Monday, 26 June 2017

Family origins + founding dates

Researching the possible founding dates, and origins of the Cosa Nostra Families of America.

Birmingham, Alabama.
Bill Bonanno’s revelation, in his book The Last Testament, that there had been a Cosa Nostra Family in Birmingham, came as a shock to most researchers.  He states that in the mid 1930’s the Family asked the Commission for permission to disband.  The reason given was that surviving members were too old, and by 1938 the last one had died.  The Commission gave Tommaso Gagliano, head of the future Lucchese Family, the task of dealing with any remaining business.
With very little information on members, it is impossible to know when the Family was founded.  We have only the suspicion of a connection with Ribera, a town in Agrigento Province.  As Ribera was the birthplace of several early members of the Elizabeth NJ. Family, there may have been a connection between the two groups.

Buffalo, NYS.
The generally recognised founders of this Family were Giuseppe DiCarlo and Angelo Palmeri.  Both arrived in America in 1905-06, and lived in close proximity in the “Little Italy” area of Manhattan.  DiCarlo, although born in Vallelunga, Caltanisetta Province, lived in Palermo and was probably a Mafioso before emigrating.  On arrival he was heading to a brother-in-law, Pasquale Enea on Oliver Street.  Enea was a well-connected Mafioso, having been arrested with Vito Cascio Ferro in Sicily, and mentioned in correspondence written by Giuseppe Morello.
Palmeri was born in Castellammare, and related to the Mazzara and DeBenedetto families.  He, and DiCarlo, probably met in NYC before moving to Buffalo. 
Buffalo was home to many immigrants from the Vallelunga / Valledolmo area, so when DiCarlo relocated in 1908, he settled in quickly.  It was previously known as an outpost of Morello’s counterfeiting operation.  In fact it is possible that DiCarlo was sent by Morello and Lupo to organise the cities Italian underworld.
Palmeri arrived in 1911, married DiCarlo’s sister-in-law and became a partner in a saloon with him.    Castellammarese began arriving to join Palmeri, like his brother Paolo and Filippo Mazzara, and soon the Family grew in importance.  Buffalo members were reputedly involved in the “Good Killers” gang and Buccellato fued killings in Brooklyn and Detroit.  Palmeri moved to Niagara Falls around 1917-18, and established Family control there. 
When DiCarlo’s wife died in 1919, floral tributes arrived from important Mafiosi in Detroit [John Vitale and Gaspare Milazzo], Chicago [Joseph Aiello and Orazio Tropea], NYC, Pittsburgh, Boston, Erie, and Batavia, NYS.  By DiCarlo’s own death in 1922, the Family was a well-established and efficient organization.
Under his successor Stefano Magaddino, they expanded into Utica, Batavia, Rochester, Erie, Penn. and Toronto in Canada.
Chicago, Illinois.
 Chicago is an exception to the general rule of Mafia evolution.  Sicilians dominated most early Families, only allowing mainland Italians admittance from the 1920's.  In Chicago the early Sicilian organization was exterminated during the "Booze Wars", and replaced by the Neapolitan gang of Capone.  They were rewarded for supporting Masseria in the "Castellammarese War", by being inducted in the late 1920-early 1930's. Despite Masseria's defeat, this descion was confirmed by the newly formed Commission in 1932.
The chronology of this group, known today as the "Outfit", is well known.  It was built on the foundations of Colosimo's vice racket, by Torrio.  While Mafiosi considered pimping beneath them, Calabrians [Colosimo], Neapolitans [Capone] and Puglians [Torrio] were more pragmatic.  Soon Torrio expanded the gangs influence, in both territory and criminal activities.  Capone's reign saw him violently overpower all competitors, leaving his successors complete domination in the city and strong influence in neighbouring states.
We know there was an early recognised Sicilian Family in Chicago, as Nicola Gentile tells us so.  Evidence of when this Family formed is elusive and confusing.  The first mention of Mafia activity in Chicago, came from New Orleans Mafioso Joseph Provenzano in the 1890's.  In 1895 the Unione Siciliana was founded as a mutual aid society, and spread throughout several mid-western states.  Although the Unione would later become corrupted by Mafiosi, it seems to have been legitimate in it's first decade. 
The first prominent Sicilian group were the Morici brothers, from Termini Imerese, who operated on the Near North Side in the 1900's.  A faction from Cimmina, and headed by Mariano Zagone, may have rivaled them.  Zagone was wounded in 1906, and killed in 1909, and succeeded by Rosario Dispenza.  The Morici brothers fade from prominence about the same time.  Dispenza, like Zagone, may have been a power in the Unione.  He was a wealthy businessman, heading a Cimmina Society and a local bank.  Just the type of leader around which a Family might form.
We also know he had national connections, because of correspondence to him in 1909 from Giuseppe Morello of NYC.  Morello , according to Gentile, was the national head of the American Mafia.  In the letter Morello questions the admittance of a member, and mentions well known Mafiosi Vito Cascio Ferro and Paquale Enea.  All this points to Dispenza being the local head of a Family associated to the national organization. Dispenza, and his partner, were killed in 1914 for unknown reasons.
By the 1910's Chicago was in the grip of a major crime wave, with blackhand extortion ripe in the Italian area's.  Various criminal groups, Italian, Irish, Polish, Jewish, ect. were battling each other over criminal rackets.  The Family, if it existed by then, was small and not yet powerfull enough to dominate. 
Leadership of the Unione and Family became one and the same thing by the late 1910's.  Antonio D'Andrea became leader at this point, a fact confirmed by Gentile.  Born in Palermo, he had spent time in prison for participation in a counterfeiting ring run from NYC by Vito Cascio Ferro.  After his release, he became a power in various labour unions.  He also unsuccessfuly stood for political office in 1914 and 1916.  By 1920 he was a respected figure in national Mafia circles.  A violent election campaign in 1921 against the incumbent political faction, ended in D'Andrea's murder.
As D'Andrea's underboss, Michele Merlo succeeded to leadership of the Family.  Merlo was a a very different character to D'Andrea, less violent and more of a mediator.  He managed to keep the peace amongst competing gangs, and was respected by all.  However, he died of natural causes in 1924, and all hell broke loose.
The Genna brothers, originally from Marsala, seized control of the Unione and, with it, the local home brewing alcohol industry.  Soon they had come into conflict with the powerfull Northside O'Bannion gang.  After Dion O'Bannion was killed in 1924, his followers eliminated Angelo, two of his brothers and his successor as Unione president in 1925.  They also badly wounded Torrio, causing Capone's rise to leadership of that gang.
Two business partners contested the next Unione election, Antonio Lombardo and Joseph Aiello.  Lombardo backed by Capone, who as a non-Sicilian could not be a member, won.  He was a leader in the Merlo mould, more conciliator than warrior.  The embittered Aiello rallied the the old Genna followers, and planned his revenge.
Aiello and his brothers were from Bagheria, and had many relatives and associates across the Mid-west and east coast.  He had relatives in Milwaukee, Springfield,and St. Louis, and having lived in Utica and Buffalo in NYS, had contacts there.  Also his close friend Gaspare Milazzo, was a power in Detroit.
In 1927 Aiello organized the murder of Lombardo, and emerged as a rival to the Capone gang.  Capone reacted violently, and several Aiello followers were killed.  He also backed Joseph Giunta's election as new Unione head. Aiello fled Chicago, seeking support from his allies in Buffalo.  This led him to side with the Castellammarese Families in their conflict with Masseria in NYC. 
A peace conference was called in Cleveland in 1928 to resolve the various conflicts in NYC, Chicago and Cleveland.  All the attendees were Sicilian, with Giunta representing Capone.  The meeting was raided by Police, thus disrupting efforts to mediate the disputes. 
Back in Chicago, Giunta was killed and Pasqualino Lolordo, from Ribera, was elected as Unione head.  Aiello had made an alliance with the Northside gang, also enemies of the Capone gang.  This alliance of conveniece, struck at Capone by killing Lolordo and proclaiming Aiello head of the Unione.
Masseria in NYC, then broke with Mafia tradition, and inducted Capone and 10 of his followers into his Family.  This move was to counter the Castellammarese - Aiello alliance, and stop them gaining control in Chicago.  This was the start of the "official" recognition of the "Outfit", and spelled the end of the original Sicilian Family.
Capone's organization was too powerfull, and soon eliminated both the Northside gang [1929] and Aiello [1930].  Despite ending on the losing side in the "Castellammarese War", Capone was recognised as the head in Chicago, by the newly formed Commission in 1932. 
Over the following years, the Family expanded into Chicago Heights, Indiana, Iowa, ect.  They were also granted supervisory control over other Mid-western and West coast Families.

