George Musey

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George Musey
Born (1900-07-17)July 17, 1900
Lake Charles, Louisiana, U.S.
Died July 25, 1935(1935-07-25) (aged 35)
Galveston, Texas, U.S.
Other names
  • George S. Musey
  • One-armed George Musey
  • King of Gulf Rum-Runners
Occupation Gangster, associate Mob boss
Title Associate Boss
Criminal charge Bootlegging
Criminal penalty Imprisonment, Atlanta Penitentiary
Criminal status Deceased
Spouse(s) Mary Abraham Musey (c. 1924–1935; his death)
Children
  • Margaret M. Musey (1925)
  • George J. Musey (1928–1992)
Parent(s) Jamail (Sid) Musey and Sally Musey
Allegiance Downtown Gang
Conviction(s) 1929

George Musey, also known as "one-armed George Musey", was an associate mob boss in Galveston, Texas, during the 1920s and early 1930s. He, with the "Beau Brummel of Galveston" Johnny Jack Nounes, led the Downtown Gang, one of the two gangs which controlled Galveston underworld until the early 1930s.[1] Musey was the gang's top enforcer and would not let anyone ruin the rise of the Downtown Gang. Bootlegging was his specialty, therefore, when the law would arrive to seize the illegal hooch, Musey always escaped. However, he was convicted on conspiracy liquor charges and sent to Atlanta Penitentiary. He went on to head the gang as Nounes's absence was in effect due to his prison terms. He was the only right-hand man to gang boss Nounes and he was the best acting boss the gang ever had. He was later assassinated in 1935, eight days after his 35th birthday.[2]

Family and early life[edit]

George Musey was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to Jamial and Sally Musey, both immigrants from Syria. His parents immigrated to the United States around 1890 and has a total of five children: Tom, George, Emma, Fred, and Sam. Fred and Sam would go on to assist their brother in his crime life. The family moved to Houston, Texas, in the 1910s and later to Galveston. During George's early life he worked as a mechanic in an auto shop his dad managed. With him being in Texas his life would forever change from being a small-time mechanic to a big-time gangster. As Prohibition in the United States of America talks were circulating, George probably wanted to get out of the rough life he was living, and so he came across a flamboyant gang boss by the name of Johnny Jack Nounes, who had been the boss of the Downtown Gang long before prohibition came up and developed a liking to George. From that time on George Musey became Nounes's right-hand man, an associate boss, leading the gang with him. With the new prohibition laws hitting the nation, these two mobsters had a mission to accomplish.[3]

Prohibition[edit]

With prohibition now in affect, the Nounes-Musey mob had brought on many new gangsters including, Marvin "Big Jim" Clark and Theodore "Fatty" Owens, two gangsters who would eventually both become acting bosses when Nounes and Musey were away.[4] The two made one heck of team, with Johnny's charisma and flamboyance along with George's strength and connections, the gang was untouchable. They were in tough competition with their rivals the Beach Gang along the Maceo brothers.[5] Besides federal agent Al Scharff riding their tails, the gang usually bought off local city cops slipping them into their pocket. Musey was a popular cat in the bootlegging business, he even developed connections for the gang down in New Orleans, Louisiana and would go on to be called the "King of Gulf Rum-Runners". As time went on and George's brothers got a little older, he brought them into the gang. Freddie helped out with making bootleg hooch with fellow gang member Otis Skains while Sam soldiered.[6] George would fill in as "acting boss" when Johnny would go off to prison and would be a person you would never want to bud heads with. One time a somebody was interrupting the gang's flow, and so George killed the man and buried him face down in the ground in quick lime. Furthermore, George and Johnny made a lot of the liquor runs on Johnny's boat the "Cherokee," but he also used Charlie Mushmach's boat the "Imperator" and Tom Lena's boat, the "Lena". Using these last two boats on a liquor run in Louisiana George would caught by federal agents from unloading the liquor in Seabrook, Texas. He, Nounes, and twenty-one other members would be tried in court for conspiracy liquor charges.

Convict and Fugitive[edit]

George would go on to be convicted of the crime in 1929, however he would flee to Montreal, Canada, since Big Jim had connections there, to escape the sentence.[7] However, the law didn't know where he was and thought he was down south in Honduras. He was now wanted by the United States Secret Service. They looked for him in several countries including Canada and Central America, however, they eventually found him in 1931 at his birthplace in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The agents arrested Musey and brought him back to Galveston under heavy guard. They held him up at a beach hotel where he was not allowed to communicate with anybody. It is believed that he made a number of "business" trips back to Galveston and other surrounding cities including Lake Charles. Shortly after he would spend time in Atlanta Penitentiary, the same prison Johnny Jack was in.

Post-Prohibition and Assassination[edit]

A few years later George got out of prison and opened up a club also opening a profitable pinball machine operation. However, by this time the Beach Gang's successors, the Maceo Crime Syndicate, has taken over most of the Island ridding anyone who stands in their way. They were pure rivals of the Downtown Gang since both organizations stole and hijacked each other's shipments. Therefore, George was talking with some of the gang one night at The Alamo Club on 24th St., a club owned by gang member Otis Skains, until the waiter said somebody need him at the door. As he went out the door he was shot five times with .38 revolver by O.J. Windy Goss, a Maceo mob member.[8] The fugitive gangster of Galveston's underworld lied dead in the streets. He was buried at Old Catholic Cemetery in Galveston, Texas survived by his wife Mary, and two children, Margaret and George Jr.

Preceded by
Johnny Jack Nounes
Head Boss~1910-1935
Acting Boss of the Downtown Gang
George Musey

1925–1927; 1930
Succeeded by
Marvin "Big Jim" Clark
1930-1931

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cartwright, Gary (1998). Galveston: a history of the island. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 0-87565-190-9. 
  2. ^ Finstuen, Doc (January 2002). "Fred Musey: Galveston Bootlegger and Club Operator" (PDF). The Lookout Journal. 1 (1). 
  3. ^ Roark, Garland (1964). The Coin of Contraband. Doubleday. ASIN B000XOGSL8. 
  4. ^ Haile, Bartee (16 March 2005). "Bootleggers Shoot It Out In Galveston" (PDF). The Lone Star Iconoclast. 6 (16): 15. 
  5. ^ Cartwright, Gary (1998). Galveston: a history of the island. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 0-87565-190-9. 
  6. ^ Cartwright, Gary (1998). Galveston: a history of the island. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 0-87565-190-9. 
  7. ^ Nieman, Robert (Fall 2008). "Galveston's Balinese Room" (PDF). Texas Ranger Dispatch. Texas Ranger Association Foundation (27). 
  8. ^ Finstuen, Doc (January 2002). "Fred Musey: Galveston Bootlegger and Club Operator" (PDF). The Lookout Journal. 1 (1).