Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Trouble Averted


The suggestion that Stephen Clement Dooley, Orphan and World War I veteran, associated with members of the Touhy gang came from a mother/son conversation held many years ago. The source of the story is Stephen Dooley’s son who just happens to be named Stephen! Names do have a tendency to be repeated in this Dooley clan!

The younger Stephen recalls his mother sharing the story that elder Stephen used to hang out in the streets and associated with the Touhy gang. The elder Stephen was well known for street fighting in his younger days. She explained that “The Touhy Gang went one way and his father went another.” After reading about the Touhy gang, I can state with complete certainty that Stephen Clement Dooley made a very smart decision!

Birth, census, court and death records give genealogists a structure in researching a person’s life. Some stories are just not found in these traditional resources such as this one.
And now for the Touhy gang!

The Touhy family lived in the near west side of Chicago. James and Mary Touhy had six sons and two daughters. Mr. Touhy provided for his family by working as a police officer.
Tragedy struck when the children were young. Mother Mary died in a home fire. James had difficulty raising this large family. The boys took to the street and eventually five sons organized and became The Touhy Gang.

Son Roger Touhy became an Irish-American mob boss in Chicago. Prohibition provided the perfect opportunity for this bootlegger. He distributed alcohol to the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He also ran gambling establishments and was a loan shark.  The successful gang caught the eye of Al Capone and trouble brewed. Small skirmishes grew into an all out gang war between Al Capone and the Touhy gang.

I used the following three websites to learn about the Touhy gang.There is much to read!

1.     Wikipedia:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Touhy
3.     The Roger Touhy, Gangster blog at


I believe that trouble was averted for our young Stephen. At that time the Near West Side neighborhood was tough and his association with the Touhys may have related to friendship or survival. While no formal records have been found linking the two, Stephen’s future life is proof that he did indeed choose a different path.

Stephen Clement Dooley was universally known as a gentle, loving husband, father, grandfather, uncle and brother.

1 comment:

  1. I like your comment, "trouble brewed." Did you purposely pick that pun on words? If so, very creative! Good article.

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