Games To Play At A Eight Year Old Birthday Girl American Mobsters – Johnny Spanish (John Weyer)

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American Mobsters – Johnny Spanish (John Weyer)

Johnny Spanish, whose real name was John Weyer, was one of the most feared gangsters of the early 20th century. He adopted the name Johnny the Spaniard because he was half-Jewish and half-Spanish, but on the Spanish side he claimed to be a descendant of Weyer, the last governor of Cuba butcher. So he figured Johnny Spann had a lot more cache than plain old John Weyer.

Born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Spaniard quickly became involved in various street crimes. The short, frail and brooding Spaniard was a loner whose specialty was saloon robbery. However, he liked to first send a message to the owner of the saloon, telling him of his imminent arrival. His legend grew tremendously when he performed this feat while diving in Norfolk Street, owned by Mersher Strongarm. The Spaniard informed Mercher that he would arrive at the appointed time, and he did so, armed with his usual four guns and an accomplice lurking behind him. He threw a couple of shots through the mirror behind the bar, then emptied the till. Then, to add insult to injury, he put 10 customers up against a wall and regurgitated all their money and jewelry. The Spaniard’s fame grew and he was soon recruited into Paul Kelly’s Five Points gang, where he continued his magic.

It was profitable for the Spanish to steal revenue from the highly profitable suss gambling, which was a popular variation of faro. He spotted one such game hosted by Kid Jigger on Forsyth Street. One day he approached Jigger, who was known as a fierce shooter, and demanded half of his game from then on.

“And why should I give you half of my stuss graft?” Jigger inquired.

“Because I’ll knock you down if you don’t,” said the Spaniard.

Jigger laughed. The Spaniard took offense and told him, “Okay, I’ll beat you up tomorrow night.”

Of course, being a man of his word, the next night when Giger walked out of his sister’s gig in Forsyth Street, the Spaniard opened fire with two guns. Jigger ran back into the building to save himself, but the bullets hit an eight-year-old girl who was innocently playing in the streets, killing her instantly. So the Spaniard had to leave town for several months, and when he returned, he was distraught to learn that his girlfriend (who knows who was pregnant) had been stolen by the killer Kid Dropper, real name Nathan Kaplan. The Spaniard figured he would break up with his ex-girlfriend first. He grabbed her off the street, hailed her in a taxi and headed to the marshes of Maspeth on Long Island. There, he tied her to a tree, then emptied five shots into her pregnant stomach. He left her there to die, but miraculously the woman survived and her baby was subsequently born with three missing fingers.

For this atrocity, the Spaniard was arrested and sentenced to seven years in Sing Sing Prison. After his release in 1917, Paul Kelly’s Five Points Gang was no more, and the Spaniard figured he could take over Kelly’s former rackets. Only Kid Dropper had the same idea. The two old enemies battled over the union protection racket for more than two years. One day in early 1919, the larger Dropper cornered a Spaniard on the street and cut him open with a knife. The Spaniard survived, but not for long.

On July 29, 1919, a Spaniard entered a restaurant at 19 Second Avenue when Dropper and two accomplices opened fire, striking the Spaniard several times in the chest. Because bullets were better than blades, the Spaniard died a few days later at Bellevue Hospital.

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