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 Michael Cassius McDonald

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Michael Cassius McDonald

Irish Gangster. McDonald began his career as a gambler and used his winnings to open his own gaming parlors and saloons around Chicago. As his wealth grew so did his political power. McDonald eventually became leader of the Chicago Democratic Organization. McDonald became so powerful in fact that on his endorsement alone he could get men elected to high political office. In 1873 McDonald built "The Store" a large four-story saloon, boarding house, and gaming hall. The Store was dubbed "the unofficial City Hall" because much of the city's business was conducted on it's upper floors. A famous phrase, believed to have first been said by legendary circus man P.T. Barnum or Barnum's competitor, banker David Hannum, was allegedly attributed to McDonald. When an employee asked McDonald how they would ever keep The Store filled to turn a profit, McDonald allegedly responded "Don't worry about that. There's a sucker born every minute". The phrase "Never give a sucker an even break" was also credited to McDonald. McDonald was married twice, first to Mary Noonan, then to Dora Feldman. Mike renounced his Catholic faith and divorced Mary to marry Dora. At the age of thirty-two Dora fell in love with a 14-year old artist named Webster Guerin whom she was insanely jealous over. Dora became livid when she mistook Avis Dargan, the fiancee of Webster's brother Archie, as one of Webster's girlfriends. On the morning of February 21, 1907 Dora crept into Webster's studio and shot him through the neck killing him. During Dora's trial "King Mike" McDonald died of heart failure, but left enough money to cover his wife's expenses and court costs. Dora was aquitted on February 11, 1908. On his deathbed McDonald reclaimed his Catholic faith and proclaimed Mary as his only wife in the eyes of God. Mary and two of McDonald's sons from his first marriage later joined Mike in the family mausoleum in Mount Olivet cemetery. Dora was excluded.

Bio by: Bobby Hart


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobby Hart
  • Added: 8 Apr 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10741444
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Michael Cassius McDonald (2 Sep 1839–8 Aug 1907), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10741444, citing Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .