Ted Newberry, Alleged Green Mill Mob Boss


In the Prohibition Era, a mobster summoned a Chicago Daily Tribune reporter to sit down for a meeting one afternoon inside the Green Mill.

The reporter, James L. Doherty, didn’t write about this meeting when it happened. He waited three decades, finally telling the tale when he penned his reminiscences in 1951. That’s when he revealed the identity of the mobster—a man who seemed to be “one of the owners of the Green Mill,” as Doherty put it.

Ted Newberry. Chicago Daily Tribune, March 11, 1951.

“He was Ted Newberry, bootlegger, top hoodlum, fearless gunman,” Doherty wrote. “He was pleasant to some, vicious to others, a devil-may-care sort of fellow who wanted to get rich in a hurry, and was doing it. Newberry knew he was flirting with death. He intended to have a merry life, if a short one. He had both.”

According to Doherty’s story, this episode took place “early in 1920.” If that were correct, it would have been in the first months of the era when the U.S. Constitution’s 18th Amendment made it a crime to manufacture or sell alcohol. But it’s doubtful that Doherty correctly remembered the timing of when this incident happened—some of the details he mentioned indicate it must have been in 1925 or later. I believe it’s more likely this episode happened in late 1926 or early 1927.

James L. Doherty. Chicago Daily Tribune, February 4, 1951.

Doherty, who was 27 in 1920, had started working as a Tribune reporter in 1919, after he’d finished serving in the U.S. Army during World War I. Before that, he’d been as a deputy clerk in the juvenile and criminal courts. Doherty, who was single, lived in Logan Square with his parents, a grandmother, and five younger siblings.1 His father was a police lieutenant who occasionally appeared in news stories (he was a witness in the murder trial of Cora Orthwein, a story told in Chapter 25). And Doherty’s five brothers would all work for newspapers.

Doherty’s first beat for the Tribune was covering crime and police news on the city’s North Side.2 In the years that followed, he “covered virtually all of the prohibition era gang murders,” the Tribune noted when he died in 1961.3

The first article in Doherty’s series about Prohibition. Chicago Daily Tribune Grafic Magazine, February 4, 1951.

Looking back in 1951, Doherty mused: “I would have made a great bootlegger. Likewise, I would have made a good prohibition agent. … But I became a newspaper man. Prohibition, crime, corruption, drinking, hell-raising, and general lawlessness became my beat.”

He remembered the Roaring Twenties as “a wonderful era,” in spite of all the violence and corruption. “I enjoyed every minute of it, asleep and awake,” he wrote. “… the time was right for all of us in this glorious country to get the best out of life in those days. … There was adventure for those who wanted it, including beer enough for all the 110,000,000 population.”4 Doherty added: “But with prohibition came evils which I hope we will never see the like of again.”5

Doherty’s encounter with Ted Newberry was the result of a visit to the Green Mill several days earlier. Ernest Reul, the assistant manager at downtown’s Sherman Hotel, invited Doherty and Daniel J.F. Sullivan, the Tribune’s assistant city editor, to be his guests at the Green Mill. The Chicago Chronicle had once described Reul as a member of “The Order of the Glad Hand,” as the newspaper called the city’s genial, tactful, resourceful, and ever-patient hotel clerks.6

Doherty said he’d never visited the Green Mill before this, and neither had Sullivan. Doherty recalled that the Green Mill “had been a reputable and somewhat fashionable restaurant prior to prohibition.”

After they were shown to a table, the men ordered ginger ale and sparkling water—two pints of each—and ice cubes, expecting they’d get a bill for $5. (In 1921, another Tribune writer who visited Green Mill Gardens reported getting a $2.10 bill for two people—including a $1 cover charge, $1 for two glasses of ginger ale, and 10 cents in tax.7)

While some customers simply drank their soft drinks, others made cocktails with these “set-up” beverages. Sometimes they used their own liquor, bringing it into a restaurant or cabaret in hip flasks or bottles hidden in their pockets.

Reul stepped away from their table when he learned that some of his friends were elsewhere in the room. Despite Reul’s reputation as a gracious host, he abandoned his guests at their table. “When he didn’t come back after 20 minutes, Sullivan and I decided to leave,” Doherty recalled. “We asked for our bill. The head waiter presented us with a tab for $40!” Adjusted for inflation, that would be roughly $600 in today’s money! Perhaps Doherty was exaggerating just how big that tab was when he recalled this story three decades after it happened. But in any case, he and his editor received a much bigger bill than they’d expected.

