Cornell Square Rebels and Spartans Gangs
CORNELL SQUARE REBELS - 1950s:
Starting out as the Rebels Social and Athletic Club, the Rebels became very street active and made the newspapers numerous times for about ten years in the 1950s. Their turf was the area that would later be controlled by the 55th and Ashland Gaylords and the Cornell Square Dukes in the sixties and seventies. The Rebels headquarters was the candy store on the corner of 51st Street and Wolcott Avenue across the street from Cornell Square Park. Their rivals were the Sons of Italy, Sons of Chinatown, and the Cavaliers. In 1956, a group of Rebels were arrested for a shooting death which was the result of a fight between the Rebels and the Sons of Italy, Sons of Chinatown, and the Cavaliers. In 1957, some Rebels were arrested for the beating death of an honor student waiting for a bus at 59th and Kedzie. Some more Rebels were arrested in 1958 at the scene of a gang fight between two girl gangs ? the Greeks and the Stiffettos. The Rebels lost a lot of guys in each arrest, but were dealt a final blow when a group of Rebels beat up two Chicago Police Officers at a South Side bowling alley. The CPD Officers stated in the article that the girlfriends of the Rebels cheered the guys on as they attacked the officers. After the arrests from that incident, the Rebels were a shell of what they once were ? one of the most notorious South Side gangs.
The Cavaliers clubhouse was in the building on the NE corner of 49th Pl. & Laflin.
Neighborhood guy recalls the White murder:
The guys from Cornell somehow got into a small beef with the 51st Street bunch, so they made a deal: each group would take their toughest, meanest guy and fight the others of same. The guy from 51st was a guy by the name of Dickey. They decided to do this at Cornell. The guys from 51st piled into about 4 or 5 cars and drove there to do the fight. Dickey, from what I was told by Joey who got it from his older brother, really hit this guy and down he went. That's when this very large Cornell group started walking closer and chains and bats became visible. Another guy came at Dickey and down he went so then things became ugly. You must understand, Dickey was about 6'3", 275 and built like a brick wall. As a large group of the Cornell bunch started charging, Kruse pulled out some small caliber gun and just started shooting. One bullet hit Whitey and I was told another guy was shot also. Needless to say Kruise went to prison, I don't know for how long. It was kind of a sober thing in the neighborhood, a very bad decision from a guy who was a really good person from a good family. I guess stuff like that can happen when you get scared
Red jackets and cream/white stripes at the shoulders sleeves and cream /white sleeves.
A former Cornell Square Rebel had this to say about his club:
The rebels started from a gang that hung around St. Michaels at 48th & Damen. The Spartans hung around 48th & Hermitage and all began to hang with the rebels at the park. Many young guys were attracted by the media attention and the gang grew to hundreds coming from different areas of the city. I was there when White got shot with my girlfriend parked at the curb. Eddy also was shot but wasn't killed. This was after they attacked a pool hall hang out at Halstead & Taylor an Italian hang out. There was no official membership or roll but a loose organization. Years later most of the gang now adult hung out at 50th and Oakley a tavern owned by one of the old gang members.
Hung out at 49th and Loomis and Cornell Square Park. The Muscaddulers were started around 1964 at Cornell park. They wore the linings from leather jackets and had a patch of a wine bottle with legs and arms on it. The Cornell Dukes came after the Muscaddulers. The Muscaddulers could be seen hanging out around the Cornell Park Rec Center. They came after the Cornell Square Rebels gang from the fifties.
51st and Wolcott Rebels Spike's Candy Store
Cornell Square Spikes Candy Store - Fifty-First and Walcott - Where the Rebels hung out in the 1950s. It was owned by the Perun family.
Click image to enlarge
SPARTANS: 48th & Hermitage
Ex-Spartan had this to say:I remember talk amongst the Spartan leadership circa 1955 that we might join forces with the Sons of Italy. They were from an area west of Ashland around 67th St. That was to oppose the Rebels as they were our rivals. That never happened, instead we merged with the Rebels sometime in early 1956. I moved away that summer, that probably was a blessing in disguise for me. Later that same year some of my Spartan buddies got in a world of trouble. Eddie was shot (survived) Warren White was killed in Cornell Square by a nut trying to make a name for himself by taking down Rebels. Several others did time for the "hammer slaying". The merge with the Rebels was not a good thing for the Spartans. Regrettable to say the least.
At least 3 of the arrested in the "Hammer Slaying" had been Spartans. I knew these three very well. They all did time. The one I was closest to did 9 yrs at Pontiac. His family lost their home raising money to defend him, to no avail. Others who had more resources actually got less time. Imagine that?? Even back then money talked the loudest and was heard by those who could be bought in the "justice" system. Some things never change.
Black jackets with a white shoulder band.
DEMONS: early 60s
The Muskadoodlers were started at Cornell Park in the early 60s and a lot of them guys were in the army and in Vietnam when the younger guys took over. The Muskadoodlers became a big club with members all over Back Of The Yards. After the Muskadoodlers broke up some of the guys became Cherry Busters & some became Demons. The Demons (1965-1969) were prior to the Gaylords and the Cornell Dukes. They hung out at 49th Street and Sherman Park. Their main rivals were the Saints..
Cornell Square gangs: 60s
The Rebels were first at Cornell Park then came the Muskadoodlers and then the Cornell Dukes. The Cherry Busters hung around at Hedges School a couple of them use to be Muskadoodlers before they broke up.The Cherry Busters were a gang before the Cornell Dukes got started.
The Junior Rebels hung out at Pan American Billiards on Ashland near 46th Street.
The Dukes wore gray and black sweaters. They were a pretty large gang from the 1968 to mid 70's. Their turf was 4700 South to 5100 South, and Ashland west to the Railroad tracks at 2200 west. The Cornell Dukes came after the Muscaddulers.
Demographics of Back of the Yards:
CORNELL SQUARE SAINTS: early 60's
They hung out near the swings in the park in the early 1960's. Most of the kids went to LindBloom High School.