Cleveland, Ohio.
The early history of the Cleveland Family is dominated by two sets of brothers, who  grew-up together, associated in business and were friends.  That was until betrayal led to a bloodbath that destroyed both families. 
The Porello and Lonardo brothers were born, and grew-up, in the town of Licata in Agrigento Province.  They all worked in the local sulfur mine, owned by the Porello's father.  The Lonardo's, led by Giuseppe, were the first to emigrate in 1901.  Settling on Mulberry Street in the "Little Italy" section of Manhattan.  The Porello's, led by Rosario,followed them in 1904. 
Giuseppe Lonardo moved the family to Cleveland in 1905, settling in the Woodland area on the Eastside.  He was soon building a bad reputation, being arrested for a stabbing in 1906, which led to a 3 year prison sentance.  The brothers operated as wholesale grocers for some years. 
The Porello's also moved to Cleveland at some point, and Joseph Porello went to work for the Lonardo business.  Giuseppe Lonardo was arrested in 1916 for murder, but the charge was dismissed.  By this time he had founded a Licata Society, of which he was head.  Both these events would suggest he was already the leader of the local Mafia.
Nicola Gentile states that Lonardo was the "official" Capo of Cleveland, when he met him in 1919.  With the coming of Prohibition in 1920, the Lonardo's became the main supplier of corn sugar, a vital ingredient of alcohol.  This gave them control of the local home brewing industry.  Salvatore Todaro, another member from Licata, ran the distribution of bootleg alcohol for him.
In 1924 the Porello's set-up in opposition to Lonardo, thus causing a split in the Family.  Lonardo felt confident enough to visit Sicily in 1927, leaving his brother John in charge.  When he returned he found that Todaro had joined the Porello's, and taken many of his customers with him.  Before Lonardo had could move against Todaro, both he and his brother John, were killed.
This set-off a spate of killings that only ended 5 years later, and involved the murders of one more Lonardo, four Porello brothers, Todaro and many others.  The eventual victors of this bloodbath were a faction from the Mayfield area led by Frank Milano.  Milano's group combined both Sicilians and Calabrians, and later absorbed the surviving members of the Licata faction. 
Wether Milano, who was Calabrian, was an inducted member before the elimination of the Porello's is open to debate.  However, we know that Masseria recognised him as head by 1930-31.  Indeed he even warned his own brother, who lived in Cleveland, not to oppose Milano.
Milano was confirmed as leader of the Cleveland Family by the Commission in 1932.  The Family later expanded into various Ohio towns, Akron, Toledo, Youngstown, ect.

Colorado [Pueblo, Trinidad + Denver].
There is no conclusive evidence when this Family first formed, or who led it in it's  early days.  Blackhand extortion was rife in the mining towns of south Colorado from the 1900's, with talk of both Sicilian and Calabrian societies active.  Prohibition came to Colorado earlier than most states in 1916.  This led to the usual violence between gangs.
Domenico Pistone, who was killed in 1918 by an extortion victim and was related to the Danna and Mule families, was reputed to be the head of one such faction.  Most of the early Mafiosi were from Agrigento Provence, and especially the town of Lucca Sicula.  Connected families from the town were Danna, Colletti + Dionisio, with the Carlino's from nearby Villafranca Sicula.
The complicated gang war that broke-out in 1922 started with the murder of Pellegrino Scaglia, AKA Tony Viola.  Scaglia was a native of Burgio, a town close to Lucca Sicula, and had been involved in a long vendetta against a family called Cardinelli.  Indeed, a Cardinelli had been killed in Colorado shortly before Scaglia's death.  Gentile tells us that Scaglia's killing caused a split in the Pueblo Family, and led to a national meeting  to mediate it.
There then followed a 4 year gang war between the Carlino faction, allied to Scaglia, and the Danna faction.  After numerous killings, the Danna's were obliterated and the Carlino brothers emerged victorious.  In 1930 the Carlino's tried to move into Denver, encounterng a Calabrian faction headed by Joseph Roma.  After more bloodshed, Roma eliminated Joseph + Sam Carlino in 1931.  Two years later he would be betrayed, and killed, by his associates the Smaldone family.
Some Mafia historians consider first Carlino, then Roma, as heads of the Colorado Family, but there are reasons to dispute this.  First Gentile tells us there was a Pueblo Family in existence by 1922, and probably much earlier than that.  This is before the rise of the Carlino's, or Danna's.  He also states that the Family was under the protection of the Los Angeles Family.  The centre of the Families territory seems to have been Trinidad and Pueblo, and the Carlino's only lived in this area by the mid-1920's.  As he fails to name the Family leader, it may have been the murdered Scaglia.
As for Roma, as a Calabrian it is doubtfull the Sicilian members would have accepted him as leader.
So who did either succeed Scaglia, or possibly was the head already.  Some sources name Rosario Dionisio, born 1874 in Lucca Sicula, entered America in 1897, and the owner of a grocery store in Trinidad.  Later he would partner James Colletti and Frank Garofalo in a cheese company.  Colletti would become Family head in 1953, while Garofalo was the underboss of the NYC Bonanno Family.
Charles Blanda was the head between Dionisio and Colletti, while the Smaldone brothers in Denver may not have even been members of the Family.  This is a debateable point, as most sources have them heading the Family from 1975.  That was when Colletti's successor Joseph Spinuzzi died in Pueblo.  Spinuzzi, a fellow Calabrian, may have inducted them, as the Pueblo faction was almost inactive by then.

Detroit, Michigan.
Detroit was one of the bigger Families, yet despite this we have no mention of an organized Family until the 1930's.  However, the unusualy stable and relatively less violent years between 1921 to 1930, suggest some form of unity and control. 
Early factions within the Italian underworld fought a succession of conflicts, which seemed to lead one onto the next.  The Adamo brothers from Alcamo, supported by the Renda and Mirabile factions, gained a degree of domination during the later 1900's.  Also allied to them were the Castellammarese born Buccellato family.
In 1912 they came into conflict with the Giannola group from Terrasini, leading to the killing of both Adamo brothers in 1913.  This led to the Giannola's becoming the leading faction, and expanding their influence into the city of Detroit.   Immigrants from Terrasini settled in large numbers in Detroit and St. Louis during the first two decades of the century. 
The Giannola's hegemony would last until 1919, but an old vendetta from Sicily would soon cause more bloodshed.  Two factions from Castellammare had been fueding for decades, and brought the conflict to America.  Murders in Sicily and Brooklyn, led to a group of Castellammarese coming to Detroit to revenge the victims.  The targets were the Buccellato family, which suffered several deaths in 1916 + 17.
The Giannola's reigned supreme until falling-out with a faction from Cinisi, led by Giovanni Vitale.  The murder rate rose alarmingly from 1917 through to 1920, with both Giannola brothers victims in 1919.  Both sides imported gunmen from outside, and the cycle of violence continued until Vitale was killed in 1920.
The opposing factions finally agreed to a truce, and accepted a lasting peace by 1921.  All groups worked under Salvatore Catalanotte, a Mafiosi from Salemi, and a recognised peacemaker.  They used the Unione Siciliana society, of which Catalanotte was head, as the framework.  At this point it can certainly be said that a Family existed in Detroit.  An experienced Mafioso from Castellammare, Gaspare Milazzo was underboss and had strong connections to NYC, Brooklyn, Buffalo and Chicago.
With gang warfare rampant in most big cities, Detroit's peacefull interlude could not last.  Catalanotte died of natural causes in 1930, and Milazzo prepared to step into his place.  This eventuality caused unease in NYC, where Joseph Masseria was in conflict with Milazzo's Castellammarese allies.  Masseria, fearing a strenghening of the Castellammarese position, urged a Detroit faction leader Cesare LaMare to eliminate Milazzo.  This led to several murders over the following months, and ended with LaMare's.
As in 1921, the factions realised the futility of further conflict and agreed to a new realignment.  A table of leadership was worked-out, with William Tocco as head and various faction leaders as Capo's.  The new structure was approved by the new Commission in NYC, and sealed with marriage alliances among the members.  This new Family structure was so successful that it is still functioning 80 years later.   

