MADDEN (FAMOUS), OWEN VINCENT "OWNEY" - Garland County, Arkansas | OWEN VINCENT "OWNEY" MADDEN (FAMOUS) - Arkansas Gravestone Photos

Owen Vincent "Owney" MADDEN (FAMOUS)

Greenwood Cemetery
Garland County,

25 December 1891 – 24 April 1965

Owen Vincent “Owney” Madden was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England (East Leeds, St. Peter Parish), and died in Hot Springs, Garland County, AR. His parent’s were Francis (b.c. 1868) and Mary (b.c. 1869) Madden. They were both born in Ireland. Mary Madden immigrated to New York on the RMS Oceanic on January 24, 1901, lived with her widowed sister, and earned passage for her children. Martin, Owen, and Marie immigrated to New York on the SS Teutonic on June 12, 1902. Missing was their sister, Bride (1891 Leeds census), who must have died young. After immigrating, Owen soon joined the Gopher Gang, a violent gang based out of the Irish neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen that grew to control most of Manhattan. In his teen years, Owney quickly earned the title “the killer” and was suspected in the deaths of five rival gang members, but no witnesses came forward. In 1911, Madden married and briefly lived with Dorothy Rogers, with whom he had a daughter named Margaret, his only known child. In 1912 Owney was ambushed by a rival gang and shot eleven times. Though he would not identify the attackers to the police, within a week of his recovery several members of the Dusters had been killed. In 1915, he was sentenced to Sing-Sing Prison in Ossining, New York, for manslaughter, and he was paroled in early 1923. His World War I Draft Registration (1917) shows him in Auburn Prison, Auburn, New York, age 24, born Dec 24, 1892, in Leeds. In 1923 he purchased the Cotton Club, in Harlem, from former Heavyweight Boxing Champion Jack Johnson. The Cotton Club, which became the a showcase for black musical talent performing for white patrons in the Jazz Age. Since Prohibition was in effect, it also gave Owney opportunity to sell bootlegged liquor. He was involved in bootlegging and racketeering, and he also managed several boxers. In 1932 he as involved in the murder of Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll, arrested for probation violations. On July 7, 1932, Madden was sent back to Sing-Sing for parole violations. In 1933, he was released, and Prohibition was repealed late that year. In 1935 he left New York and settled in Hot Springs, AR. There he opened the Hotel Arkansas, which became a hideout for gangsters, and he became involved in criminal activities, including gambling. On December 26, 1935, Owen V. Madden married Florence A. (Agnes) Demby, in Grant County, AR. She was the daughter of James P. and Agnes Demby. James was a postmaster in Hot Springs. In 1943 he became a naturalized citizen, when threatened with deportation. Before that he refused to become a citizen which would require him to give up his English passport. He lived in Hot Springs, with his wife Agnes, until his death in 1965. Though many records state that he was born on December 18, 1891, his Draft Registrations for World War I and II indicate he was born on December 24 and December 25, 1892 respectively, and his gravestone indicates December 25, 1891.

Ref: (accessed October 13, 2008)
Ref: (accessed October 13, 2008), Historical Records (accessed October 13, 2008)

Photograph courtesy of Patti Hays.

Contributed on 10/2/08 by mitzibitzi2
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Record #: 70461

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Submitted: 10/2/08 • Approved: 7/9/23 • Last Updated: 7/12/23 • R70461-G70461-S3

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