American Mobsters – John Morrissey (Old Smoke)

Johnny Morrissey started out as a feared bare-knuckles boxer, but later became a gang member and leg breaker for the politicians of Tammany Hall.

Morrissey was born in Templemore, County Tipperary, Ireland in 1831. The famed potato famine was in its infancy, but his parents saw the writing on the wall. They immigrated to America in 1833 and settled in Troy, New York. Not being educated, but good with his fists, Morrissey was relegated to working as a collection agent for the local Irish crime bosses. While working as a bouncer in a Troy brothel, Morrissey taught himself how to read and write. Realizing his future was limited in Troy, Morrissey made the short trek to New York City. There he made his name as a rough hooligan fighting often in various bars and piers, just for sport.

One day he engaged in a impromptu fight with Tom McCann, at the indoor pistol gallery under the St. Charles Hotel. McCann was getting the best of Morrissey, when a powerful punch drove Morrissey over the coals from a hot stove, which had been overturned. Morrissey’s clothes and flesh were badly burning, and with smoke comes from his backside, he leaped forward and battered McCann senseless. Hence, the nickname “Old Smoke.”

After winning a few more battles inside and outside the ring, Morrissey challenged world champion Yankee Sullivan for the world title. The fight took place on October 12, 1853, at Boston Corners, on the border of Massachusetts and New York. Morrissey was battered throughout the fight, but won by disqualification in the 37th round, when Sullivan hit him while he was down.

Buoyed by his newfound fistic fame and now a member of the Dead Rabbits, a feared street gang, Morrissey was hired by Tammany Hall to protect the polling places from the Bowery Boy’s gang, led by Butcher Bill Poole. Poole and his pals terrorized the polling places on election days in favor of the Native American, or Know-Nothing political party. On Election Day, 1854, Poole announced that he and thirty of his Bowery Boys were headed to a certain local election place to destroy the ballot boxes. Tammany Hall called on Morrissey to protect their interests, and with John A. Kennedy, who later became New York City’s Superintendent of Police, they assembled a gang of over fifty Dead Rabbits. They and stood in wait at the polling place for Poole’s arrival.

A man of his word, Poole arrived the polling place and he and his gang entered, looking to do as much damage as possible. Immediately Poole realized his group was vastly outnumbered by Morrissey and the Dead Rabbits. Poole met Morrissey in the center of the room, and after staring menacingly at each other for a few moments, without saying a word, Poole abruptly turned and left, taking his gang with him. Tammany Hall was so overjoyed by Morrissey’s heroics, they gave him a free gambling house, under the protection of the police, of course.

In 1855, Morrissey changed Poole to a bare-knuckles fight on a pier near Christopher Street. Poole accepted, but instead of fighting with his fist, Poole tried to crush Morrissey to death, which he almost did. A few months later, Poole was shot and killed by Morrissey’s close friend Lew Baker, at Stanwix Hall, a bar on Broadway near Prince Street. Both Baker and Morrissey were arrested for the murder of Poole, but after three mistrials (rumor had it that Tammany Hall influenced some jurors in Morrissey and Baker’s favor), the charges were finally dropped.

In 1857, after he retired from boxing, Morrissey opened 16 gambling house, including an exceptionally profitable one in Sarasota Springs. With the backing of Tammany Hall, he was elected United States Congressman from New York from 1867-71. In 1873, tired of Tammany Hall’s illegal tactics, which were only surpassed by the illegal tactics Morrissey employed himself in Congress, Morrissey testified against Tammany Hall chief Boss Tweed. Tweed was convicted and sent to prison, where he subsequently died. As a reward for his service to his country, Morrissey was elected to the New York State Senate in 1875. He was still a Senator when he died of pneumonia in 1878, at the age of 47.

In 1999, Morrissey, a.k.a. “Old Smoke,” was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Willis Newton’s First Train Robbery – 1914

On December 29, 1914, Willis robbed his first train, at age 25. He had just been released from serving time in prison and met up with an old friend, Red Johnson. The two had gone to Uvalde and while there had broken into a hardware store to steal some Winchester 30-30s and ammunition for a pistol Willis was carrying. They decided to go to Cline, a small settlement west of Uvalde, by foot the day after Christmas with the intent of robbing the Southern Pacific Number 9 passenger train that passed through the station around midnight.