Elizabeth, New Jersey.
 There are two theories about the foundation of this Family.  One is that it was originally a faction of the Newark Family, and gained it's independence after the disbanding of that Family in the min-1930's.  Taking the historical view, also confirmed in Bill Bonanno's book, that there were 26 Families nationwide by 1931.  This would leave no room in that total for a Family in Elizabeth. 
However, some sources claim not only was there an early Elizabeth Family, but that it was the first such group in America.  This honour is usually thought to belong to the New Orleans Family.  Without more evidence to the contrary, the first theory seems the most probable.  
What we can prove is that Ribera in Agrigento Province seems to have been the birth place of this group.  Among the known members the following familes originated in Ribera : - Amari, Caternicchio, Colletti, Corsentino, Galletta, Guarraci, LaRasso, Lolordo,  Riggi and Vitabile.  The Family may have had connections in Birmingham and Chicago.  Two important Chicago Mafiosi, Pasqualino Lolordo and Filippo Bacino, were born in Ribera.  Lolordo's brother Joseph fled to Elizabeth after his brothers murder in 1929. 
The first known head in Elizabeth was Filippo Amari, born 1899 in Ribera, who came to America in 1921 on the same ship as Carmelo Corsentino.  He was heading to an Uncle living in Elizabeth.  Amari emerged as Family head during the 1940's, although he was not popular and was deposed in 1958.
The Family had members active in NYC and Connecticut as well as New Jersey.

Kansas City, Missuori.
Unlike some cities, this Family is not centered on one particular area of origin.  Most early members came from western Sicily, the hotbed of Mafia activity.  Many of the familiar names, DiGiovanni, Balestrere, Ferrentelli, Nigro, Carrolla, Lusco, ect., were already residing in KC by the 1900's.  Giuseppe D'Amico, who died in 1913, was an early power in the Italian colony on the northside.
The usual vendetta's and fueds convulsed this area, one between the Campanella and Restivo families lasting a decade and extending to Dallas.  Black hand extortion was rife, and the appearence of the DiGiovanni name in a 1915 case, suggest's a Family was forming.  Another case in 1919, featuring mostly the same names,which  again led to no convictions, suggested political protection.  
Yet again we are indebted to Nicola Gentile for confirmation, as in his memoirs, he names Paolo DiGiovanni as the head in KC in 1921.  He was the eldest of the brothers, born in 1875, and possibly head from the mid-1910's.  With the coming of prohibition, and much violence between bootleggers, the DiGiovanni's formed an alliance with several others to monopolise the sale of corn sugar.  This combine, known as the "Sugar House " organization, grew to include 18 stockholders and kept the peace until 1933. 
Paolo DiGiovanni died in 1929, but may not have been Family head by then, as Gentile claims he himself was leader by 1922-4.  Gentile left for Sicily in 1925, and leadership may have fallen to John Lazia.  Lazia was a political power on the northside, and fronted the Families relationship with the ruling Pendergast political machine.  Lazia was killed in 1934 by a non-Mafia group.
Kansas City crime was dominated by political power, so Cosa Nostra was never as dominant  as in other Cities.

Los Angeles, California.
Again there are difficulties in finding a starting date for this Family.  So let us start, once again, with Nicola Gentile [where would we be without him !].  Gentile was in California in 1921, and met the LA Family leader Vito DiGiogio, and his underboss Rosario DeSimone.
Both men had only lived in LA for a short time, although long enough for DiGiorgio to make enemies, as he was wounded in 1920.  DiGiorgio moved from New Orleans, and DeSimone from Pueblo, and immediatly became leaders in LA.  So, the question is, why and how did they achieve this ? 
There are two possible scenario's : -
 1. -  Is that they moved to LA to form a new Family, as there was no recognised organization there.
Although possible, this seems less likely as DiGiorgio claimed control over the Pueblo Family as well as LA.  Such an accumulation of power in such a short time is debatable.
2. - To provide leadership to an established Family that was divided between warring factions.
There had been conflict between two factions in LA since 1906, and as in Colorado, most of the members were from the same town in Sicily.  In this case, they were from Piana Dei Albanesi [later Dei Greci], a village in Palermo Province populated by past immigrants from Albania.  The two factions were the Matranga's, who were known as the College Park Gang, and the Ardizzone's, known as the North End Gang.
The Matranga faction was dominant until 1916, when the old conflict started again, and led to the killing of Sam + Pierto Matranga in 1917.  Giuseppe Ardizzone, head of the North End Gang, emerged victorious but the Matranga's regrouped under a new leader, Antonio Buccola. 
The NYC based national leadership may have nominated DiGiorgio, and DeSimone, to mediate the dispute and stabilise the Family.  The killing stopped at this point, and there was relative peace for some years in the LA underworld.  DiGiorgio was killed in Chicago in 1922, but DeSimone probably led the Family from his base in Downey.  He was more of an advisor, and kept out of the cities street crime.
By the mid-1920's, Ardizzone had become the dominant power in LA and was known as the Ironman.  He, and Jack Dragna, formed the Italian Protective League, a cover for extortion and bootlegging.  At the end of the 1920's his dominance was challenged, and gang warfare erupted again.  Several faction leaders perished, including Buccola [1930] and Ardizzone [1931].  DeSimone resumed control, with Dragna as his underboss, and eventual successor. 

Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
For once a straight forward line of succession, and enough information to be able to date the Families foundation fairly accuratley.  Most of the early members entered the USA during the 1900's, and came from small towns in Palermo Province.  The Guardalabene [Santa Flavia], Balistrieri [Aspra], and Alioto [Sant Elia] families were from neighbouring  villages.  So a faction, under Vito Guardalabene, had formed by 1910. This is confirmed by some 1909 correspondence with Rosario Dispenza, the recognised head in Chicago.
Several murders in 1911-13 consolidated the Families dominance, which was never challenged again.  On the national stage, the Family backed their relatives the Aiello brothers in the Chicago gang war with Capone.  Indeed the Family leadership tried unsuccessfully to mediate the conflict at a 1926 meeting held near Milwaukee.  When the Aiello's lost, several followers fled to Milwaukee to seek protection and were accepted into the Family.  Two went onto establish a Family subsidiary in Madison in 1935, which some researchers recognise as a separate Family. Under succeeding leaders, the Family expanded into Kenosha and Racine as well as Madison.
 Eventually the Alioto and Balistrieri families came to dominate the leadership.  As early as 1897 a Balistrieri was arrested in Milwaukee for murder, and the Alioto's married early into the Guardalabene family.  Both families had relatives active in the San Francisco Family, and a Balestrere was prominent in Kansas City rackets.

Newark, NewJersey.
This Family is still a mystery to most researchers, as we have very little information on it's early history.
 All of our sources [Valachi, Bonanno, Gentile] agree that at the start of the "Castellammarese War" in 1930, Stefano Badami was the head of the Newark Family.  Badami, from Corleone, allied with Maranzano and was in conflict with a Neapolitan gang from the 3rd ward, headed by Masseria ally Ruggerio Boiardo.  Maranzano sent Valachi to Newark to help the Badami Family, and in November 1930 he participated in a hit on Boiardo, leaving him badly wounded.
After Maranzano's murder in 1931, several of his most prominent supporters were demoted.  Badami was one of these, and was succeeded by Gaspare D'Amico a member from Villabate.  D'Amico had to withstand a challenge from Vincenzo Troia, which ended in Troia's murder in 1935.
Joseph Profaci, one of the new Family heads in NYC, was a fellow townsman  and supporter of D'Amico.  But in 1937 they had a disagreement, and Profaci sent gunmen to kill D'Amico at his Macaroni factory.  They only wounded him, and killed his father, forcing D'Amico to abdicate and flee America.
The Commission decided to disband the Newark Family, declare it an open area, give the Elizabeth faction it's independence, and allow it's members to join other Families.
That is the "official" story of the Newark Family, as stated by most sources.  But is it believable that there was no Mafia activity during the 1910-20's, a period when crime and gang warfare were endemic in most major cities ?  The Family must have been active during this time.
Badami only seems to have arrived in America in 1927, surely too late to become an established Family head by 1930.  D'Amico was living there by 1917, Pietro Campisi [father to the infamous brothers] by 1915, and the Accardi brothers by 1921.  Although it can not be proved, there were enough Mafiosi living in Newark to have formed an organization by the 1920's.  

New England.
Boston, on the east coast of America, was a point of entry for immigrants from Italy.  So it is probable that a large Italian community existed there from an early date.  Within that community, Sicilian Mafiosi were active by the 1890's.  This is confirmed by newspaper reports from Boston, New Orleans and San Francisco, and a Secret Service report. 
A man named Gioacchino Cocchiara was attacked several times, with known Brooklyn Mafiosi like Antonio Cincotta reported to be enemies of his.  This Brooklyn  connection would resurface later in various counterfeiting and Black Hand extortion cases.  If a Family was already in existence by 1910, a possible head could have been Gaspare DiCola, known as the Lemon King.  DiCola, born in Termini Imerese in Palermo Province, entered America in 1892 and was killed in 1916.  The extent of his influence was obvious at his funeral, as mourners came from NYC, Buffalo, Chicago and Pittsburgh.
A year before this, Gaspare Messina arrived from Brooklyn where he had resided since emigrating in 1905.  Messina was born in Salemi in Trapani Province, and within a few years had brought together several factions from the italian districts in the North, East and West of Boston.  By 1920 he was recognised by the NYC based national leadership, and attended an inter-state meeting in Buffalo [information from our old friend Gentile]. 
Messina is believed to have retired from leadership by 1925, to concentrate on his business in Fruit and Oil [his partner was Frank Cucchiara, another Mafiosi from Salemi].  He was succeeded by Filippo Bruccola, an expierenced Mafioso from Palermo.  Messina would emerge once more in 1930 as the temporary head of the national organization, in an attempt to mediate the "Castellammarese War". 
About the same time Messina arrived in Boston, the Morelli brothers, also from Brooklyn, moved to Providence Rhode Island.  The gang, led by Joseph, terrorised the area  by  violently robbing banks and business premises.  One robbery and murder led to the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, two innocent anarchist's.  Eventually the gang, now led  by Frank Morelli, settled into a less violent faction.
At some point the Boston and Providence groups merged into a single Family, led by Bruccola.  As with most Families, they expanded into nearby states like Maine, New Hampshire and Connecticut.  The Family also formed alliances with the Genovese and Colombo  Families in NYC.
Bruccola retired in the 1950's, and his successor Patriarca moved the Family base to Providence.

New Orleans.
Most sources, both inside and outside the Mafia, consider the New Orleans Family the oldest organized Family in America.  As such they were given freedom from Commission control, and held in high esteem by members nationwide.  With NYC, New Orleans was the main entry point, and the climate more attractive to Sicilians. 
By the 1860's there were signs of factions forming, and in 1869 a conflict between groups fom Palermo and Messina erupted.  This ended with the murder of the leader of the Palermo group, and the first mention of Joseph Macheca.  Macheca was the son of an imprisoned Sicilian, who had been adopted into the Maltese Macheca family.  He would become a power in both politics and business.
Around 1870 a group from Monreale began forming, headed by Salvatore Marino and Salvatore Matranga.  The Monreale Mafia were known as the Stoppaglieri, and according  to a pentitto, had the traditional initiation ceremony.  Marino died in 1878, leaving Salvatore Matranga, and his sons Carlo [Charles] and Antonio as leaders.  The Family held their meetings in the prosperous area of Carroltown.
In 1880 the former bandit Giuseppe Esposito arrived, but was betrayed and deported in 1881.  This seems to have caused some tensions within the Sicilian community.  Amongst his supporters were the Provenzano brothers, whose group held the contract for unloading on the docks.  At some point in the mid-1880's, the Matranga Family won this right from the Macheca company.
This caused a conflict, with the Provenzano's ambushing, and seriously wounding, Antonio Matranga.  The Provenzano's were arrested and tried, but aquitted in 1890.  The new Chief of Police David Hennesey, who had a past acrimonious history with Macheca, tended to side with the more Americanized Provenzano's.  While Macheca was allied to Charles Matranga and his group.  The Matranga's dealt with the problem violently, and killed Hennesey.
They were arrested and tried twice in 1891, but bribery and intimidation brought aquittals, although they were kept in prison for their own safety.  Outraged by this a mob, led by prominent citizens, stormed the prison and lynched and shot 11 prisoners.  Macheca was among the victims, but Charles Matranga survived and went back to work on the docks.  The Provenzano's, who had publicly called their opponents Mafiosi, left New Orleans.
During the decade following the lynchings Mafia activity in New Orleans was subdued, although small groups in rural Louisiana remained active. Charles Matranga may have continued as a leader, perhaps as a figurehead, but there is no evidence either way.  Meanwhile Mafiosi from Palermo and Corleone arrived and by 1900, had supplanted the original group.
Correspondence between local Mafiosi and Giuseppe Morello, the national head in NYC, suggest a continuing organized Family still in existence.  The arrival of Vito Cascio Ferro in 1903,was probably to mediate various conflicts ongoing during these years.  At this point Francesco Motisi [AKA Genova], a notorious criminal from Palermo, may have been leader.  His possible successor Paul DiCristina ran into opposition, including a shooting war with the Giacona family, and was killed in 1910.  Giuseppe Morello himself seems to have visited in 1909 to mediate the problems.
Vincenzo Moreci, from Termini, emerged as the leader, but was killed in 1915 in another outburst of violence.  After surviving being shot in 1916, Vito DiGiorgio may have succeeded to leadership.  DiGiorgio left in 1920, to take control of the Los Angeles Family.  Eventually Corrado Giacona, a rich wine merchant who also survived being shot, was accepted as head.  Important members at this time were Sylvestro Carrolla, Battista Pecoraro, Francesco Todaro and Leoluca Trombatore.   

New York City.
Recent ground breaking research has allowed us to push our knowledge of NYC's Mafia Families back to the 1880-90's.  Researchers already had good information on the Morello gang, a group active in Harlem and originating in Corleone.  This group formed around 1900, and had always been considered the earliest organized faction in the city.
Mafiosi from the city of Palermo however, seem to have been organizing from as early as the 1880's.  As the capital of Sicily, and the possible birthplace of the Mafia, Palermo Cosca members  would have more prestige, and be more numerous.  Those advantages would accompany them to America.
The third early faction are the Castellammarese, but the begginings of this group is surprisingly different from our first perception.