“We knew, of course, that treatment of this kind was handed out to suckers in a lot of places,” Doherty wrote. “At first we merely protested mildly. But the head waiter insisted we were going to pay the entire $40. I told him I wasn’t going to be robbed. I’d fight my way out, if necessary. Dan Sullivan, smaller and quieter, was invited to go to talk it over with the manager.”

Daniel J.F. Sullivan. At left: Chicago Daily Tribune, October 30, 1921. At right: The photo that appeared in the Tribune with his obituary on January 12, 1938.

Sullivan, who was 37 in 1920, had been working in Chicago newspapers for two decades, following in the footsteps of father, who’d been an editorial writer. Sullivan was known for his encyclopedic knowledge of Napoleonic wars and other history, and his “hobbies” were serving in the Illinois National Guard and doing publicity work for the Democratic Party. (His bosses at the Tribune were apparently not troubled by this conflict of interest.)8

Sullivan persuaded the Green Mill’s manager to reduce the bill to $15, and he paid up. Although Doherty was still annoyed by the excessive charge, he prepared to leave with Sullivan.

“As we were about to walk out of the place, a police sergeant, whom I had known many years, walked up and told me I was under arrest,” Doherty recalled. “I couldn’t believe him at first. He said the management insisted on it. The sergeant was on the payroll of the night club and he had to obey the manager’s orders!

“I figured then I’d heard everything. Here we were, a couple of newspaper men, first played for suckers in the night club, and now being threatened with arrest because we refused to pay an unjust bill! The sergeant felt bad about it, for he knew he was in a spot, but by that time I wanted to be arrested. I wanted to find out who the big shot was who shook down his night club customers and then hired the police to help make it stick.”

The police arrested Doherty and locked him up in a cell at the Summerdale district police station. He then appeared in court before judge Herbert Immenhausen, who’d been his friend for many years. “The judge scolded the Green Mill management for having misused the processes of the court,” Doherty recalled. And then the judge let him go.

Doherty reached out to the federal authorities in charge of investigating prohibition crimes in Chicago. “I was still stormy about it,” he recalled “It was my ambition to close up the Green Mill, pronto, and tight, and forever.”

But the prohibition administrator was out of town. “And in a day or so my anger cooled,” Doherty said. “After all, it was my job to report the news, not make it.”

That’s when Doherty started hearing from Ted Newberry’s boys. “Newberry sent word that he wanted to talk to me,” Doherty wrote. “Reason: I had been arrested. Newberry seemed to consider himself responsible. For several days he sent emissaries to me—would I talk to him about it? It would be a big favor to him. …

“The callers were so persistent I guessed that probably Newberry would turn out to be one of the owners of the Green Mill, and one of the gangster powers in the north side region. The gang territorial lines were just beginning to take shape then. Newberry, then, was the real cause of my arrest. He was also likely to be in the news one way or another, dead or alive, for some time ahead. I felt I shouldn’t miss the opportunity to meet him.”

Doherty followed directions, going to the Green Mill one afternoon, when the place was almost empty. “There sat Newberry,” Doherty recalled. “He got up and came across the room, as friendly and eager as an insurance salesman who sees a good prospect.”

A close-up of Ted Newberry’s police mug shot, which is posted at My Al Capone Museum.

Newberry greeted the Tribune reporter by saying: “I gave them both a damn good beating. Maybe I should have shot ’em. Sorry it happened. I don’t want you to hold it against me.”

Doherty assumed Newberry was talking about the Green Mill’s head waiter and manager. “I had an uncomfortable feeling that if I wanted more vengeance he might still do it,” the reporter later recalled.

Doherty told Newberry he was forgetting the whole thing. Newberry grinned and handed the reporter a slip of paper. “If you ever need help, call this number,” he said. “You’ll get so much help you’ll never be able to figure where it came from. But it must be north of Madison Street.”

