In 1892, Nicola Terranova arrived in New York from Corleone with his family including his mother, step-father, four sisters, and brothers Ciro and Vincent. They were joining their step-brother Giuseppe Morello 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. The 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.
Terranova was arrested in 1910 in connection with the big counterfeiting trial. He was held for passing the counterfeit money that the gang had been producing in Highland NY.
The following years saw Terranova try to secure the release of his brother-in-law, Giuseppe Morello. In 1912, the Secret Service learnt of conversations between Terranova and Giuseppe DeMarco to kidnap Captain Flynn’s children, a plan that Terranova turned down as he didn’t want to jeopardise his brothers chance of parole.
In June 1912, Terranova was arrested along with his brother Vincent for assaulting a policeman. Vincent was sentenced to ten days on Blackwell’s Island, whilst Nicholas received a suspended sentence.
Later in June 1912, Terranova was involved in the killing of Rocco Tapano in the Bronx. Whilst never charged with the crime, it was noted in Secret Service records when they learnt of his involvement through one of their informants. Terranova killed Tapano in retaliation for the murder of his nephew, Calogero Morello, Giuseppe Morello’s son.
In November 1915, ‘Three Fingered’ Sam Antonio, thought to be an associate of Joe DeMarco, attacked Terranova in Harlem with a shotgun. Terranova was hospitalised but survived the attack.