Vito Guardalabene (Left)

Vito Guardalabene (born Aug 26 1845- died February 6, 1921) was a Sicilian mafioso and the founder of the Milwaukee crime family.


Guardalabene was born in 1845 in Sant' Elia, Valli di Palermo, Sicily. He was allegedly made a mafioso in his native Sicily and was married on 14 Dec 1878, Sant' Elia, Province of Palermo to a woman by the name of Giuseppa Alioto (she is believed to have been related to another future Milwaukee crime boss John Alioto, who ruled the Milwaukee mob from 1952-1961). Guardalabene and his wife later immigrated to the US and settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and had five children together Antonina, Giuseppa, Giuseppe, Giovanni Battista and Pietro Guardalabene. In Milwaukee, Guardalabene became a successful banker and was known as "The King of Little Italy" in the 1900s. Guardalabene was also a powerful figure in politics in Milwaukee's Third Ward.

Guardalabene went onto to found and become the first known crime boss of the Milwaukee La Cosa Nostra family which still exists until this day. His criminal organization is thought to have existed as a branch of the Chicago Outfit. Guardalabene would rule as crime lord from 1918 until his death on February 6, 1921 from natural causes. Vito Guardalabene's son, Peter, would pick up the reigns and rule until 1927.

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