In his last interview in 1979, he described his first train robbery:

“Just after Christmas, me and Red Johnson set off for Cline (Texas) by foot. I knowed the Number 9 train came in there about midnight and took on water. So I told Red, ‘Let’s rob that train tonight.’

“That night we went down to a little freight house near the depot. While we was waiting we took the linings out of our big overcoats to cover our heads and use as masks. When the train came in that night, we hit the back of it.

“An old brakeman hollered at us and said, ‘Hey! You can’t get on here!’

“I told him, ‘Like hell we can’t,’ and I jabbed that pistol in his belly and he changed his tune. He didn’t give us no trouble. We went in to the first car that was a special car for the superintendent of the Southern Pacific Railroad, old man Watkins. He was in there with another fellow. Watkins had a big old thick pocketbook and we thought we had a wad of money. Damned if his pocketbook wasn’t full of them railroad passes and 40 measly dollars!

“We went on up through the Pullman cars. We ain’t never been in a Pullman car so we didn’t know about them berths upstairs too. We just got the ones on the bottom and went through two of them. If we come up on a woman by herself we let her go.

“When we come through the first car, we didn’t know there was a drawing room in there with a rich old Mexican riding with his daughter. Sure enough, they had several thousand in cash and $15,000 in jewelry in a little bag up there. They was in a compartment car and we didn’t know nothing about that so we passed them up.

“Getting close to Spofford, we pulled the cord, stopped the train, and got off. In a few minutes we was hightailing it through them prickly pear flats headed toward Crystal City. In two days we were in Crystal City, sitting in my mother’s kitchen.

“We got $4,700 off the train; more money than we had ever seen. I give Red half and we went down to the hotel and had us a big steak dinner.”

Along with the stories of ringing in the New Year, the Texas newspapers were ablaze with front-page accounts of the “daring train robbery.” The San Antonio Express quoted a number of first-hand accounts of the train robbery that vary from Willis’ version, particularly in how they treated the passengers when they demanded their cash and valuables.

Two Bandits Awaken and Rob Passengers on Southern Pacific Obtain $7840 And Many Valuables; Overlook $16,000

Robbers Boarded a Train near Spofford And Escaped After 18 Minutes’ Search of Passengers.

Are Headed for Mexico

Posse in Pursuit Following Three Clues In Hope of Effecting A Capture Before Robbers Cross the Rio Grande-Mexican Who Saves His Fortune Reimburses Those Robbed.

… More than $7,840 and a number of watches, jewels, guns and other valuables were taken and $16,000 in gold was overlooked when masked men robbed the two rear sleepers of the Sunset Central Express train between Cline and Spofford about 2:30 o’clock yesterday morning. The robbery required eighteen minutes, during which time the bandits took the belongings of 14 passengers in the San Antonio sleeper at the rear of the train, and using W. F. Kendall, brakeman as a shield continued part way through another Pullman as the train neared Spofford, when the bandits retreated to the rear Pullman, pulled the bell cord and escaped.

Although posses organized by Ranger Phelps and R. C. Watkins, division superintendent of the Sunset Central of this city, one of the victims, were organized at Spofford and Del Rio immediately after the robbery, no trace of the robbers has been found.

Two men discovered in a tool house on the Eagle Pass branch of the road were arrested and released. As the distance to the border is only about 30 miles by rail and about 33 miles by direct route, it is believed that the men are making an effort to reach the boundary line and cross into Mexico.

Jose Martinez, a wealthy mine owner of Durango, Mexico was overlooked by the bandits and remained the happy possessor of about $16,000 in cash and several hundred dollars’ worth of jewelry. Martinez and his wife and daughter, occupied the drawing room in the front end of the last sleeper. They knew nothing of the presence of the bandits until aroused by the Negro porter, John Dunmore, who told him robbers were going through the train and that they had better hide their money and valuables.