Genovese Family.
Most sources quote the Corleonese Morello gang as the founders of this Family.  But research of early Genovese members, tends to refute this.  While there are certainly connections, and familial links, only the rump of the Corleonese criminal community joined the emerging Family.  The one remaining Terranova brother and a few followers, having been defeated by the D'Aqulia faction by 1923, allied to the then rebel Masseria group. 
The real founder of this Family was Joseph Masseria, who started forming his group after his release from prison around 1918.  His base was in the "Little Italy" section of Manhattan, an area containing a mix of Sicilian, Neapolitan and Calabrese criminals.  As the Terranova brothers had retreated to 116th Street, Masseria found some space to build his faction.  With the other Families recruiting only Sicilians, Masseria boosted his "illegal" faction by inducting non-Sicilians.  He could do this as he was not "recognised" by the "official" organization led by D'Aquila.
Masseria is always depicted as an old style "Greaseball", when in fact his actions were the exact opposite of a traditionalist.  His revolutionary step of bringing Neapolitans, Calabrians and American born criminals into his organization, broke all the rules.  Masseria, and his Family, may not have been officially recognised until D'Aquila's murder in 1928. The new,and  former national head, Joseph Morello restored them to membership.  One of Masseria's first acts was to induct the Neapolitan Capone, and his followers, into his Family.
Soon even the traditionaly Sicilian Families were following this new trend, much to the disgust of "Mustache Petes" like Maranzano.  The Family Masseria built survived to the present day, because of the quality of it's leaders Luciano [Sicilian], Costello [Calabrian] and Genovese [Neapolitan].
During the next decades the Family expanded into New Jersey, Connecticutt, Springfield and Worcester, and all area's of New York and Brooklyn.  They also represented Families nationwide on the Commission.

Lucchese Family.
After the jailing of their leader Giuseppe Morello in 1910, the Morello faction came under attack from various rivals.  Salvatore D'Aquila became the national head, and disputed control on the  LES, while the Camorra gangs from Brooklyn moved in on their gambling and artichoke rackets.  Faced with open warfare, the remaining Terranova brothers relocated to their 116th Street stronghold.
This left the Corleonese community around East 106-108th streets without protection and leadership.  It is at this point that the future Lucchese Family began forming.  Various names of possible early leaders include Ippolito Greco, Joseph LaPorta and Angelo Gagliano.  Gagliano seems the most likely, as he was involved with most of the major Family names of the early period.  He testified for Morello in 1910, was named during the 1914 Baff murder inquiry, was a partner of Greco, an employer of Gaetano Reina and Jack Dragna, was related to Tommaso Gagliano, Calogero and Vincent Rao, was a brother to Vincenzo, and an Uncle to Joseph, and had Mariano Marsalisi as a witness on his Naturalization papers.
At some time in the mid-1920's Gaetano Reina became leader, and although retaining a strong prescence in Harlem, most of the leadership moved to the Bronx.  This allowed them to dominate in this area, while the other Families were competing against each other in Manhattan and Brooklyn. 
Over time the Family had regimes in Brooklyn and New Jersey, and spoke on the Commission for Los Angeles and other Families.

Gambino Family.
Recent research strongly indicates that a faction dominated by Palermo natives was active as early as the 1880's.  A senior Police officer [Byrnes] stated this in 1881, after the Esposito episode.  The same source repeated this in 1888, following the Flaccomio murder.  This  was confirmed by New Orleans Mafiosi, talking after the 1891 "Mafia Lynchings".
Sicilians began arriving in NYC + Brooklyn in the 1840's, with the majority originating in Palermo.  This makes sense, as Palermo was the main port of embarkation and New York the main port of arrival for Sicilians. By the 1880's they had settled communities in Manhattan ["Little Italy" + LES], and Brooklyn [Downtown + South].  New York and Brooklyn were seperate cities until 1898, so there may have been two factions in existence at this time.
Early leaders may have included Michele Chiaramonte and Gaetano Russo, and counter-feiting was an important source of income.  Close connections were maintained with Sicily, and the other important early Mafia base in New Orleans.  During the 1890's Italian immigration multiplied, bringing larger numbers of Mafiosi to America.  Leaders in Manhattan may have included Nicola Taranto + Candalaro Bettini, and in Brooklyn were Antonio Cincotto + Giuseppe Trovato.
By 1900 another faction started forming in Harlem, mainly of natives of Corleone.  Within  a few years a Castellammarese faction formed in Williamsburg Brooklyn.  The Palermo faction, numerically stronger than these, came under the leadership of Ignazio Lupo.  He seemed to be the leader in both NCY + Brooklyn, and was related to Giuseppe Morello, the Corleonese leader.
There is some confusion about who held the most power between Lupo and Morello.  Lupo headed the strongest Family, but Morello was recognised as the head of the national organization [source is Gentile].  They probably shared control, and partnered in several rackets, one of which was counter-feiting. 
After both were jailed in 1910 there was turmoil within both factions, with intirim leaders appointed.  Finally in 1912, Salvatore D'Aquila was elected head of the Palermitani Family.  This caused conflict, and a group split from the Family under Manfredi Mineo.  Allying with the Corleonese + Castellammarese Families, they opposed D'Aquila and fought a losing war against him.  D'Aquila, as a consequence of his victory was named national head of the organization.
This conflict would be repeated in 1920-23, after Morello and Lupo were released from prison.  Lupo retired to Brooklyn, but Morello tried to reclaim his power.  A peace was finally achieved, and D'Aquila led the Family until his murder in 1928.
The Family, now known as the Gambino Family, survives to the present day and is, along with the Genovese Family, still the strongest in NYC.  

Colombo Family.
This Family seems to have come into existence after a split in the Palermitani Family, or was always a seperate group based in Brooklyn.  The first we hear of them is in 1913, when the Secret Service informant Salvatore Clemente told of a faction under Manfredi Mineo.  Mineo was a recent arrival from Palermo, and allied with the Corleonese + Castellammarese factions to oppose D'Aquila. 
This would suggest a revolt within the Palermitani criminal community, although how Mineo became so important in such a short period is puzzling.  The reason could be that the split replicated conflicts between competing coshe in Palermo.  D'Aquila seems to have overcome this opposition, and Mineo's faction may have returned to the Palermo Family.  What we do know for sure is that after D'Aquila's murder in 1928, Mineo succeeded him as head.
A second theory is that the Brooklyn based Palermitani faction, active since the 1880's, stayed seperate, or broke away after Lupo's jailing in 1910, and it was this group that Mineo led.
Further complicating matters is that both NARA records, and Bill Bonanno's book, state that Salvatore DiBella started this Family in the mid-1920's.  DiBella was also from Palermo, as was his possible successor Giuseppe Piraino.  Piraino was killed in 1930 in a conflict then raging between Sicilian and Calabrian groups for control of South Brooklyn rackets.
At about this time the "Castellammarese War" started, during which Mineo was killed.  Joseph Bonanno,a Maranzano aide, stated that Joseph Profaci led a Family and stayed neutral in the conflict.  Profaci, from Villabate, did not move to Brooklyn until the mid -1920's. According to Valachi he seems to have been firmly in the Maranzano camp, being present at several Castellammarese safe houses.  At the end of the conflict Profaci became leader of this Family, possibly as a reward for supporting Maranzano.
So how do we unravel this confusing history, and find a founding date for this Family ?  The most likely theory is that Mineo's faction was a temporary break-away from the D'Aquila Family, and not the start of the future Colombo Family.  Which means that DiBella probably founded, or led another break-away of Palermitani into, the new Family in the mid-1920's.  After the disruption of 1930-31, Profaci was selected by Maranzano, and confirmed by the Commission, as leader.

