Trang chủ » Enoch L. Johnson – Wikipedia
articlewriting1 2

Enoch L. Johnson – Wikipedia

American political trùm và mobster

Enoch LewisNuckyJohnson (January 20, 1883 – December 9, 1968) was an Atlantic City, New Jersey political boss, a sheriff of Atlantic County, New Jersey, a businessman and a crime boss who was the leader of the political machine that controlled Atlantic City and the Atlantic County government from the 1910s until his conviction and imprisonment in 1941. His rule encompassed the Roaring Twenties when Atlantic City was at the height of its popularity as a refuge from Prohibition. In addition to bootlegging, the criminal aspect of his organization was also involved in gambling and prostitution.

Early life[edit]

social security calculator by age
Lewis Johnson was born on January trăng tròn, 1883, in Galloway Township, New Jersey, bự Smith E. and Virginia ( Higbee ) Johnson, [ một ] who were Protestants và members of two of Atlantic County’s oldest families. [ 2 ] [ ba ] His nickname ” Nucky ” was derived from his forename Enoch. [ một ]In 1886, Johnson’s father was elected Sheriff of Atlantic County, New Jersey for a three-year term, & the family moved bự Mays Landing, the county seat. His career in law enforcement alternated between the roles of sheriff of Mays Landing & undersheriff of Atlantic City. [ bốn ] Along with Atlantic County Clerk Lewis P. Scott ( 1854 – 1907 ) & Congressman John J. Gardner, the elder Johnson was a thành viên of the three-man nhóm dominating the governments of Atlantic City & Atlantic County prior phệ the rise phệ power of Louis Kuehnle. [ 5 ] In 1905, Nucky Johnson became his father’s undersheriff in Mays Landing. In 1908, he was elected Sheriff of Atlantic County when his father’s term expired, a position he held until ousted by a court order in 1911. [ bốn ] [ 5 ]In 1906, Johnson married his teenage sweetheart, Mabel Jeffries, of Mays Landing. [ 5 ]Johnson & Mabel soon enrolled at New Jersey State Normal School ( now the College of New Jersey ) in Trenton, New Jersey, where he studied English literature. However, he later abandoned his studies in favor of his political career. [ 6 ] [ 7 ] [ tám ]

Rise lớn power[edit]

In 1909, Johnson was appointed bự the politically important position of Atlantic County Republican Executive committee secretary. [ một ] In 1911, local political trùm Louis Kuehnle, Johnson & several others were charged with corruption. Kuehnle was convicted & imprisoned, while Johnson was acquitted, allowing him lớn succeed Kuehnle as leader of the same organization, which effectively controlled the Republican-led Atlantic City và Atlantic County governments. [ 5 ] [ 9 ]Atlantic City was a tourist destination, và thành phố leaders knew that its success as a khu nghỉ dưỡng depended on providing visitors with what they wanted. What many tourists wanted was the opportunity béo drink, gamble, và visit prostitutes. City leaders realized that permitting a vice industry would give the đô thị an edge kết thúc its competitors. Therefore, the organization inherited by Johnson permitted the service of alcohol on Sundays ( which at the thời gian was prohibited by New Jersey law ), gambling, & prostitution, in exchange for the payment of protection money by vice industry operators mập the organization. [ 5 ] Support of the vice industry was mập continue & expand under Nucky Johnson’s rule, as would other forms of corruption, such as kickbacks on government contracts. [ bốn ] [ 5 ]In 1912, Johnson’s wife Mabel died. Reportedly, Johnson had previously been a teetotaler but began béo drink after her death. [ bốn ]Johnson held many jobs during his 30 – year rule : county treasurer, which allowed him béo control the county’s purse strings ; county collector ; publisher of a weekly newspaper ; ngân hàng director ; president of a building và loan company ; & director of a Philadelphia brewery. [ một ] [ 5 ] He declined requests that he run for the state senate, believing that it was beneath the dignity of a ” real trùm ” lớn stand for election. [ một ] [ 5 ] As the most powerful New Jersey Republican, Johnson was responsible for electing several governors & United States senators. [ bốn ]In 1916 Johnson served as chiến dịch manager for Republican candidate Walter E. Edge ‘ s successful run for governor. [ bốn ] In addition phệ raising money for Edge, who was then the state senator from Atlantic County, Johnson engineered Edge’s election by reaching out béo Democratic Hudson County trùm Frank Hague, who disliked the Democratic nominee, Otto Wittpenn. [ 5 ] Edge provided Hague with a pledge of cooperation, and Hague instructed people in his Democratic organization lớn cross kết thúc và vote for Edge in the Republican primary. [ 5 ] Hague did not tư vấn Wittpenn in the general election, and Edge was elected. [ 5 ] Edge rewarded Johnson by appointing him clerk of the State Supreme Court. [ 5 ]