The warning was heeded and the trio waited almost breathless for the appearance of the masked pair to search their compartment. Minutes that seemed like hours passed and finally Martinez returned to stick his head out into the car and learned that the bandits had completed their mission.

Whether due to their unfamiliarity of Pullman cars or to their haste, the drawing room was slighted in the holdup game, as were those occupying upper berths. Two men in the rear sleeper occupying upper berths were not disturbed by the bandits and one never knew anything about the occurrences until later aroused by the victims when inquiring about his loss.

He made an inventory and found his purse containing $200, his gold watch and other valuables had not been molested and were under his pillow where he had put them up on retiring.

Overjoyed with having escaped the robbers, Martinez summoned the porter who had warned him and his family of the danger and handed him a roll of bills as a reward.

Learning of the plight of some of the passengers who had been relieved of every cent they had and most of them of everything else of value, Martinez decided to share his good luck and wealth with his fellow travelers. To each he gave money in sums ranging from $25-$100 in proportion to their losses and other circumstances as he learned by personal investigations.

The newspaper article went on to detail how Willis and Red roughed up the passengers to get them to hand over their valuables. Contrary to Willis’ self-described chivalry toward women, the article dispelled any doubts he was more than willing to accost women as well as men when it came to demanding all of their valuables.

… The bandits were described by passengers as brutes and were extremely rough at times in the handling of their victims. While several passengers were struck by the butts of guns in the hands of the robbers and more or less seriously wounded, not a shot was fired. At least four persons required medical attention after the bandits had taken their departure, and one woman whose name could not be learned, suffered an ugly gash in the head, which required 11 stitches to close. Exasperated at the thoughts of parting with her valuables, she first pleaded with the bandits without avail, and then she resisted their attempts to relieve her of her money and jewelry, when one of them drew his gun back and struck her across the head, inflicting an ugly gash and severe bruises.

One woman traveling with her four-month-old baby escaped brutal treatment and managed to save $185, which she had secreted under her bed. Occupying a lower birth in the rear car, she became hysterical when awakened and, looking out saw the masked bandits demanding money from the passengers. Time was valuable to the robbers and losing patience in their efforts to calm her, one of the men called out:

“Oh, let her go: she’s nothing but a baby,” and the pair moved to the next birth with orders to the brakeman to hurry and rouse the passengers.

One man who appeared slow in getting his money and time piece together was given a hard jab with the dangerous end of a gun and he dropped his money in this aisle of the car. Another rap from the gun and he was made to jump out of his birth and gather up the money and handed to the brakeman, who quickly passed it to the robbers.

One man who was a sound sleeper came within an ace of waking up in eternity when he failed to respond quickly to the shaking given him by the brakeman.

The robbers were not inclined to tarry and when the sleeper did not come across they were about to strike him a deadly blow, but the brakeman succeeded in rousing the sleeper and impressing upon him the seriousness of the situation just in time to save him from a beating.

One woman fainted and was quickly relieved of her money, jewelry, and purse containing her railroad ticket before she was revived.

This instance seems to awaken a strain of humor in the makeup of one of the holdup man, for he remarked, “If we could only put them all to sleep as easy-this would be the life.”

Apparently, some of the passengers were more than willing to exaggerate or totally fabricate their recollections of the robbery to reporters covering the holdup. In one case, a passenger identified himself as being the brother of the past president of Mexico.

… One of the first stories of the holdup obtained from an eyewitness came from Walter Grimmer, an employee of the electric light plant at Del Rio. Mr. Grimmer was a passenger out of San Antonio. He was riding in the day coach and declares emphatically that the two robbers boarded the train at San Antonio and sat almost directly across the aisle from him.

Mr. Grimmer says he was attracted to them almost as soon as the train left San Antonio by their suspicious actions and unusually tough appearance. He says a Ranger occupied a seat directly in front of him and that the men evidently recognize the officer and appeared to avoid his eyes whenever he looked in their direction.

According to Mr. Grimmer the two men waited until practically everyone in the day coach was asleep, when they left their seats and walked through the coach. Mr. Grimmer says he was awake at the time, watched the men walk through the day coach and saw them cross the platform and enter the first Pullman. He says he got a good look at the robbers and would easily be able to identify them. One he described as a man of exceptionally heavy build.

