From Heavyweight Champion To Irish Mob Boss To New York Senator

Samuel Reason

John Morrissey was an Irish-born American who dominated New York politics during the Gilded Age of the Northern United States. This was a period in the late 19th century starting from the 1870s when the country saw rapid economic growth and extreme political corruption. It was one of the periods where Europeans migrated in masses because American wages grew much higher than in Europe. Nicknamed Old Smoke, a reference to the time he pinned onto a stove that burned his flesh but he kept on fighting: the journey of how John Morrissey became a politician is a crazy one.

irishamerica.com

In the early 1850s, John was a big gambler who went to San Francisco at the height of the Californian Gold Rush. He didn’t have any luck finding gold, but he made a fortune by winning gold off prospectors. During this time he became a well-known bare-knuckle boxer. Returning to New York he immediately challenged the biggest heavyweight boxer and won the title. His prizefighting wins continued, as a result, he launched his own gambling establishments. At one point owning a stake in over 16 casinos and had a major role in creating the Saratoga Racetrack. It was at this point many started to suspect that Morrissey was actually a leader of the Irish Mob.

It definitely was true that on his voyage to Europe to watch the famous Heenan vs Tom Sayers fight he stopped by Queenstown in County Cork for several hours. Here crowds of people came up to Morrisey as admirers and presented him with gifts.

In 1866 he switched his focus to politics, running for congress. Despite many rivals pointing, Morrisey had various convictions and indictments. However, he was backed by Tammany Hall, the major political force of the Democratic party with Irish origins. He was well known for looking after Irish interests and strong-arming legislations to accomplish his goals. Eventually, he fell out with Tammany Hall over the rampant corruption but returned to politics as an anti-candidate.

The real crazy part was he did all this before the age of 47 when he died from pneumonia. John Morrissey is now seen as one of the first Irish mob bosses in American History.

Next Article
  • The Legend Of Snake Rock In Naka Cave

    Naka Cave is found in Phu Langka National Park in Thailand, and in Thai it means snake. There is a real reason for this, the cave looks like a giant snake. The texture of the stones appears to resemble the scaled skin of a snake. Over the years there have been hundreds of articles publishing...

    Read More
  • Reindeer In A WW2 Submarine

    One of the more unusual moments of World War II was when a British submarine transported around a reindeer it had been given by the Russians as a gift. In 1941, the crew of the HMS Trident was given a reindeer by the USSR navy. The reindeer then spent the next 6 weeks living with...

    Read More
  • Byzantine Emperor Justinian II Was Called The Slit Nosed

    Justinian II or as many called him The Slit Nosed, was the last Byzantine Emperor of the Heraclian dynasty. This was a dynasty that took place from 685 to 695, and then again from 705 to 711. Justinian II had extremely ambitious plans and was passionate about growing the empire. His aim was to restore...

    Read More
  • The 2003 Slammer Virus That Took The Whole Internet Offline

    An infamous virus that to this day remains a complete mystery wreaked havoc on the world in 2003. Within 10 minutes it infected over 400,000 computers total, and within 40 minutes it doubled its population. Crucially the computer virus infected five of the thirteen root DNS servers, which crippled the world’s internet. In fact, most...

    Read More
  • The Famous Actress From The 1900s With No Footage

    Valeska Suratt was an American stage and silent film actress who became very popular during the early 1900s. During her career she appeared in over 11 silent films, garnering fans across the whole country. Incredibly despite being so popular, there is no known footage still in existence of her acting. Because in 1937 the infamous...

    Read More
  • The Eccentric Italian World War I Pilot Guido Keller

    Not many Italian pilots during World War I became famous, but the eccentric Guido Keller definitely was. He would be flying reading philosophy books and even had a full set of china tea in his plane. In fact, most of his battle reports started as I was reading X book, when suddenly I spotted… [caption...

    Read More
  • Many Medieval Manuscripts Describe Knights Fighting Snails

    In what appears to be great battles, many medieval manuscripts describe knights fighting with what seem to be snails. There are even drawings to confirm, but no historian really knows what this means at all. No one has cracked the case of why a knight has to fight a tiny little snail. Potentially, there was...

    Read More
  • Sunflowers Follow The Fibonacci Pattern

    What some thought was just a hypnotic pattern found in sunflowers, nature was actually following a strict mathematical path. It can only be described as nature literally blowing our minds. Sunflowers are definitely beautiful and their giant yellow heads flowing the sunlight are iconic. Some of the most picturesque landscape paintings or photos show bright...

    Read More