|Birth: ||Jul., 1872|
|Death: ||Jan. 23, 1907|
St. Louis County
William "Willie" Gagel was born July, 1872 in Michigan, the son of Nicholas Gagel, a basket maker originally from Bavaria Germany. His father Nicholas, before marrying, joined the 22nd Connecticut Infantry after the outbreak of the Civil War and served faithfully for over a year. After Nicholas was honorably discharged, he moved to Michigan where he married a woman from Scotland and had two sons one of which was Willie. When his two sons were young, Nicholas moved his family to St. Louis. Nicholas and his wife had a third son in St. Louis.
Willie was a member of St. Louis Bottom's Gang. The Bottoms Gang was an American street gang that terrorized St. Louis, Missouri in the early 20th century. Their main criminal activities included voter intimidation, armed robbery, assault, illegal lottery, and murder. The number-one enemy of the Bottoms Gang was the larger, more powerful Egan's Rats gang.
On July 13, 1892 Willie was convicted of Grand Larceny and served 2 years, 3 months and was released October 13, 1894. On April 30, 1897 he was convicted of 2nd Degree Murder for the death of Jerry Caples which occurred in a bar room brawl. He served his time at the Missouri State Penitentiary (1900 US Census).
On December 25, 1906, Missouri Gov. Folk gave Willie a Holiday Pardon and he was discharged from prison.
On the night of January 15, 1907, three weeks after being discharged from prison, Tom Egan shot Willie Gagel, his longtime enemy, in the Jolly Five Club. While his men were booked at the police station, the desk sergeant snarled that they were all a bunch of "rats", thereby giving the Egan Gang their famous moniker. Willie lingered in the hospital with a gunshot wound to his stomach until he died on January, 23, 1907, refusing to name the person who shot him. Willie was buried in St. Matthew's Cemetery on January 25, 1907. Egan was charged with Willie's death but was aquitted. Egan was soon confronted by one of his top men, James "Kid" Wilson, whom he suspected was having an affair with his wife Nellie. Egan shot Wilson dead on October 22, 1907 and was eventually acquitted.
According to St. Matthew's records, Willie is buried in Block 1, Grave 318. There was/is no headstone or marker which I don't know if his father, Nicholas Gagel, couldn't afford one (he handled Willie's funeral) or, because the nature of Willie's death - a gang murder, he kept his grave unmarked for secrecy.
Nicholas Gagel (____ - 1912)
Saint Matthew Cemetery
St. Louis City
Plot: Block 1, Grave 31
Created by: A Weers
Record added: Apr 19, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 68634628
Melvin F. Weiss
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