He says after going through the Pullmans the men signaled the train to stop and jumped to the ground on the moonlight side of the train. The aroused passengers saw them plainly as they ran. Both men are said to be Americans.

Benjamin Madero, brother of the late President of Mexico, is believed to have been one of the passengers in the upper berths who escaped attention. He arrived at the Sunset Station too late to get a lower birth and was consigned to the upper number five. Madero is supposed to have saved his belongings, although all of the others and excepting the passenger in the remaining upper, and the Martinez family in the drawing room, were robbed.

George Miller, a cattleman from Marathon was one of the passengers in a lower birth, and was robbed of his valuables. It is supposed that several hundred dollars were found in his possession.

Mr. and Mrs. L. T. Wood of 217 San Pedro Ave. lost their money and valuables when the brakeman awoke them and told them that the car was being robbed and to turn over everything they had.

Superintendent Watkins, who was asleep in a lower birth about the middle of the train, was one of the first to be robbed. He was relieved of $25 and pass books. Sam Scammahorn, a yard master at the Sunset Station, lost his revolver, watch and the pocketbook.

F. H. Bednarak, chief dispatcher lost his watch and some money. The three railroad men were on their way to a point on the Eagle Pass branch to hunt big game, but they joined the posse on the trail of the bandits.

C. D. Woodward, the Pullman car conductor in charge of the rear sleeper in the train, was not overlooked and the robbers relieved him of $156 including his own and the company’s money.

Following this article that gave a vivid account of the pistol-whipping some of the passengers experienced during the hold-up, the San Antonio Light ran this front-page reward notice on January 2.


The G. H. & S. A. Ry. Co. offers $500 reward for the arrest and conviction of the two men who robbed the passengers on train No. 9 on the night of Dec. 29, 1914 between Cline and Spofford, Texas, by order of Superintendent R. C. WATKINS

Apparently, the reward offer worked; the January 21 edition of the same newspaper ran a bold front-page headline.

Two Men Are Arrested As Train Bandits

Sheriff Johnson of Uvalde Is In San Antonio With


The article went on to describe the arrest of two men who were working on a ranch near Uvalde. One was a recently released convict who had served time for burglary. Working on a tip, the Uvalde County sheriff sent two men to the ranch to surreptitiously identify the two men:

… Superintendent Watkins and W. C. Cox, both whom had been passengers on the train, went to Uvalde and, so as not to excite suspicion, went on a bird hunt to a ranch eighteen miles west of Uvalde, where the two suspects were working. Both declared there could be no doubt as to one of the men and they believed they could identify the other as well.

As it turned out the reward was never paid to the informant; the case fell apart when one of the eyewitnesses, a woman, could not positively identify the redheaded man. The law stayed on the case for a few more months and then slowly let it fade away.

Willis was never arrested for the hold-up. For some reason he concentrated on bank jobs until 1921 when he and his gang reeled off three train heists during that year. Then in 1924, the Newton Gang hit the grand slam, ripping off over $3 million from an express mail train near Rondout, Illinois.

Aion – Tower of Eternity Crafting Guide

Once you get ready to enter the world of Atreia in Aion: The Tower of Eternity, you’ll be given much choice and power over the character you want to ultimately develop. From choosing among the specific subclasses of Mage, Priest, Scout, and Warrior to developing your own unique skill set, you will have a range of options in Aion. When you are deciding on a skill set and a craft to have for your character, you’ll more than likely need some information about what each is. This is a guide on the major crafting abilities in Aion.

Armor Smith

This is perhaps one of the best crafting abilities that you can have if you need to use heavy armor in Aion, which you will. The Armor Smith is able to craft and develop the best shields, chain armors, and plate armors, and you’ll need all of these once you start making your way deeper into higher levels of the game. Even though this isn’t a good craft to make money with, you’ll be able to stay alive with it by using Ores, Aether, and Kinah, which are the major armor materials needed as an Armor Smith.


