capone, crippling his trade in a big way.

The two leaders would stop at nothing to get the luxurious illegal trade under their control.

A previous notable rivalry act was recorded when Moran and his men tried to assassinate Capone as he was having lunch, by showering more than one thousand bullets into the hotel he was in. Capone might have survived the ordeal but Moran was determined to send him to his untimely death. With a 50,000$ bounty placed on his head in the 1920’s, Capone was everyone’s target. He had to kill Moran if he wanted to be a free man. The fact that Moran killed Capone’s man, Pasquillano, cemented that resolution and marked the birth of the massacre idea. Moran Bugs’ assassination was set to be carried out on 14th February.

What took place?

One of the main activities the gangs were involved in included bootlegging. Not only would they manufacture beer illegally, they also distributed it likewise.

It is alleged that Al Capone arranged for Moran’s deception concerning a delivery comprising of hijacked whiskey on St. Valentine’s day. Moran and his men were supposed to be at their pick point, a friend’s garage in the north, at 10:30 am. Bugs’ poor time keeping skills ensured he arrived much later than agreed. His keen eyes had him spot a police car outside the garage so he drove away from the scene, leaving his members in the hands of the perceived lawmakers.

Several bullets and six deaths later, it emerged that they had been beaten at their own game. The men in police uniform were hired thugs with a fake police car. They had pretended to apprehend the gang members, had them surrender their guns and face the wall before raining bullets on them. Talk about being stabbed in the back, literally. Two policemen then walked out behind two civilians, leading people to believe that they had seized some gang members and thus buying them enough time to escape.

Moran had a narrow escape but he was no longer a match for Al Capone. As expected, Capone vehemently denied any association with the episode. He even suggested that Bugs had committed the operation against his own gang. No one had any proof that he was involved, so he retained his freedom; for a short while.

LIFE AFTER THE MASSACRE

The massacre changed several things in the Chicago gang territory.

1. The fall of the two major gangs.

(i).The Fall of Capone’s gang.

Capone may have been good at concealing all the incriminating evidence, but not even his great personality could fool the public that previously adored him. He was known to give food and clothes to the poor. After the incidence he was branded an enemy of the people and had to sneak out of the territory for his own security.

The police were also not so eager to let him walk free. They soon began arresting him due to other allegations, including tax evasion, and his hold on the territory got weaker. He was found guilty of other misconducts and sent to jail.

(ii).The Fall of Moran Bugs.

Moran lost his faithful gang members and was severely rattled by the circumstance. This made him turn to bank robberies, which were small undertakings bearing in mind what he used to do. He was later arrested, charged and jailed.

He then battled and succumbed to lung cancer a few years later, while in prison.

2. Creation of a tourist attraction.

 

As the tale about the Saint Valentines massacre spread, people began vising the hall to quench their curiosity. A couple who did not know much about the hall even tried setting up a business there, but the business failed as the people who frequented there were more interested in the history of that place.

I don’t know whether it still qualifies for the ?€tourist attraction’ tag, given that they building was never preserved and the many people that it freaks out these days. There are claims that people have heard gunshots and screams when walking around the place during the night. Even dogs don’t seem fond of that place. That however, is up for debate.

3. Rise of some of the most priced building blocks.

Talking of business acumen, no one beats this Canadian business man. He bought some of the block that the bullets had ruined and used them in his night club. They were part of the building blocks in the men’s washroom. To ensure no one felt left out, ladies would be let visit the washrooms to see them on certain days of the week.

When he closed down his business, he sold out the blocks for 1000$ each! The blocks soon found their way back to him with people claiming they carried great misfortune with them. Could they have caused his business closure too?

The St. Valentines Massacre lives to be one of the most famous massacres in the world and of great influence in Moran Bugs life, having marked the beginning of his fall. There had been 64 deaths resulting from gang wars between 1924 to 1929, but none were ever so grave.

The Moran Family

Bugs Moran’s father was Jules Cunin, and his mother was Jules and Marie Diana, they were both French immigrants. Jules Cunin was from Alsace-Lorraine in France and Marie was from Chicoutimi in Canada.

Bugs Moran was the first born this family, and his parents settled on the French side of St. Paul. His father, Jules Cunin was a Mason and with a high request for his skillful labor. Bugs and his father did not get along; Jules was an unkind and a high tempered man.

On the contrary, Marie was a loving and kind mother who loved him unconditionally, even when she discovered about bug’s criminal involvements and his new profile, she loved him instead of judging him.

Bugs Moran was from a family that believed in disciplinary action for wrongdoings; his father had adopted strict disciplinary ways. On the other hand, his mother was a devoted Christian, strongly dedicated to religion.

As a result of bugs Morgan nature, he didn’t get along with his brothers who were priests, and saw them as “Maudit freres” or the cursed brothers. He decided to run away from his family to Chicago, where he associated himself with the local criminal teenagers, this is where he found comfort and slowly advanced his crimes.

When was Bugs Moran born?

Bugs Moran was born in Minnesota on the 21st August 1893 in the United States.

The real name of Bugs Moran is Adelard Cunin. However, he twisted his name to George Miller, John Philips and George Morrissey with the intention of hiding his origin from the public.

He was a youthful acquaintance and, later, assistant of Dion O’Bannion. Hymie and bugs later inherited and controlled O’Bannion gang that was based in Chicago; after the death of the gang’s chief in 1924.

After the death of Hymie, Bugs was the main leader of the gang that was involved in bloody attacks.

Bugs Moran Death

Who is Bugs Moran?

George Moran “bugs” was born in St. Paul Minnesota on August 21, 1891, by Jules Cunin and Marie Diana Gobel. His father was a qualified mason who was highly sought in the region. The hot-tempered and mean lad ran away from home and ended up in Chicago where he started hanging around with local kid criminals. Find out more about his biography.

His Criminal Life

In Chicago, George and his buddies started snatching horses and then demanded ransom. He and his friends were arrested, and when he found his way out of the prison, he was involved in another robbery and was taken back to jail. When he got out on parole, he joined the Notorious Northside gang which was in supremacy battle with the chief gangster, Al Capone, who had a rival gang that wanted to control Chicago. It was on February 14, 1929, when several members aligned to the Northside gang were gunned downed on Clark Street in Chicago by a gang dressed as police officers in what was referred to as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The gang is said to be aligned to Al Capone though it has never been proven. George was the only survivor.

His Peaceful Death

After the incidence, he relegated himself to committing petty crimes, ending his legacy with a longtime incarceration at the Leavenworth federal penitentiary. It is in this prison that he suffered from lung cancer and died.

When did Bugs Moran die?

February 25, 1957