Joseph Canepi Jr.
Contractor, Gambler and Extortionist
Robert Grey Reynolds Jr. at Smashwords
Copyright 2017 by
Robert Grey Reynolds Jr.
Canepi Jr. (1873-1936) was the son of the first Italian building
contractor in Yonkers, New York. When his mother Mary Canepi
(1847-1933) died on Saturday, November 25, 1933, Joseph was living at
12 Overcliff Street. She would have been 94 had she lived until
was well established in Yonkers and Westchester County building
circles. A member of the Yonkers Elks Lodge he had continued the
business since his father, Joseph Sr’s death in 1908. Mary
with her son. She had been confined to the home since breaking a hip
several years earlier. The daughter of a prominent family she
immigrated from Italy in 1868. Mary was one of the earliest Italian
residents of Yonkers. Her father was Joseph Gardella. The Italian
community in the New York City borough began to flourish around the
time the Canepi’s arrived.
As late as 1920 Mary was living on South Broadway.
The 1910 United States Census records her living with Joseph Jr., 37,
at 94 School Street. Joseph Canepi Sr. (1839-1908) was a contracting
engineer in Italy. He continued this work in Yonkers where he
maintained extensive property holdings.
Joseph Canepi Jr.
was the only one of ten children who survived his mother. Mary Canepi
left behind two brothers. One of them, Andrew Gardella (1861-1954),
lived in Bayonne, New Jersey. The other, John Gardella, was in Genoa,
Italy. Mary’s sister, Victoria Gardella, lived in Yonkers.
Mary was survived by
six grandchildren, i.e. John, Joseph, Dolph, Edward, Harold and
Bonnie Canepi. She also left four great grandchildren, i.e. Muriel,
Joseph, Claire and Marilyn Canepi.
In September 1927
the New York Supreme Court exercised a judgment against the family of
Joseph Canepi Sr. Brought by plaintiff the Yonkers National Bank and
Trust Company, the adjudication comprised foreclosure and sale.
Specifically, it concerned a $12,000 mortgage made by Mary Canepi to
Ulrich Wiesendanger (1872-), of 44 Locust Hill Ave, Mayor, Robert
Dykes Ferguson (1863-1945), Comptroller, of 45 Victor Street, and
Alfred H. Isles (1878-), Commissioner of Public Safety. The three
officials served as trustees of the Police Pension Fund of the City
September 22, 1927 the judgment was published in The
on September 29th.
Aside from Mary Canepi her husband and son are mentioned in the
judgment. The legal document also makes reference to Florence Canepi
(1898-1969), wife of Joseph Jr., and Adolph Canepi.
May 1903 Joseph Canepi Jr. was one of six men indicted for running
multiple poolrooms in Yonkers. Canepi’s May 23rd conviction for
operating a poolroom at 12 Palisade Avenue was disturbing. Poolroom
throughout Westchester County were shocked.
Shannon, John T. Rolf (died 1951), a clerk of 714 Bathgate Avenue,
George Fredericks, Frederick William Fred
Johnson (1900-1975), of Quaker Road, Pleasantville, and F.C.
Cunningham were also indicted. Shannon was convicted and sentenced by
Judge William Popham Platt (1858-1926) to a year in prison at Sing
Sing. He was subsequently released after Judge Martin Jerome Keogh
(1852-1928) of White Plains issued a
certificate of reasonable doubt.
Ossining alderman Jeremiah A. Jerry
McCue (1843-1917) was convicted, fined $1,000 and sentenced to a year
at Sing Sing by Judge Platt. McCue appealed the verdict. The Shannon
and McCue appeals were scheduled for a Brooklyn hearing on the
evening of May 26th.
Captain Frederick Henry Woodruff (1874-), of Prospect Street, and his
detectives went to all lengths to gather evidence against the
poolroom consortium. Canepi and his accomplices had put together a
virtual monopoly of the Westchester County pool business.
poolroom operators were forced out by Woodruff and company, they had
relocated their rackets to Woodlands, Ardsley, Tuckahoe, Dunwoodie
and Mount Kisco. Eventually deputy sheriffs in these towns stopped
these illicit activities.
Canepi Jr. was a young man with a wife and several children when he
was convicted on May 23rd.
Having inherited money he was wealthy in his own right. Canepi Jr.
operated several saloons in Yonkers.
trial in Judge Platt’s courtroom lasted two days. The young
scion nearly collapsed when the guilty verdict was read. The jury had
deliberated for almost two hours. Joseph Canepi Sr. had offered as
much as $50,000 bail to keep his son from serving time in jail.
Joseph Canepi Jr. on $2,500 bail. The judicial decision pended a June
1st argument by defense lawyer David H. Hunt (1865-1931), 48. The
attorney, of Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains, objected on grounds
that the court had admitted inaccurate evidence.