Atlantic City during Prohibition[edit]

Johnson’s power reached its peak during Prohibition, which was enacted nationally in 1919 ( but did not go into effect until 1920 ) & lasted until 1933. Prohibition was effectively unenforced in Atlantic City, và, as a result, the resort’s popularity grew further. The đô thị then called itself ” The World’s Playground “. This was aided by Johnson who, with his influence và power in the đô thị, made sure that anyone who was serving alcohol, running a brothel, or managing a gambling den wasn’t bothered so long as Johnson got a cut of the money. In fact, most of Johnson’s income came from the percentage he took on every gallon of illegal liquor sold & on gambling và prostitution operations in Atlantic City. [ bốn ] Johnson once said :

We have whisky, wine, women, tuy nhiên và slot machines. I won’t deny it & I won’t apologize for it. If the majority of the people didn’t want them they wouldn’t be profitable và they would not exist. The fact that they bởi exist proves bự me that the people want them. [ bốn ]

Investigators charged that Johnson’s income from vice exceeded $ 500,000 a year ( equivalent mập kết thúc USD tám million in 2021 ). [ bốn ] He rode in a chauffeur-driven, $ 14,000 powder-blue limousine và wore expensive clothes, including a $ 1,200 raccoon coat. [ một ] His personal trademark was a red carnation, fresh daily, worn on his lapel. [ một ] At the height of his power, Johnson lived in a suite of rooms on the ninth floor of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, located on the Boardwalk. [ một ] The Ritz, which opened in 1921, was where Johnson hosted many lavish parties. [ 10 ] He was known as both ” the Czar of the Ritz ” & ” the Prisoner of the Ritz “. [ một ] He freely gave phệ those in need, và he was widely beloved by local citizens, among whom his benevolence & generosity were legendary. [ một ] Johnson once explained, ” When I lived well, everybody lived well “. [ bốn ]Since its founding, Atlantic City, lượt thích other summer resorts, had been burdened with a seasonal economy, & efforts béo promote tourism there during the colder months had not been successful. The không lấy phí availability of alcohol during Prohibition, however, made Atlantic City the nation’s premier location for holding conventions. [ 5 ] In an effort Khủng promote a year-round convention-supported economy, Johnson directed the construction of Atlantic City Convention Hall. [ 5 ] Work on Convention Hall began in 1926 và it opened in May 1929. [ 11 ] A 650 – by-350-foot ( 200 by 110 m ) structure, it was a state-of-the-art convention building và contained what was then the largest room in history with an unobstructed view. [ 5 ] [ 11 ]Under Nucky Johnson, Atlantic City was one of the leading ports for importing bootleg liquor [ 5 ] và, in 1927, he agreed lớn participate in a loose organization of other bootleggers và racketeers along the east coast, forming the Big Seven or Seven Group. He was the host of the Atlantic City Conference in 1929, a meeting of national organized crime leaders, including Al Capone. ( A well-known photograph purporting bự show Johnson và Capone walking xuống dốc the Boardwalk together during the conference is of doubtful authenticity. ) [ 12 ]Johnson had a Russian personal assistant và valet, Louis Kessel. [ 13 ]

Johnson’s top enforcer and powerful Fourth Ward boss was former Ritz-Carlton Hotel bellhop Jimmy Boyd. Johnson met Boyd around the time that he and Charlie Luciano were forming the Big Seven. When they met, Boyd and Johnson took an instant liking to each other and Johnson began grooming him to become the boss of his organization. By the late 1920s, Boyd was running every speakeasy, illegal casino, numbers racket, and brothel in the city.[citation needed]

Tax evasion charges[edit]

Nucky Johnson’s name was mentioned frequently in a series of articles about vice in Atlantic City published in 1930 by William Randolph Hearst’s New York Evening Journal.[1] According to some accounts, bad blood existed between Johnson and Hearst because Johnson had become too close to a showgirl who was Hearst’s steady date when he visited Atlantic City.[5] Johnson subsequently was the focus of increased scrutiny by the Federal government, allegedly as a result of Hearst’s lobbying of Roosevelt administration officials.[5]

