Nicholas Sylvester

by Jon Black

Alias: Nick Sylvester

Born: 1889

Nationality: Sicilian

Died:

Where:

Cause:

Killer:

Nick Sylvester was a friend of the young Terranova brothers, he had been arrested with them in 1903 when the Morello family was being hounded after the Barrel trial.

In 1907, Sylvester worked as a driver for Ignazio Lupo’s Mott Street store before it went bankrupt, after the store failed he worked as a plasterer for Angelo Gagliano at 231 E107th.

Sylvester was invloved with the Morello gang during their 1910 counterfeiting case. He drove the wagons for the gang, and sometimes kept guard around the farms.

When the gang was rounded up by the Secret Service in 1909/1910 Sylvester was already under arrest in connection with a burglary. At the end of the counterfeiting trial Sylvester was sentenced to 15 years hard labour and a $500 fine.

Sylvester would later pass information to the Secret Service during his time in Atlanta Penitentairy. He told them about the production and location of the printing plates, and passed them other information about Morello gang members. His sentence was later commuted to five years and he was paroled on 21st February, 1915.

During Comito’s confession in 1910 he told the following tale of Sylvester:

Sylvester boasted that his first sentence was for five years in the reformatory as a minor. He ran away from the reformatory in company with several other boys and got into the horse-stealing business. He was sentenced several times for small offenses and he once was arrested for carrying concealed weapons. During his imprisonment he came to know a certain Terranova, who was a half-brother of Morello, and they became fast friends. They stole horses in New York and sold them in other cities at reduced prices ; or they would bring the horses to friends in the country (Highland) and receive payment. He told of being arrested once when with Morello’s son and brother; they had thrown a bomb into a store in Mott Street. They were let go because there were no witnesses to the crime.

Comito also claimed that Sylvester told him the following story:

One night I went with the Morello brothers and other friends into a hall where a Jewish wedding was being celebrated. As we entered the hall we recognized two policemen who had helped us before in our jobs. Our idea was to steal watches. We succeeded in stealing about fifteen watches when a Jew I was robbing got onto me. He grabbed me by the coat and called the police. The policeman knew me and took my part. He pushed the Jew aside and told him to go away. The policeman said he knew me to be a fine young man for more than ten years. The policeman told the Jew he was lying and that if he said any more about the matter he would be put under arrest. The Jew was crest-fallen, but went on dancing all the same. As we came outside, I gave three watches to the policeman, two of silver and one of gold. I disposed of the others in New Jersey. We divided the proceeds equally among us.