Darby Leighton – Character in Divide the Dawn
“Knowing things is what I’m known for, and I’m the guy waiting in the long shadows to use them against you.”
Darby Leighton – (b. 1890) is a man of the shadows. Sickly and with calm, dead eyes, he has the look of a lost soldier as he’s been banished from the White Hand gang. He has never been able to decide his own fate, but now has a family and is ready to emerge. Having been abandoned as children in 1900, Darby and his brother Pickles Leighton lived under a rotted pier in Brooklyn until joining an early version of the White Hand gang. When a young Dinny Meehan appeared, the gang became profitable. Darby was the one who saved money to bring his cousin Sadie Meehan (née Leighton) to Brooklyn. Darby looked up to Meehan, but was made to follow his brother Pickles in joining Wild Bill Lovett‘s Jay Street gang one block over. When Pickles was convicted of murdering Christie Maroney, Meehan’s enforcer The Swede beat Darby to “death’s door” and “eightysixt” him to the shadows. Having lived under cover for so long, he’s learned to spy on the gang and has worked in the background to gather valuable information against it. In the meantime he met an Italian immigrant who could not find her family when she got off the boat. Soon a baby came, but how are they going to support their new family?
In 1915 Darby is seen running from The Swede again on the streets of Irishtown. Later, a gang member who openly questioned Darby’s exile was murdered.
From the shadows, Darby snuck up on Sadie and son, L’il Dinny. Feeling she’d left him to rot while marrying the man who banished him, he gave her a cryptic warning, “One day Bill Lovett’s gonna kill ya husband, and I’m gonna know about it ahead o’ time.” But in 1917, Lovett’s revolt against Meehan failed, leaving Darby deeper in the shadows than before. In 1919, Lovett reappeared, seemingly from the dead, and gave him his .45, telling Darby to get it to Richie Lonergan in order to kill Meehan’s cousin, Mickey Kane. With Lovett returned, Darby hopes to overthrow Meehan and become a dockboss to support his young family.