History of Alphonse Capone, founder of The Chicago Outfit

History of Alphonse Capone, founder of The Chicago Outfit

Al Capone

Alfonse Capone, also known as Al Capone, is one of the most infamous American gangsters from the Prohibition era (years 1925 to 1931). Prohibition was the time when the production and sale of liquor was banned in the USA. Alfonse was involved in many criminal activities since he was a teenager and grew up to be the most vicious mobster ever witnessed. Al gained notoriety for his alcohol smuggling, gambling, racketeering and prostitution.

Early life

Al Capone was born to poor immigrant parents Gabriel and Teresa Caponi, who emigrated from Italy to the USA in 1893. Al was the fourth of the nine children and was raised in Brooklyn. At the age of 14, he dropped out of sixth grade because of a conflict with his teacher and ended beating the teacher up. After leaving school, Capone tried various jobs.  He worked at a bowling alley as a pin boy He was a candy store clerk, the cutter in a bookbindery, and a laborer in an ammunition plant.

Married life

Alfonse Capone married Mae Coughlin on December 18, 1918. Their first child was  named Albert Francis Capone and nicknamed Sonny.  The wedding was held at Saint Mary Star of the Sea Church, which was in Brooklyn. Mae was two years older than Capone and was born in 1891. However, at the time of the marriage, both changed their ages and showed that they were 20 years old.  Unlike Al, Mae remained a devoted Catholic all her life.

Mae Capone was never involved in her husband’s business.  She was aware of Al's multiple extramarital affairs and often asked her son not to be like his dad. Mae remained faithful to Al even when he was in jail.  She used to send letters to Capone even visited him frequently in Alcatraz jail, some 3000 miles away from their house.    

Criminal life

During his school days, Capone felt that no respect was given to immigrants and their children.  Capone started taking part in different criminal activities from a very young age. He began his criminal career by serving for the two kid gangs, named South Brooklyn Rippers and Forty Thieves Juniors.  This formed the basis for him to become an important part of the James Street Boys gang. That gang was led by Johny Torrio, who later became a mentor to Al Capone. At such a young age, Al Capone was slashed across his face by a young hoodlum named Frank Gallucio with a sharp knife.  This left a permanent scar on his face and became the basis for him being known as “Scarface”. The fight supposedly began when Capone made some remarks about Franks’ sister. 

Capone moves to Chicago

Capone moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1919, when he was 16 years old. During his stay in Chicago, Capone became part of The Five Points gang, and shortly was among the top ranking members. He became the assistant to the gang’s head, Johnny Torrio, one of Capone’s old friend. 

Capone worked both as a bartender and as an enforcer for his leader. He was  imprisoned numerous times, but nothing stuck because Torrio's influence. This is where he got involved in other crimes like alcohol, gambling, and prostitution.  

In 1925, Capone took over an Italian-American organization called the Chicago Outfit. It was later recognized as the most dominant and dangerous criminal syndicate of the US.

Saint Valentine’s Day massacre

Alfonse Capone is thought to be responsible for the greatest massacre of its time, the Saint Valentine’s Day massacre. It was carried out in 1929 to eliminate the Bugs Miran, the head of the rival gang North Side Gang. In the shooting, seven members were killed.  It happened on February 14, 1929, hence, the name Saint Valentine’s Day massacre.   

Sentenced to jail

The government was enough of AL and decide that it was time to arrest him.  The governor ordered his secretary to figure out how to arrest Capone. This was the when Capone’s downfall began. Capone's profits started to decline due to the Great Depression and the ending of Prohibition. Later, he was found guilty of not filing his tax return. More investigations led to Capone being found of tax fraud when his statements did not match his records. In October 1931, Al Capone was finally convicted and sent to jail for almost a decade for committing tax evasion. Capone initially served in Cook Country Jail. Later, he was moved to a prison in Atlanta, Georgia, He  ended up serving in Alcatraz.


While Alfonse was in jail, he was diagnosed with Syphilis. At that time, this disease was incurable, and by the time Al was freed of Alcatraz in 1939, he was suffering both physically and mentally. The doctors reported that Al was mentally disturbed to a great extent. Supposedly at the age of 39, he had cognitive processes of a 12-year-old child. He was eventually moved to his Florida mansion, where he finally died in 1947, at the age of 48.

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