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Black Hand in West Virginia

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Ron Gonzalez

Rexistrau: 25 Pay 2004
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MensaxePublicao: Llu Set 20, 2010 7:13 am    Asuntu: Black Hand in West Virginia Responder citando

The Black Hand

The Black Hand was the name and symbol of an underworld society of Italian immigrants which during the first decades of the 20th century sought to extort money from other Italian immigrants. Thriving in Sicily in the late 19th century, the Black Hand came to the New World as part of the great migration to America’s mines and factories. Soon the mysterious society operated in West Virginia.

The Black Hand intimidated victims by sending threatening letters, accompanied by crude drawings of a hand painted black. Italians are the largest ethnic group in West Virginia, and their businessmen were the most frequent targets. Sometimes, the Black Hand sought to exploit miners. Some victims refused to pay, fought back, and were left alone.

Trials at several county courthouses led to the eradication of the group. On February 11, 1923, eight members of the Black Hand were arrested in Harrison County. Their successful prosecution constituted one of the most famous trials in Clarksburg, the county seat. The trial capped a three-year period when several mysterious murders in the county involved alleged gangland vendettas.

John C. McKinney, a police chief and detective at Fairmont, was active in the investigations of the gang in Marion and Harrison counties. He authored a paper titled ‘‘Black Hand,’’ in which he reports how Tusca Morris, prosecuting attorney in Marion County, helped eliminate the organization there. Frank Amos, who also served as prosecutor in Marion, acted against the group, as did Will Morris in Harrison County. William Cramer, the prosecuting attorney of Monongalia County, helped convict members of the Black Hand despite threats on his life.

Extortion victims testified at the trials. An immigrant, Francisco Beradelli, helped bring down the Black Hand in northern West Virginia by joining the organization and informing on its workings. In Marion County an Italian immigrant shot a Black Hander who tried to extort him. The law set the shooter free. There is no reported case in which those who resisted were punished by the Black Hand.

This Article was written by Norman Julian
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MensaxePublicao: Llu Pay 08, 2010 11:09 am    Asuntu: Responder citando

Hello - I am doing my family tree and have learned that my great grandfather was a black hand in West Virginia in Harrison County within the time frame discussed in your post. Is there any way I can find out about the trial that was held on February 11, 1923 to see if his name (or any other family members) is on the list of those arrested. I am very interested to find out any other information that you may have.
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Rexistrau: 16 Mar 2011
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MensaxePublicao: Mie Mar 16, 2011 3:37 pm    Asuntu: Blank Hand in WV Harrison County Responder citando

Yes, I do have information on that very trial and also have questions. Please feel free to contact me at my email address. I would love to hear from you. I think we have a lot to discuss.

[Art: I removed the email address. You can use the email button below. We don't allow emails to be listed in the forum.]
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MensaxePublicao: Mie Mar 16, 2011 8:03 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

Welcome, CMHeppner and DMOC.

Because of past experiences, we have instituted strict controls against spammers. We don't allow email addresses in the forum, which would be collected by spambots. In addition, we require new members to post a minimal number of messages before they can use the forum's email system. Unfortunately, because both of you have posted just one message, you will have to do some discussion here on the forum before using the email system.

But that's good for the rest of us. I assure you that there will be many interested in what you know about the Black Hand and this trial.


Bienvenido, CMHeppner y DMOC.

Debido a experiencias anteriores, se han establecido controles estrictos contra los spammers. No se permite poner una dirección de correo electrónico en el foro, que se cosecharía por los spambots. Además, se requiere que nuevos miembros publiquen un número mínimo de mensajes antes de que puedan utilizar el sistema de correo electrónico del foro. Desafortunadamente, debido a que los dos habéis publicado sólo un mensaje, tenderéis que participar en una discusión aquí en el foro antes de puedas utilizar el sistema de correo electrónico.

Pero eso es bueno para el resto de los miembros. Les aseguro que habrá muchos interesados ​​en lo que sabéis sobre la Mano Negro y este juicio.
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