Bonanno Family.
This Family has always been thought of as the Castellammarese Family of Brooklyn.  But it's origins go back to several related Mafiosi from small towns like Camporeale, Roccamena and Partinico.  The Camporeale group arrived first, possibly led by Antonio Governale, and settled in Williamsburg Brooklyn.  In 1906 Paolo Orlando, reputedly the head of a Family in Tunis, arrived to take over leadership.  An anonymous letter to Police in 1909 confirmed this. He and Governale, from Camporeale, Nicola Schiro, from Roccamena, and Salvatore Grippi, from Partinico, were all related and constituted a leadership group. 
From the early 1900's a community of immigrants from Castellammare began forming in Williamsburg, and as both groups lived in the same area, they soon combined.  The first leader of this Family appears to have been Sebastiano DiGaetano from Castellammare.  The Castellammarese community continued to grow, and began to dominate the Family.
DiGaetano may have been appointed temporary national head, after Morello and Lupo were jailed in 1910.  Salvatore Clemente told the Secret Service in 1912 that DiGaetano had "lost his nerve", and retired.  Nicola Schiro succeeded him, and allied with the Corleonese + Mineo factions to oppose Salvatore D'Aquila's Family.  The Family soon had another problem, when an old vendetta from Castellammare re-ignited in 1916.  Open warfare erupted between the Buccellato and Bonventre / Magaddino families in Brooklyn and Detroit.  The latter faction, calling themselved the "Good Killers", finally eliminated their opponents by 1921. 
By 1920 groups of Castellammarese had settled in Detroit, Buffalo, Philadelphia and Binghampton.  Schiro led his Family into the 1920's, when he again allied with the the Morello faction to fight D'Aquila.  The group known as the "Good Killers" led by Vito Bonventre, did most of the fighting, but D'Aquila again triumphed.  Schiro continued as leader until the late 1920's, when a new powerfull enemy appeared.
Intimidated by Giuseppe Masseria, he lost the respect of his Family and fled, leaving them leaderless.  Salvatore Maranzano succeeded him, and led the Family into the conflict known as the "Castellammarese War".  Eventually Joseph Bonanno became head, and led the Family for the next 30 years.
The Family had always had members in Manhattan, and expanded into New Jersey, Montreal, and Arizona.  They represented Colorado and California Families on the Commission. 

[ For more detailed information on the founding of the NYC Families, use the following sources : -
Morello / Corleonese : - The First Family, a book by Mike Dash.
Palermitani, Castellammarese + Corleonese : - a ground-breaking article by Warner, Santino + Van't Riet in the April 2014 issue of the Informer on-line magazine.] 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
This Family followed the usual pattern of Sicilian immigration, but only up to a certain point.  While most emigrants would be excepted to  head to a large city, in Pennsylvania most went to work in the mining area's further west.  By the 1880's there was a group from Sciacca living in Norristown, and an influential individual called DiGiovanni in the cities suburbs.
Within the city, most Italians gravitated to the "Little Italy" in South Philly, around  Christian + 9th Street's.  Some sources claim a Family existed by 1900, but looking at when known members arrived in America, this seems unlikely.  Most arrived after 1900, usually via NYC, and then moved onto Philly.  So a later date about 1910 looks about right.
Groups from Caccamo, Castellammare, Campobello di Mazzara and Belmonte Mezzagno constituted the core of the early Family.  The Belmonte group may have provided an early leader in Francesco Barrale.  They had an important patron in Giuseppe Traina, from Belmonte and a leading member of the D'Aquila Family in NYC.
Traina was also central in sponsoring Salvatore Sabella as the next Family head around 1919.  Sabella was from Castellammare, which led the Family to siding with Maranzano in the "Castellammarese War".  Members from Enna + Messina Provinces in Eastern Sicily joined during the 1920-30's.  Non-Sicilians from Calabria, Abruzzi and Campania were inducted later in the 1930-50's.
The Family covered an area including southern New Jersey, from where Joseph Bruno and Joseph Ida would later run the Family.  It was represented by the Genovese Family, until Angelo Bruno entered the Commission in the 1960's.

[Best source for early Mafia activity in Philadelphia is the trilogy of books by Celeste Morello : - Before Bruno 1-2-3.]

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania attracted Italian immigrants, mainly because of work available in the mining industry.  These included many from the mainland, including large numbers from Calabria and Campania, who tended to out-number the Sicilians.  Sicilian communities grew in both north and south Pittsburgh, while mainland Italians mainly lived in east Pittsburgh.
Early members of the Family came mainly from towns in Palermo Province, like Caccamo, Termini, Trabia, ect.  But the first known leader was Gregorio Conti, from Comitini in Agrigento Province [source is Gentile, again].  However at this time [1915], the Sicilians were subject to Camorra domination in Pittsburgh.  The Camorra leader Ferdinando Mauro was a close associate and business partner of Conti, both being witness on the others Naturalization papers.  There also seems to have been a strong Calabrian group under Fortunato Calabro, possibly allied to Mauro.
Led by the newly arrived Gentile, the Sicilians revolted against Camorra domination and warfare broke-out.  Gentile calls his opponents the Calabrian Camorra, which is confusing as Camorra was a Neapolitan organization.  Whatever, the Sicilians triumphed and gained at least parity in the Italian underworld.  The fact that both Mauro and Calabro survived the conflict, suggests that none of the various factions gained total dominance.
The only leader to perish was Conti, killed in 1919 and replaced by Salvatore Calderone, from Termini.  The Family gained control of the local fruit trade and Italian market.  An important faction from Villarosa, in Enna Province, joined during these years.  Around the mid-1920's the Monastero brothers, Stefano and Salvatore, became leaders after Calderone's retirement. 
Throughout the 1920's Calabrian and Neapolitan factions continued to contest the Families  domination.  Several attempts were made to kill Stefano Monastero, mainly by a Neapolitan gang-leader called Giuseppe Pangallo.  These attempts were finally successfull in 1929, with his brother killed soon after.  The Family leadership passed to Giuseppe Siragusa, and membership opened to Neapolitans and Calabrians.
Later Calabria [Bazzano], Naples [Amato + Genovese] and Sicily [LaRocca] would all provide leaders.  The Families influence would spread to New Kennsington, Braddock, Wilmerding and other area's of Pennsylvania.  They would also dispute control of Youngstown, Erie and Rochester with other Families.

Pittston, Pennsylvania.
The area around Pittston, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre is coal mining country, and the early history of the Family is tied to this.  The coal industry needed miners, so immigrants from the sulfur mining area in Caltanisetta Province began arriving in the late 1890's. 
By 1910 over 100 families from Montedoro were living in a mining village called" Brandy Patch" in Pittston.  Among the family names were Bufalino, Sciandra,LaTorre, Morreale, Volpe, Alaimo, ect. Later members from San Cataldo and Serradifalco arrived in Pittston.  This community had close connections with other Caltanisetta immigrants in Buffalo NYS. 
None of the known early members arrived in America before 1900, with Stefano LaTorre in 1903 being the first.  Soon his brother-in-law Santo Volpe and 2nd cousins the Bufalino brothers joined him.  A 1907 police raid on a Black Hand gang netted Calogero Bufalino, LaTorre, Volpe and several others.  At the subsequent trial attended by known NYC and Philadelphia Mafiosi, police and prosecuters were threatened.  This would suggest that a Family was already in existence, although it's leader is unknown.
Through the 1910-20's Bufalino, Volpe and LaTorre were involved in owning mining companies.  The Family members all worked for these companies, or were involved in mining workers union activities.  This included much conflict and bloodshed in the late 1920's-early 1930's.  The members were also involved in bootlegging, gambling and other crimes.
The connection with Buffalo ran through Joseph Barbara, who operated in the Endicott area of NYS.  From Castellammare, and a former inhabitant of Scranton, Barbara was implicated in several Pittston murders in the early 1930's.  He ran a bottling plant, and formed a regime of mostly Castellammarese members.  Some sources named him as a Buffalo member, but he eventually headed the Pittston Family [1949-59].  His successor, and former Capo in Pittston, was Rosario Bufalino, the nephew of Calogero.

