In Nomine Patris Wikia
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Gaspare messina.jpg

Born August 7, 1879.

Gaspare Messina was born to Luciano Messina and Gaspara Clementi in Salemi, Sicily, an ancient village, where he was raised. On November 4, 1905, Messina married 25 year old Francesca Riggio and the couple soon departed for America, initially staying with cousins and in-laws as they settled following Francesca’s pregnancy. Finding a home in Brooklyn, Messina opened a bakery. Their first child was born on January 1, 1911, a son named Salvatore Joseph, to be followed two years later by another boy, Luciano, on January 31. Soon after Luciano’s birth, in 1913-4, the Messinas relocated to Boston, finding a home among a colony of fellow Salemitani. There, Messina would open another bakery and father two more children: Vito Anthony, born April 27, 1915, and Gasparina Francesca, affectionately called “Fannie” on May 4, 1917. Soon after relocating, Messina was quickly recognized as the boss of the local Italian Mafia.

His reign saw massive transformations in American and Boston politics which were reflected in the organization he ran. Starting out with largely Black Hand extortion operations, Messina’s tenure oversaw an increasingly complex and sophisticated series of operations, with real estate schemes at the heart of it. He was also involved in many cross-state schemes with other criminal organizations, smuggling, counterfeiting, and otherwise, and began to gather quite a fortune.

A key component of Messina’s business was largely the legal operation of many stores and other businesses in the Boston area, notably the bakery he first built when he arrived in Boston, and the G. Messina & Company grocery store. Each of these also functioned as bases for his illicit operations, and each brought him new partners, all running their own legal and illegal operations on the side. Part of that growth was the employment of Joseph Lombardo, like Messina a native of Salemi, who quickly gained a reputation for intelligence, charm, and ruthlessness. Most important was the recruitment of Filippo Buccola, a mafia soldier possibly on the run from Sicily who, arriving late 1920, found a very comfortable home in Messina’s mafia. Buccola was shrewd, respected, and quickly moved through the ranks, taking the consigliere position, second only to Messina. Lombardo, ever keen on who held the reins, served as Buccola’s consigliere. Despite the rival power of Charles Solomon, Messina’s power continued to wax, earning him recognition among Italian criminal groups nationwide.

Buccola particularly served as a key figure against a third rival Boston criminal group, that lead by Frank Boyle. Boyle, a native Irishman who'd put down roots in Boston only a few years prior to Messina, had quickly usurped leadership over the largely Irish criminal element existant in the city at that time from his initial base in Boston's Chinatown. Both looking to expand into more sophisticated ventures, they naturally clashed over competition surrounding gambling operations, among others. Boyle dealt a decisive blow through an opportunistic use of the 1919 Boston Police Strike, positioning his best killer, Harry Collins, to utilize the temporary panic of a police-less city and surgically kill Messina's best muscle among other powerful targets, crippling Messina's organization, though Messina and Lombardo escaped unharmed. An agreement was reached with Messina paying tribute to Boyle and then left largely unmolested in the North End. However, a series of events hit Boyle's organization hard. First was the death, on his wedding night to Boyle's daughter, Katie, of Harry Collins, shot in his bed, the culprits still unknown. Next, internecine conflict in Boyle's own organization and the political and deadly pressure exerted by a particularly violent strain of the Klan, left Boyle surviving but heavily weakened in March, 1920, largely through the efforts of his nephew, Michael O'Connell, and his gang. The most efficient member of O'Connell's gang, a veteran named James O'Connor, soon thereafter left O'Connell's group, seeking legitimate employment, and another, a boxer named Patrick Gallagher, sought work in politics. O'Connell himself, following a spiral of alcohol abuse and violence, was arrested in December, 1921, and sentenced to a year in prison for violating Prohibition laws. All of this left Frank with material resources, but depleted in terms of physical power. Meanwhile, through the recruitment of Buccola and a careful build up of muscle, in addition to a lucrative offer of cooperation, Messina was able, in January 1922, to confront Boyle with two possibilities - end the tribute or face war. Boyle, having long since lost Collins and with O'Connell in jail, was forced to give up the tribute and has entered into a very successful, inter-state counterfeiting operation with Messina.

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