Hell-Cat Maggie

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Hell-Cat Maggie
Born c. 1820
Nationality Irish American
Other names Hellcat Maggie
Occupation Criminal
Known for Five Points personality and early member of the Dead Rabbits.
Religion Catholic

Hell-Cat Maggie (fl. 1840–1845) was the pseudonym of an American criminal and early member of the Dead Rabbits. She was a well-known personality in Manhattan's Five Points district and a noted female fighter, her teeth reportedly filed into points and who wore long claw-like brass fingernails,[1] who fought alongside the Dead Rabbits and other Five Pointers against rival nativist gangs from the Bowery, most especially the Bowery Boys, during the early 1840s. Although there is little information on her life, she is one of the earliest female criminals of the "Gangs of New York" era and has been compared to later criminals such as Sadie the Goat, Gallus Mag and Battle Annie, the latter leading the female auxiliary of the Gopher Gang during the 1870s.[2][3]

A composite character based on Hell-Cat Maggie, Sadie the Goat and Gallus Mag was played by Cara Seymour in the 2002 film adaptation of Herbert Asbury's Gangs of New York directed by Martin Scorsese. She was also featured in the 2003 historical novel A Passionate Girl by Thomas J. Fleming.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Burrows, Edwin G. and Mike Wallace. Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. (p. 634) ISBN 0-19-514049-4
  2. ^ Asbury, Herbert. The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the New York Underworld. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1928. (pp. 27-28, 47, 236) ISBN 1-56025-275-8
  3. ^ English, T.J. Paddy Whacked: The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. (p. 19) ISBN 0-06-059002-5

Further reading[edit]

  • Botkin, B.A. New York City Folklore: Legends, Tall Tales, Anecdotes, Stories, Sagas, Heroes and Characters, Customs, Traditions and Sayings. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1976. ISBN 0-8371-9310-9
  • Penhaligon, Tom. The Impossible Irish. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1935.
  • Petronius. New York Unexpurgated: An Amoral Guide for the Jaded, Tired, Evil, Non-conforming, Corrupt, Condemned, and the Curious, Humans and Otherwise, to Under Underground Manhattan. New York: Matrix House, 1966.