[Source  : - article in the April 2011 issue of the Informer on-line magazine].

While Rochester was the scene of violent conflicts between various factions during the early years, there was no "recognised" organization there.  Following the "Castellammarese War" [1930-31] the new Commission gave the Buffalo Family control of NYS.  Stefano Magaddino, head in Buffalo, inducted local Sicilians and formed a regime in Rochester.
A possible early Capo could have been Pasquale Amico, who died in 1947.  At the 1957 Apalachin meeting, the regime was represented by Costenze Valenti.  Valenti was jailed for obstruction, and Giacomino Russolessi [AKA Jake Russo] took control for the Buffalo Family.
Valenti, and his brother Frank who was a Capo in the Pittsburgh Family, regained control in 1964 with the disappearence of Russolessi.  During the late 1960's Magaddino began losing control over his widespread Family, allowing the Valenti's to declare the Rochester regime an independent Family in 1970.
Although Costenze [Stanley] was officially head, it was Frank Valenti who really ran the Family.  He had the support of the Pittsburgh Family, but soon lost the members respect.  A revolt in 1972 led to the Valenti's retirement, with Salvatore Rusotti succeeding them.
The new leadership lasted only a few years before being jailed in 1975, which allowed an aborted Valenti comeback.  There then followed years of conflict and murder, before more convictions in the 1980's decimated the Family.
The youngest Family in America is now almost extinct, and under the control of the NYC based Bonanno Family.

Rockford, Illinois.
Rockford is situated between Chicago and Milwaukee, and it's Families foundation and early history was heavily influenced by those Families.  Although there was Black Hand activity in Rockford during the 1900-10's, organization did not begin until the mid-1920's.  This coincided with the arrival of an experienced Mafioso called Antonio Musso.
Musso was born in Partinico and emigrated in 1912, going to a relative called Finazzo in Detroit.  He moved around over the next decade, living in New Orleans, Chicago and St. Louis, where his first arrest's occured.  He was very well connected, as in-laws included  Mafiosi John Piro [NO + LA] and Antonio Lombardo [Chicago].  The latter was a close associate of Capone, and head of the Chicago Unione Siciliana, until killed in 1928.
By the early 1920's he was living in Madison, where he was arrested in both 1924 + 25, and possibly a member of the Milwaukee Family.  Probably with the support of Capone, he moved to Rockford and began to organize an "official" Family [1926].  Most of the early members were from small towns like Marsala, Roccamena and SanGiuseppe Iato.
In 1930 a faction headed by the Giovingo brothers opposed Musso, and a 3 year conflict ensued.  The Giovingo's were probably allied to the Aiello faction, enemies of Capone and responsible for Lombardo's murder.  By 1933 the Giovingo's were killed-off and the Family came to dominate Rockford.
Over the following years members from Aragona in Agrigento Province came to dominate the Family.  Rockford had strong ties to the Springfield, Milwaukee and Chicago Families, and were represented on the Commission by the latter.

San Francisco, California.
Mafia activity in San Francisco is first reported in 1875, when a small gang moved in from New Orleans.  The leader of this group was Rosario Meli, and his gang specialized in extorting fellow Italians.  They were arrested in 1878, and charged with the murder of one of their extortion victims.  Meli was extradited to Sicily in 1880, but escaped  and never arrived.
The Italian district was relatively quite during the 1890-1900's, except for a small gang of extortioners led by Giuseppe Bona.  Many of the Italian population in SF were from Northern Italy, and had no criminal proclivities.  But by 1910 several future Family members had settled in SF, like the Alioto, Lazio, Maita, Sabella,LaFata and Pedone families.
The Family seems to have been founded during the early 1910's, and centered on the related Ingrassia, Alioto and Lazio families.  They were involved in the fishing industry around Fishermans Wharf, and were partners in a restaurant there.  Because of their success as businessmen, they were subject to extortion by Blackhanders.  This was the Pedone gang, who tried to extort Gaetano Ingrassia, possibly the head of the Family.  In 1916 Ingrassia met  with Antonio + Giuseppe Pedone, and wounded them both.  However, Antonio's son shot and killed Ingrassia in retaliation.  This started a fued that would last for 8 years.
Although all the participants were Sicilians, Ingrassia's relatives testified against the Pedones who were convicted.  This indicates that the Pedones were not Mafia, as no Mafioso would testify against another.  In prison the Pedones talked, which supports the theory they were not Mafiosi.  They talked about a grand council of the Camorra, headed by a Antonio Delano [AKA Michael Gallo].  This may be the man arrested in 1913, and a Family associate in the 1930's.  Another name linked to a Camorra gang was Domenico Imperato [1874-1946].
The leadership of the old Pedone gang was taken over by the LaFata brothers, and they killed Mariano Alioto who had testified against the Pedones.  The fued was finally ended by the murder of Rosalino LaFata in 1924.
Our old friend Nicola Gentile  was in SF in 1921, and described the unamed Family leader as a man of advanced years.  Just who this was is a mystery, members old enough include Giuseppe Alioto [a brother of Mariano], Fillipo Maita and Francesco Lanza.  Lanza had arrived from NYC in 1919, and partnered with the Alioto and Lazio families.  Other new members joining during the 1920's included the LaRocca and Sciortino families.  The latter were also from NYC, and would later lead the San Jose Family.  The Family was reinforced by new arrivals from NYC, Chicago and New Orleans.
Another developement was the appearence of non-Sicilians amongst the membership.  The Lima family were Calabrians, and had been involved in extortion in Pennsylvania.
The series of murders that occured between 1928 and 1932, of which most participants were Calabrians + Neapolitans, may not have involved the Family at all.  By the late 1920's Lanza was in control of the Family, and he kept a low profile.  It was many years before another "Mafia" murder occured in SF.  The leadership passed to Anthony Lima in 1937, and in the early 1940's a faction split from the Family to form the San Jose Family.   

San Jose, California.
This Family, one of the last formed, is a break-away faction of the much older San Francisco Family.  The FBI claims it was formed in 1942, and led by Onofrio Sciortino, this may well be accurate.  We do not know the reason for the split, but several SF members had lived in the SJ area for years.
Founding members included the Sciortino brothers, Alfonso Gunetta, Joseph Lintini and Giuseppe Vicari.  As early as 1921 Gentile claimed Carmelo + Onofrio Sciortino were SF members.
The Family attracted members from Brooklyn, Pennsylvania and Detroit, with a strong connection to the Colombo Family in NYC.  It was never regarded as a strong organization, and had several FBI informants in it's ranks. 

Springfield, Illinois.
This Family, like Rockford, is sometimes considered a satellite faction of the Chicago "Outfit".  However it's early connections appear to be closer to St. Louis than Chicago.  Situated in central Illinois, Springfield is the state capital.  Italian immigrants arriving in the 1890-1900's were attracted by jobs in the mining industry.
An Italo-American club was founded in 1910, and headed by the future father-in-law of Frank Zito.  The Zito brothers, and several early members, were from San Giuseppe Iato in Palermo Province.  By the mid-1910's they were involved in Blackhand extortion in nearby Bendl, with Frank arrested for murder.  They moved onto Springfield in time for the start of Prohibition in 1920.
Frank Zito was soon involved in bootlegging, operating out of a soft drinks store he owned.  He co-operated with his old associates in Benld led by Dominic Tarro.  In 1924 he married into the Sgro family, and began to build an organization.
In 1927 the Family became involved in the gang war in St. Louis, after two Aiello brothers were killed in Springfield.  The brothers were related to the Russo faction, while Zito was allied to the "Green Ones".  Survivors of the "Green Ones" faction, later moved to Illinois and joined the Family.
The authorities cracked down on the Families bootlegging ring in 1930-31, and arrested many members and associates.  The Benld faction were also affected, and Tarro was found murdered in 1930.  Frank Zito was among those convicted, and spent some time in prison [1933-4].  But the Family that Zito built survived and continued operating for the next half century.