The Tailor would be a good craft to master if you decide to become a Scout or a Mage. The Tailor is able to craft every sort of cloth armor, leather armor, and similar versions of the tools that the Armor Smith is able to create. As a Scout or Mage you’ll have to heavily rely on your armor for protection, which is why this craft is recommended for these two characters. In addition, the Tailor isn’t the best profession to master if your main goal is making money, but it should come in useful in a variety of situations.


As a Handicraft professional you’ll have the ability to make money through all sorts of objects that you can create: jewelry, earrings, necklaces, and rings. You can also make bows, staffs, and glasses. This profession is definitely one of the most versatile as far the objects that you can create, and as such, will be best to master if you quickly want to gather some money.


Creating potions, Manastones, and scrolls is something that you’ll excel at if you decide to choose this profession. If you decide to be an Alchemist you’ll have a major advantage when it comes time to engage in player versus player battle. In addition, if you choose this profession as a Spiritmaster or a Sorcerer then you can also create the best orbs and Spellbooks.


As a cook, this is one of the easiest professions or crafts to master and will give you a good edge over other characters if you’re looking to trade skills. You can make lots of food with the Cooking profession in Aion, and the food is even able to be customized just as is the characters and other elements of the game. This is also a good profession to master if your character needs his or her stats raised temporarily.

As you can see, there are plenty of crafts to master in Aion: The Tower of Eternity. Since you’ll only be able to master a limited number of them you’ll have to choose your profession wisely. There are advantages to each craft, though, and each has its benefits depending on which Aion character you choose.

Money Management Ideas for A Recent Lottery Winner

Garina Fearon has a lot to think about these days. After winning the New York Mega Millions lottery recently, the 34 year old, Jamaican born, corrections officer has been given a rare opportunity to do whatever she wants with her life. And she doesn’t have to worry about money.

Only thing is, starting with paying Uncle Sam, she does have to worry about money. If she can plan and carry out the plan wisely however, she can make it last for generations. If she doesn’t, she can see it go up in smoke in 5 years like many other lottery winners.

For starters, as a money advisor I must say, I love her working class work ethic. Many people say they would love to just quit their job and do whatever they want. Well after six months that’s a bit challenging to figure out for some people. Especially if they’re used to working hard. Not to mention the concern for payment of the new monthly bills.

Now Ms. Fearon said she intends to still work for the Department of Corrections which is fine. But three years from now she may feel differently. She may come to a point where she realizes the money she has and the responsibilities she has and it may not seem like a fair tradeoff for her. We’ll see. So along with looking at where she is now, Ms. Fearon may want to work elsewhere, start a business of her own, volunteer at her local charity or a combination of all these ideas.

Also, many employers offer benefits at much lower monthly premium rates then if someone paid on their own. Not a concern most times but if she has a major sickness she won’t have to use the lottery money if she doesn’t want to.

Next, I love the fact that she wants to take care of her mother. That’s what money is for, to help you and your family. Her mother can have family along with a caregiver to take care of her.

After her mother is taken care of, she can turn her attention to her two children. For them I say put them in private school if she hasn’t done so already. Best in the country. Doing this will insure that they not only get on the right track education wise but they start to form networks with other success driven kids for their future. So if they want to become architects, painters, business owners, or anything else they have peers they can potentially call on in the future to help.

She can’t allow them to just sit back educationally and relax because they will become addicted to that lifestyle and by the time they’re 45 she’ll wonder what happened. Also, they’ll need the skills to take care of their family. Education being key has not changed.

It’s also important that she makes sure they keep a good work ethic. This money doesn’t mean they don’t work. I’m not saying they have to completely fend for themselves either. The advantage of having money is giving your children a leg up but not a hand out. School work schedule permitting and if they don’t participate in afterschool activities, they can get after school jobs working in a law office, church, doctor’s office, hospital, construction site or a homeless shelter giving of their time. But whatever they decide, they need to work. Video games and movies in the evening and on weekends.

And chores around the house not only teach responsibility but also a commitment to helping fellow family members. It can go a long way when it comes to family bonding that people may not realize until later in life.

A good example for Ms. Fearon in raising her children is the book “Titan” by Ron Chernow. The biography profiles the life of John D Rockefeller on not only how he amassed the wealth he did but also on how he managed it for himself and his family. Religious values, money, family, education and giving back all rolled into one life.

