Thomas E. Dewey – The man who curbed the mafia of New York

Thomas Dewey was a Special Prosecutor whose only mission was to curb and eliminate the different gangsters and mafia groups that infested in the city of New York. He was a little man, sporting a large moustache and a snarling face.

His early life

It was on 24th March 1902 that Dewey was born in Michigan’s Owosso town. His father was a publisher and editor of a local newspaper and had an objective of having all the wrongs present in the political world to be eradicated and right done. His main focus was Tammany Hall’s tyranny, since it had its corrupt tentacles across the country. Junior Dewey admired his father a lot and was motivated by the senior Dewey to a great extent, so as to go after New York City’s organized crime and gangsters, which was done with a vengeance.

Initially, Dewey wanted to be a singer and was regarded to be talented with operatic baritone. He became a member of Men’s Gee Club from University of Michigan. He also wrote for ‘Michigan Daily’, student newspaper of the university. He also came third at the Nationwide singing contest. But throat problems led to his dropping music as a career and opting to become a lawyer.

He enrolled with Columbia Law School and after graduation started to practice between 1925-31. He married Frances Hutt, an actress in 1928 and both gave birth to two sons.

His rise to fame

He rose to the position of New York Southern District’s Chief Asst. U.S. Attorney in 1931, which acted as a platform for furthering his political boundaries. It is from here that he took on popular gangsters like Waxey Gordon and had him charged and convicted for hidden taxes and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment.

His next target was Dutch Schultz in 1935, he was appointed Special Prosecutor of New York County and more specifically Manhattan. Having Governor Lehman’s solid backing, Dewey had assembled a crack team of investigators, assistants, stenographers, clerks and process servers. Schultz wanted to kill Dewey,  since he was sure that the latter would have all the mafia family members to be behind bars to which the national crime Commission refused  and killed Schultz instead, fearing retaliation from the government.

Although he was successful in his mission to curb mafia control over New York City, he was not considered as Presidential candidate especially with the Second World War looming large, due to his inexperience and young age.