Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Monk Eastman - Weird War 1 Mobster

Edward "Monk" Eastman (1875 – December 26, 1920) was a New York City gangster who founded and led the Eastman Gang, which became one of the most powerful street gangs in New York City at the turn of the 19th/20th century. His aliases included Joseph "Joe" Morris, Joe Marvin, William "Bill" Delaney, and Edward "Eddie" Delaney. Eastman is considered to be one of the last of the 19th-century New York gangsters who preceded the rise of Arnold Rothstein and more sophisticated, organized criminal enterprises such as Cosa Nostra.

In 1898 Monk Eastman was arrested and convicted under the alias William Murray (one of the many Irish aliases Eastman employed). He spent three months on Blackwell's Island for larceny. During this time, he belonged to a gang of pimps and thieves known as the Allen Street Cadets. Herbert Asbury reports that Eastman was known to have had a messy head of wild hair, wore a derby two sizes too small for his head, sported numerous gold-capped teeth, and often paraded around shirtless or in tatters, always accompanied by his cherished pigeons. In time, Monk's reputation as a tough guy (despite his squat five-foot-six inch frame) earned him the job of "sheriff" or bouncer at the New Irving Hall, a celebrated club on Broome Street, not far from his pet shop. At the New Irving Hall and Silver Dollar Smith's Saloon, Eastman became acquainted with Tammany Hall politicians, who would eventually put him and his cohort to work as repeat voters and strong-arm men.

Eastman's greatest rival was Paul Kelly (Paolo Antonio Vaccarelli), immigrant leader of the Italian Five Points Gang. The warfare between these two gangs reached a fever pitch on September 17, 1903, with a protracted gun battle on Rivington Street involving dozens of gangsters. One man was killed and a second reported fatally wounded and numerous innocent civilians were injured. Members of the Eastman gang were arrested.

Tammany Hall worked closely with both Kelly and Eastman. Its officials grew tired of the feuding and the bad press generated when civilians were killed or injured in the cross-fire. In 1903, Tammany Hall set up a boxing match between Eastman and Kelly in an old barn up in the Bronx. The fight lasted two hours, with both men taking hard punishment before it was called a draw.
Monk Eastman lived at 221 E. 5th Street at the turn of the 19th/20th century, just about two blocks from Paul Kelly's New Brighton Social Club at 57 Great Jones Street.

On February 3, 1904, Eastman tried to rob a young man on 42nd Street and Broadway in Manhattan. As he was followed by two Pinkerton agents hired by the man's family to keep him out of trouble, the agents intervened. Eastman shot at them while escaping, but was caught by policemen responding to the shooting. Tired of bad publicity from Eastman, Tammany Hall refused to help him. Later that year, Eastman was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison at Sing Sing penitentiary.

In 1909, Eastman was released after serving five years in prison. During his absence, the Eastman Gang had split into several factions; one of his top men, Zwerbach, was dead. Since none of the surviving gang factions wanted Eastman as their leader, he was effectively out of power. For several years, Eastman reverted to petty thievery. During this period, he became addicted to opium and served several short jail terms.

After the United States entered World War I in 1917, the 42-year-old Eastman decided to join the army. During his military physical, the doctor observed all the knife and bullet scars on Eastman's body and asked him which wars he had been in; Eastman replied, "Oh! A lot of little wars around New York".  

He served in France with "O'Ryan's Roughnecks", the 106th Infantry Regiment of the 27th Infantry Division. After Eastman's discharge in 1919, the Governor of New York, Al Smith, recognized his honorable service by restoring his U.S. citizenship (voting rights were removed with his conviction as a felon.)

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8

Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d10, Notice d6, Shooting d8, Streetwise d6, Throwing d4

Charisma: –8; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Sanity: 5; Toughness: 6

Hindrances: Bloodthirsty, Mean, Ugly

Edges: Block, Brawler, Danger Sense

Gear: Uniform, canteen, steel helmet (+1), Springfield rifle (Range 24/48/96, Damage 2d8) with 100 rounds, brass knuckles (Str+d4), 4× Mk1 grenades (Range 5/10/20, Damage 3d6, MBT), sharpened spade (Str+d6), gas mask.

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