She also needs to set aside money for their college and maybe even post graduate schooling. These are investments in their futures and should be funded with enough money to allow them the best that money can buy.

If her son wants to go to medical school and learn to communicate with sharks to see how they can help humans cure cancer, diabetes or any other diseases, he’s going to need the money to do that. Working a part time job in school may take away that focus.

Next Ms. Fearon can look at charities that have meaning to her and map out a five to twenty year plan on how to give to those charities. She can start with a charity that focuses on finding a cure for diabetes which her mother suffers from. She can look at homeless shelters as well.

She’ll get many offers to donate and she’ll find it tough to turn them down but unfortunately she’ll have to for many of them. Others she’ll have to give small amounts to. If she doesn’t, she’ll begin to run low on money for the lifestyle she wants for her family. As a compromise, she may be able to encourage other people to give to charities she can’t.

Now where Ms. Fearon moves her family is critical. This is where she has to be very, very careful. If she buys a home or homes that bleed her cash every month at a high rate she can quickly find herself among those who win a fortune and see it gone in five years. I’m not saying she has to stay in a small apartment eating rice and beans by candlelight either. She just needs to be careful on how many homes she buys. Also, what they cost monthly compared to monthly income and what other household items cost.

And I know for many people having a home completely paid off is a comforting feeling but I would recommend that she not pay off a home completely just so she has a reserve for later. How much to put down for the home(s) will be a very important and personal decision. She needs to be patient and think it through.

The same goes for cars, jewelry, meals, trips and gifts. She could easily spend like there’s no tomorrow and in fact in five years she has no money left.

Retirement is another concern for Ms. Fearon. Again, if she stays with the Department of Corrections she’s going to have her savings, benefits and pension in her retirement. She can compliment that by setting up retirement accounts outside of the job that in many cases let her contribute as much as she’d like and offer guarantees on the money she puts in. Something that can give her great peace of mind.

Ms. Fearon can also put her money to work for her. The strategies would not only help take care of some of the responsibilities mentioned already, but it would look to increase the value of what she received from the lottery winnings. She has to understand them though. To learn about them she can do her own research or she can talk with family, friends, coworkers and trusted financial advisors.

Saving accounts, money market accounts, cds, cash value permanent life insurance along with, bonds, and bond funds are basic ways she can put her money away. They’re pretty straightforward and don’t require too much of a learning curve when it comes to understanding them. For all of the accounts except for bond funds, there’s only an increase in the value of the money put in because of the dividends or interest that is paid. Bond funds can fluctuate in value but historically not as much as stock market based funds.

Stocks and mutual funds are not bad options to consider either when it comes to getting around the learning curve of how they work. Stocks represent partial ownership of one particular company and stock mutual funds represent a basket of different companies. The challenge in choosing them however is that they can fluctuate dramatically as many people have found out in the last few years. So again, understanding how they work is not really the challenge. Which one to buy in many cases requires the advice of an expert financial advisor.

Real estate is another way Ms. Fearon can consider putting her money to work for her. But she has to be very picky and patient when it comes to it if she’s never done it before. She can find opportunities here in the US and Jamaica if she likes but she has to make sure she always stays focused on the income she would receive from the properties and the potential price increase on the properties she would look at. Again, and especially in this environment, a lot of research and expertise would be required for her to move forward at this point in real estate but if done correctly it can work for her.

She can also look at starting a business. This is not as easy as it may seem also. Yes she has the money to start it but where will it be in two months, two years, five years, and twelve years? Who is going to manage it? What is her understanding or more importantly passion for the business?

If she doesn’t have that then she needs to sit down and work through that. If she plans and executes incorrectly she can have a money pit on her hands that her landlord loves but her bank account doesn’t. She can also look at buying into a franchise or buying another existing business. All viable options, but options that carry the most potential to be a money pit.

So as you can see, there are a number of items for Ms. Fearon to consider not only in the coming days and weeks but months, years and decades. All of the planning comes down to balance and prudent management. In fact having a decade long plan for all of this is not a bad idea for her. That way she has a road map to keeping the money.