In 1933 a property lien was filed against Johnson by the Federal government for additional taxes he owed on income earned in 1927. [ một ] 1933 also saw the repeal of Prohibition, which eliminated a major selling point for Atlantic City among tourists & conventioneers, as well as a source of income for Johnson và his political machine. [ 5 ] On May 10, 1939, Johnson was indicted for evading taxes on about $ 125,000 in income he received from numbers operators during 1935, 1936 & 1937. [ một ] [ 5 ] A two-week trial concluded in July 1941, and Johnson was convicted. He was sentenced lớn ten years in federal prison và fined $ 20,000. [ một ] On August một, 1941, Johnson, then 58 years old, married 33 – year-old Swedish American Florence ” Flossie ” Osbeck, a former showgirl from Philadelphia, béo whom he had been engaged for three years. [ một ] [ bốn ] [ 14 ] Ten days later, on August 11, 1941, Johnson entered Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. [ một ]Following Johnson’s 1941 conviction, Frank S. Farley succeeded him as the leader of Atlantic City’s political machine. [ 15 ]

Parole & prison release[edit]

Johnson was paroled on August 15, 1945, after four years in prison, & took a pauper’s oath mập avoid paying the $ 20,000 fine ( equivalent lớn $ 301,000 in 2021 ). [ bốn ]After his release from prison, Johnson lived with his wife và brother in a house owned by relatives of his wife on South Elberon Avenue, Atlantic City. [ một ] [ bốn ] There was speculation that he would seek elected office, but he không bao giờ did. [ một ] Instead, he worked in sales for the Richfield Oil Company, và, with his wife, for Renault Winery. [ một ] During these years, Johnson & his wife would sometimes attend local political dinners or rallies, where they would be seated at the head table. [ một ] He continued bự dress impeccably, including a red carnation on his lapel. [ một ] Johnson steadfastly supported Farley’s leadership, & in 1952, when the Farley organization faced a particularly strong election challenge, Johnson campaigned on his behalf in Atlantic City’s predominantly Đen Northside area, where Johnson remained popular. [ 5 ]


Enoch Johnson died on December 9, 1968, at the Atlantic County Convalescent Home in Northfield, New Jersey.[1] According to The Press of Atlantic City, Johnson “was born to rule: He had flair, flamboyance, was politically amoral and ruthless, and had an eidetic memory for faces and names, and a natural gift of command … [Johnson] had the reputation of being a trencherman, a hard drinker, a Herculean lover, an epicure, a sybaritic fancier of luxuries and all good things in life.” He died of natural causes in the Atlantic County Convalescent Home.[16]

In popular culture[edit]

Boardwalk Empire fictionalized the Prohibition era in Atlantic City. The series ran for five seasons, was produced by Martin Scorsese and Mark Wahlberg, and starred Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson.[17][18] Show creator Terence Winter elected to portray a fictionalized version of Johnson, to give the writers creative license with history, and to maintain suspense. One great difference between the real Johnson and the fictional Thompson is that the real Johnson is not known to have killed anyone personally, as the fictional Thompson does; there is also no evidence that Johnson ever ordered someone to be killed. Also, Thompson is portrayed as running his distillery for bootlegging and competing directly with real-life gangsters for distribution on the East Coast, whereas the real Johnson took a cut of all illegal alcohol sold in Atlantic City but was never known to engage in competition or turf wars. He has been described as running his empire “with a velvet hammer”.[19] Johnson did not remarry until 1941, long after his wife’s death in 1912; in the show, Thompson remarries in 1921. Thompson is Irish Catholic, while Johnson was a Methodist whose parents were from two of Atlantic County’s oldest families.[20]

The HBO television series is based on a chapter of the 2002 book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City, by Nelson Johnson (no relation).[21]

In Louis Malle’s 1980 film Atlantic City, aging gangster Lou (Burt Lancaster) mentions an incident involving Enoch L. Johnson.


Further reading[edit]

  • Hart, Steven. American Dictators: Frank Hague, Nucky Johnson, and the Perfection of the Urban Political Machine, New Brunswick, N.J. Rutgers University Press, 2013 ISBN 978-0813562131.
  • Johnson, Nelson. Boardwalk Empire, Medford, N.J., Plexus Publishing, 2002 ISBN 0-937548-49-9.

Post navigation

Leave a Comment

Trả lời

Email của bạn sẽ không được hiển thị công khai. Các trường bắt buộc được đánh dấu *