This was how Doherty learned that Madison Street was a dividing line between the territories controlled by Chicago’s various mobs. “So that was Newberry’s territory!” Doherty recalled thinking. “I was getting information in the days when that kind of information wasn’t known outside the mobs. And I didn’t want any more revenge.” When a lawyer for federal prohibition authorities called Doherty the next day, asking for the name of the place he’d been complaining about, Doherty said he’d changed his mind about ratting on the Green Mill. Forget about it, he said.9

Edward Montgomery Newberry—known as “Ted”—was born on June 28, 1898, in Plattsburgh, New York, but he grew up on Chicago.10 His father, John, was a restaurant manager, and Ted worked delivering groceries when he was a teenager. According to a Tribune story, Newberry was Jewish and he lived on the city’s Northwest Side during his childhood.11 However, the 1910 U.S. census shows Ted and his family living at 3751 South Indiana Avenue on the South Side.12 Like most young men of that time, Ted Newberry served in the military during World War I.13

By 1920, his family had moved to the North Side’s Lake View neighborhood. Ted was 23 years old in January 1920 when a census enumerator visited his family’s home (around the same time Doherty supposedly met him at the Green Mill). Ted was living with his parents and three siblings at 3656 North Pine Grove Avenue. According to the census, he was employed as a salesman for an auto shop. He also drove a taxicab.14

“It was said that when he entered the alcohol business, shortly after the advent of prohibition, the patrons on the grocery route were his first customers,” the Tribune later reported. “… Once established in the alky business, he showed a great talent for making friends. When Dion O’Banion was the north side power, Newberry kept his own territory.”15

“He was graduated in the beer-hustling racket following the passage of the Volstead act,” the Chicago Daily News wrote. “He allied himself with Dion O’Banion, ‘Bugs’ Moran and the north side gang and grew to be a power there.”16

According to Rose Keefe’s biography of Bugs Moran, Newberry acquired a “liquor franchise” from Dean O’Banion, the boss of the North Side mob, during the early part of the Prohibition Era. “He became an independent bootlegger, selling booze to customers on his old grocery route,” Keefe wrote. “He also worked as a cab driver and was a suspected ringleader in the ‘taxi cab wars’ that flared up periodically.”17

The Wigwam and the Green Mill are both pictured in this gallery from the 1930 book Chicago Gang Wars in Pictures: X Marks the Spot.

In later years, Newberry’s regular hangouts included the Wigwam, a cabaret at 3750 North Broadway,18 inside the Marigold Hotel building, which occupied the triangle where Broadway and Halsted Street meet just south of Grace Street.19 (The building is still there today.) It’s not clear exactly when the Wigwam opened; the earliest mention in the Tribune was in January 1929.20 “Fellow they called Ted was in the place often, and so was George Moran,” Wigwam manager Tony Scaler, alias Scartino, told investigators.21 Newberry also hung out at the Walton Club at 69 East Walton Place.22

James L. Doherty. in a photo that appeared with his obituary. Chicago Daily Tribune, December 25, 1961.

How credible is Doherty’s story about meeting Newberry at the Green Mill in 1920? For one thing, Doherty was highly respected as a reporter, lending credence to his reminiscences. When he died, the Tribune’s obituary observed: “It has been said that Mr. Doherty was intimately acquainted with more policemen and more political figures than any other man of his era.”23

But we should be at least a little bit skeptical of any story that’s told many years after the events took place. Did Doherty accurately remember everything that happened in 1920 when he wrote his reminiscences in 1951? It’s conceivable that he may not have precisely recalled everything.

The way Doherty described Newberry, he didn’t seem like a youngster just getting started on running a booze racket in the first weeks of the Prohibition Era. Would the 23-year-old criminal already have established so much power that he’d be effectively controlling the Green Mill?

But Doherty did say this encounter with Newberry was the time when he “met a big shot gangster for the first time”—indicating it was the very first time he’d met any gangster. That suggests it really was early during the Prohibition Era, before Doherty met other gangsters, including Al Capone. Doherty didn’t say precisely when he talked with Capone for the first time, but he saw him for the first time in 1924.24

E.C. Yellowley in a 1925 Chicago Daily News photo. DN-0079659, Chicago History Museum.

But there’s one big problem with the chronology of Doherty’s story: He recalled trying to report the incident to E.C. Yellowley, the “prohibition administrator assigned to this area,” whom he considered a friend.

Yellowley wasn’t actually put in charge of the Chicago prohibition enforcement office until September 1925—he famously held that position through the remainder of the Prohibition Era. Earlier, he’d served as the chief general agent of the Treasury Department’s alcohol tax division from 1921 to 1925, working out of New York City.25

Another detail of his story indicates that it must have happened later in the 1920s: The judge who released Doherty after his arrest was Herbert G. Immenhausen—who was elected as a municipal court judge for the first time in November 1924.26

Chicago Daily Tribune, November 26, 1924.

