Ciro Terranova

by Jon Black

Alias: The Artichoke King

Born: 1888

Nationality: Sicilian

Died: February 20th 1938

Where: New York

Cause: Natural Causes

In 1892, Ciro Terranova arrived in New York from Corleone with his fam­i­ly includ­ing his moth­er, father, four sis­ters, and his broth­ers Vincent and Nicola. They were join­ing their broth­er Giuseppe, who had arrived six months ear­li­er. The fam­i­ly stayed in New York for around a year, but suf­fered from the lack of avail­able work. 

They trav­elled to Louisiana, the father and Giuseppe worked for about a year plant­i­ng sug­ar cane before mov­ing on to Bryan, Texas. They fam­i­ly worked in Texas as cot­ton pick­ers, but left after two years when the fam­i­ly was hit with Malaria. In 1896 they arrived back in New York.

Ciro, and his broth­er Vincent, went to a New York school and helped the fam­i­ly plas­ter­ing busi­ness. Giuseppe Morello opened a restau­rant at the rear of a Prince Street saloon, where Ciro lat­er worked. In April 1903, the ‘Barrel Murder’ case began. After the tri­al had fin­ished in June 1903, the whole Morello fam­i­ly were searched and hound­ed on a reg­u­lar basis. One night, Ciro was trav­el­ling home from work with his broth­er Vincent, nephew Charles, and Nick Sylvester when they were all arrest­ed and kept overnight. On anoth­er occa­sion Ciro and Nicola Terranova were arrest­ed whilst try­ing to locate a doc­tor for Giuseppe’s son, Charles.

Ciro Terranova was tried for com­plic­i­ty in June 1918, in con­nec­tion with the 1916 DeMarco killing. He was acquit­ted due to lack of cor­rob­o­ra­tion when it was ten­u­ous­ly proved that main wit­ness and Terranova were part of the same gang.