Monday, November 12, 2007

Charlie Birger, Illinois Mobster

Bryan Lawrence called for tech support. His organization serves Franklin-and "Bloody" Williamson County, Illinois. I had read Ted Rodd's copy of Bloody Williamson, the story of mine strikebreakers and their murders in Herrin near Marion.

Bryan told me about Charlie Birger, a liquor mobster during prohibition and the last man to be hanged in Illinois. His tale led me to "... born Shachna Itzik Birger in Russia between 1880 and 1883." He was my grandmother's age.

The gang wars involved what may have been the first aerial bombing in the US.
"... Shelton Gang unsuccessfully bombed Shady Rest from the air..." The gangs combined to battle the Ku Klux Klan, who opposed liquor on grounds that it involved foreigners like Birger.

Shady Rest was Birger's rendezvous point for transshipment of bootleg from the south to Chicago and St. Louis. Click the pic for more photos.

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