Christie Maroney – Character in Divide the Dawn
“There was a murder in Brooklyn one time, where there often was before and I s’pose there will be again. Christie Maroney. . . It was said half his face was made o’ gold.”
~The Gas Drip Bard
Christie Maroney (1867-1912) also known as the Gold-toothed Larrikin, was murdered before the books take place. He was the self-proclaimed “King of Irishtown” before Dinny Meehan. A barrel-chested, full-bellied man who wore a bowler’s cap three sizes too small for his head, he bedecked himself in gold, including his teeth. Maroney was murdered between the bridges in 1912 by the upstart White Hand gang who, along with other Brooklyn gangs, were paying him tribute. A “son of an exiled child,” Maroney bullied his way to the top of the underworld, then broke the insulated neighborhood’s Code of Silence and sold its secrets to outsiders. He was known to offer cash loans to young women looking for work, who soon found out they had to pay it back by having sex with merchant marines, libidinous drunks and even Italians. He was despised by the aging, original settlers of Irishtown who had survived the Great Hunger (Irish potato famine) who couldn’t believe one of their own would break their Irish traditions.
What you need to know before starting DIVIDE THE DAWN: Speaking with bartender Paddy Keenan, Irishtown Patrolman William Brosnan counts all the times he’s arrested White Hand gang leader Dinny Meehan, including in 1912 for the murder of the “yegg” Christie Maroney. When Liam Garrity is convinced to listen to Irishtown’s shanachie (Irish storyteller), The Gas Drip Bard, he hears for the first time about the sensational trial of Maroney’s murder that had all of Brooklyn on edge. Even the Marines were called in because riots were threatened if the young Whitehanders were convicted. But Meehan, McGowan and Vincent Maher were all exonerated, while only Pickles Leighton was convicted. The affects of Maroney’s murder is still haunting the gang.