What do you get when a deconstructionist joins the mafia ?

An offer you can't understand.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

La Cosa Nostra in Guelph

During the 1963 US Senate hearings into the American mafia, Joe Valachi named Guelph residents Charles and Frank Cipolla as two made-men of Buffalo's La Cosa Nostra. Charles and Frank were sons of Matteo Cipolla and Rosa Monreale. Wed in Hamilton on January 22 1910, their marriage record lists Matteo’s parents as Calagero Cipolla and Antonia Curta. April 23 1910 Ellis Island records show a Calagero Cipolla, husband of Antonia Curto, traveling from Racalmuto, Sicily to his son Matteo’s home at 280 Terrace St., Buffalo. By the 1911 census, Matteo and Rose lived in Hamilton. Their three sons, Antonio, Charles and Frank all played significant roles in Sicilian mob activities in Ontario. Antonio killed himself blowing a house up in an insurance fraud scheme in 1934 in Port Colborne, although he is buried in Guelph.
In 1969, Charles would die in the Kingston Pen of a brain hemorrhage while serving time for a 1963 sentence for large scale heroin trafficking. Three of Matteo’s children, Charles, Mary and Connie would marry Guelph Ferraros descended from San Giorgiosi.


Michael said...

I knew the late Frank Sylvestro. He was a friend of my law partner, Joe Mattson. Frank was a good friend to joe and always a gentleman to me. My partner, Joe, led a colorful life and for reasons unknown to me the priest in charge of his funeral was reluctant to bury Joe in the church graveyard. Frank Sylvestro intervened and the next day Joe was in consecrated ground. It is rumoured that Frank asked the priest how fire trucks got to Wolfe Island.

Those were the days. I remember talking to an old lady who I believe was Frank's mother in a Guelph home. She explained that even though Guelph was named after an Italian royal family, immigrants from that country were not treated very well in Canada and Guelph in particular. What started out as social clubs became activist to protect their own people against various forms of prejudice.

All power was with the elite merchant classes and the immigrants banded together best they could - just like we all do.

Mike Whitney

Jerry Prager said...

I have tried in Legends of the Morgeti to provide as large a socio-political context in which to examine organize crime as I can, under the assumption that those realities tend to be reactionary, and to trigger anti-authoritarian responses in nearly all immigrants groups. Certainly Guelph's right wing, uber-imperialist governing classes had little use for southern Italians in particular, although it should be remembered that British Imperialists were huge fans of Italy right up until Mussolini got carried away.
As for your comments about Joe Mattson being denied access to consecrated ground I find that quite unusual given that not even Johnny Papalia was denied that privilege by the Church, despite his being denied a church funeral.
Being a story that you claim to know firsthand would allow it to slip in under the radar of rumour and leave it in the legendary circle.
Thanks for your comments.

Cheech said...

I remember visiting my Nonna who lived next door to Frank and his family and visiting his mothers little store that was right next door to their home. Growing up there as a kid with all my friends made it one of the safest neigbourhoods never having to be watched 24/7 knowing we were always in good hands it's to bad things wern't like that anymore

Bill A. said...

Wonder if Cheech is the late Cheech Contini? I grew up in the "Ward" in the late 40s to the 60s. My dad worked for the CPR on Alice Street. We enjoyed the neighbourhood and never had any problems. Later, I heard of those in the other parts of Guelph who would never venture near Alice Street. As Cheech said, the safest neighbourhood to grow up in.