Nicola Terranova

Nicola Terranova
Nicola Terranova

Alias: Nick Ter­ra­no­va (Morel­lo)

Born: 1890

Nation­al­i­ty: Sicilian

Died: Sep­tem­ber 7th 1916

Where: John­son St and Hud­son Avenue

Cause: Shot

Killer: Tom Pagano

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.

On Sep­tem­ber 7th, 1916, Ter­ra­no­va and Eugene Ubri­a­co trav­elled down­town to meet with the Navy St gang, where they were both ambushed and killed.

Scene after the Terranova/Ubriaco killing.
Scene after the Terranova/Ubriaco killing.