St. Louis, Missouri.
There were reports that Mafiosi from New Orleans moved to St. Louis after their leader was killed in a conflict in 1869.  But there are no further details known, and Blackhand activity only became a problem in the 1890's.  This became more pronounced in the 1900's, with wealthy businessmen , like the Viviano family, becoming victims of extortion and kidknapping.  Italian immigrants collected in two distinct area's, "The Hill" in southwest St. Louis and downtown "Little Italy".
It was not till 1910 that that the public truly became aware of organized criminal activity in "Little Italy".  A fued led to the death of a known Mafioso called Cammarata, the decapitation of a defence witness and a sensational trial.  That same year a Neapolitan fruit dealer called Capuano was killed on the "Hill". 
By the mid-1910's the Giambrone brothers, led by Domenico, from  Palermo Province had become a power in "Little Italy".  They ran their rackets from a saloon on Biddle Street, including murder in 1917.  Domenico Giambrone was the first recognised faction leader in the city, but other factions were soon to dispute his position.
Pasquale Santino, a son-in law of the murdered Capuano, led a gang of fellow Agrigento-born members, including the father of future Family head Anthony Lopiparo.  Santino ran a protection racket against local merchants.  He also had contacts in Cleveland, where the dominant faction was also from Agrigento Province.
By the late 1910's the Giannola brothers, from Balestrate, had muscled their way into the meat and produce industry.  Adding feared enforcer Alfonso Palazzolo in 1921, they began to clash with the rival factions.  Although prominent in the Italian area's, these factions were virtually unknown in the wider city.
By the start of Prohibition several other gangs controlled larger area's of St. Louis.  On the northside the mainly Irish-American "Egans Rats" and Hogan gangs struggled for dominance.  They were both closely connected to political circles, indeed the leader of the Hogan's was a state representative.  These two gangs would clash in a bloody fued that lasted years, and left many corpses.
While all the factions were violent, the prize for murderous mayhem must go to the "Cuckoo" gang of Soulard.  This neighborhood had a mixed population of Irish, German, Slavs and Maronite christian Syrians.  The Cuckoo's would split into factions, reform, split again and fight all-comers over the coming years.
Bootlegging was taken-up by all the gangs, and inevitably this caused conflict amongst them.  In Little Italy the Giannola gang, now called the "Green Ones" and reinforced by manpower from Chicago and Detroit, started to gain dominance.  Santino's faction tended to co-operate, but Giambrone resisted and paid the price.  Early in 1922 Domenico was wounded, and after his brother Paul was killed, he left town in late 1923.  He would return 11 years later, only to be murdered in 1934.
The Giannola's, led by Vito, were now dominant in Little Italy and by the mid-1920's could be considered a Family.  They had strong allies in Chicago, Detroit and Springfield and a possible connection to the national leadership in NYC.  In 1928 Frank Agrusa, then leader, attended the Mafia summit in Cleveland.
However the next few years were full of conflict with both fellow Mafiosi and the Cuckoo's.  Amongst the dead were Vito Giannola, Alfonso Palazzolo, Pasquale Santino, Carmelo Fresina, 3 Russo brothers, and many more.  With the end of Prohibition, and the re-organization of Cosa Nostra, the remaing factions came together.  However, the violence had driven many possible members to move onto other cities.  The Licavoli, Moceri and Bommarito families went to Detroit, while the some of the surviving Green Ones [Agrusa + Impastato] moved to Springfield.
The St.Louis Family never recovered from this exodus, and remained small and low-key throughout it's later existence.  The FBI even suggested that the Kansas City Family took control, and sent Gaetano Buffa and Anthony Lopiparo  to St. Louis.  This is patently untrue, as both men had lived in the city for years.  The Family leadership seems to have run through Buffa, Pasquale Micelli, Vincenzo Chiapetta, Lopiparo to Anthony Giardino.

Tampa, Florida.
Sicilian immigrants arriving in Tampa found work in the Cigar factories in Ybor City.  The majority came from the towns of Santa Stefano Quisquina, Cianciana, Allessandro Della Rocca and Castletermini in Agrigento Province.  Forming a community in Ybor City, they founded the Unione Italiana society in 1894.  By the 1920's it had 1800 members, and owned a clubhouse and cemetry.
Most of the early Family members arrived after 1900, almost all from the Agrigento towns.  Even those from other birthplaces were connected to these towns, like Joseph Vaglica from Monreale, but with a wife from A.D.Rocca.  Although we do not know who the early leader was, the oldest member, and first arrival, was Ignazio Italiano from S.S.Quisquina.
Italiano had connections with NYC + Brooklyn, to both the Gambino and Colombo Families.  Familial relationships were important in the Family, for instance the Italiano's were related to both the Antinori and Leto families.  While the Trafficante's were related to the Cacciatore + Giglio families, and the Antinori's to the Diecidue and Lumia families.
So a best guess is a starting date of around 1910, and possibly led by Ignazio Italiano, with Alfonso Diecidue, Ignazio Antinori and Santo Trafficante snr. as senior members.  The 1928 Cleveland meeting was an all Sicilian affair, and Tampa was represented by Italiano and Vaglica.
The main criminal activities were gambling and involvement in the narcotics trade.  Bolita, originally a Cuban game, was the mainstay of gambling in Tampa.  Charles Wall was the dominant figure in this activity during the 1920-40's.  He survived assassination attempts in 1930-39-44, before being forced into retirement, and finally eliminated.  However he fought hard, and was responsible for the killing of several Mafiosi in his career [Vaglica, Antinori, ect.].
Narcotics were smuggled through Cuba, and Joseph Cacciatore ran a large distribution ring in Florida.  Later Antinori took-over, and supplied drugs to midwest Families like Kansas City + St.Louis.
Eventually the Trafficante family gained control of the Family, after a conflict with the Italiano + Lumia factions.

Texas [Dallas, Houston + Galveston].
 The "official" history of this Family is that it was founded around 1921, and led by Carlo Piranio.  He was from Corleone, and related to fellow Corleonesi the Zabbia and Genaro families.  Although this may be true, Mafia activity had a longer pedigree in Texas.
Sicilian immigrants from the towns of Corleone, Salaparuta + Poggioreale settled in the Brazos Valley area, around Bryan, from the 1880's.  Among these were Giuseppe Morello, the future national head who lived there in the 1890's.  There may have been connections to early Mafiosi in nearby Louisiana.
Carlo Piranio, and brother Joseph, settled in Dallas and joined his relatives Giuseppe Zabbia + Michealangelo Genaro.  The Family grew during the 1920's, with the Musso, Campisi and Civello families arriving.  Most owned small business, like groceries, and indulged in bootlegging and narcotics smuggling from Cuba.
Carlo died in 1930, and was succeeded by brother Joseph who oversaw the Families expansion to Houston + Galveston.  Calabrians like Vincent Vallone, Peter Duca and Frank Ianni joined the membership in the 1930-40's.  The Family were involved in a nationwide narcotics ring, with several members arrested in 1937, including Sam Maceo [Capo in Galveston].
Although there was little conflict within the Family, Vincent Vallone, capo in Houston, was murdered in 1949.  By the 1950's Joseph Civello was head, and was aprehended at the 1957 Apalachin meeting.  Alliances were maintained with the New Orleans and Los Angeles Families.  The Family was considered inactive by the 1990's.

The twenty-nine [29] Families listed above are those historically recognised by researchers and authorities.  Some may consider the faction in Madison as a Family, but it was too small to be anything but a regime of the Milwaukee Family.
Of the others, two, those in Birmingham + Newark were disbanded in the 1930-40's.  Three were founded later, or gained independence, Elizabeth + San Jose [1930-40's] and Rochester [1970's].