So, did Doherty actually meet Newberry at one of the nightclub’s later incarnations? The Montmartre Cafe, which operated in the former Green Mill Gardens space from July 1923 through May 1926? The New Green Mill Cafe (incorporated on September 16, 1926),27 Green Mill Gardens (incorporated January 18, 1928),28 or Ye Old Green Mill Café (incorporated on September 10, 1928),29 all of which were often called simply the Green Mill?

When Doherty wrote that “neither Sullivan nor I had been to the Green Mill before,” was he thinking of these late 1920s incarnations of the club rather than the Green Mill Gardens of the early 1920s?

My best guess is that Doherty jumbled together some details in his memory. The likeliest time for this episode is late 1926 or early 1927, the first months after Danny Cohen opened the New Green Mill Cafe. That was just after the Capone’s gang and the North Side mob had negotiated a truce, using Madison Street as the dividing line between the territories where they would control the distribution of beer. In that context, it makes sense that Doherty would have excited to hear Newberry mentioning the Madison Street boundary.

Doherty’s article about Ted Newberry. Chicago Daily Tribune Grafic Magazine, March 11, 1951.

Doherty said he continued talking with Newberry in the years after this first encounter, which adds some credence to the idea that Doherty knew what he was talking about when he asserted that Newberry was the Green Mill’s true boss. After he met with Newberry at the Green Mill, he kept tabs on the gangster, later admitting that he become “clubby” with the criminal.30

We don’t know exactly what Doherty learned from Newberry in all of their various encounters and conversations over the years. But if Doherty believed that Newberry controlled the Green Mill, it’s possible that he learned other information confirming his suspicions about that. In any case, after years after talking with Newberry and reporting about him, Doherty concluded that he was the Green Mill’s boss.

In another article, Doherty asserted that the Green Mill was “owned by Ted Newberry” in 1930, years after their first meeting.31 Did Newberry actually “own” the Green Mill throughout that entire era, as it went through several changes in ownership and management as well as changes in the club’s name? Newberry’s name does not appear anywhere in the Green Mill’s property records or corporation documents. Nor do the names of other mobsters who reputedly had some ownership in the joint, Jack McGurn and Al Capone.

That’s not exactly surprising, of course. If any mobsters had some sort of ownership stake in the Green Mill, you wouldn’t expect them to put such information on any official documents. It’s more plausible that they would work out some sort of arrangement—collecting a cut of profits in exchange for supplying alcohol or protection, for example.

But there was at least one reputed mobster listed in corporation documents for the New Green Mill Cafe—Leonard Boltz, who was reportedly a member of Matt Kolb’s Cowboys gang on the Northwest Side.32 Did Boltz have any connection with Newberry? That’s unknown, but they were both known for operating on the city’s Northwest Side.

Although there’s a persistent legend that McGurn and possibly Capone himself had some sort of ownership in the Green Mill, Doherty said nothing about that in his 1951 series of reminiscences, which included two articles about the Green Mill and two articles focusing on Capone. He surely must have been aware of the McGurn legend (which sprang out of the attack on entertainer Joe Lewis), but he apparently didn’t think it was worth mentioning.

Doherty was confident that Ted Newberry was the true gangster behind the Green Mill. “Newberry continued his swaggering way, selling liquor, making money, hi-jacking, and generally getting into trouble with other racket mobs,” Doherty wrote. “Now and then when I was trying to check some theories on a gang shooting, I’d reach Newberry. He didn’t give out information, but he did indicate whether I was right or wrong.”33

Doherty remarked: “Ted was a likable chap who believed in having a good time every day because tomorrow he might be dead—and soon he was.”34



1 1920 U.S. Census, Illinois, Cook (Chicago), Chicago Ward 27, Enumeration District 1684, sheet 2A; U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Ancestry.com.

2 James Doherty, “I Remember Prohibition: Booze, Bootleggers, and Bullets,” Chicago Daily Tribune, February 4, 1951, Grafic Magazine, 2–3.

3 “James L. Doherty, Veteran Reporter, Dies at Age 69,” Chicago Daily Tribune, December 25, 1961, 12.

4 Doherty, “I Remember Prohibition.”

5 James Doherty, “Portrait of a Gangster,” Chicago Daily Tribune, March 11, 1951, Grafic Magazine, 6-7, 10.

6 “Order of the Glad Hand,” Chicago Chronicle, September 5, 1897, 36.

7 Martha, “Add Ghosts of Booze to Price of Soft Drinks,” Chicago Daily Tribune, October 5, 1921, 19.

8 U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 for Daniel James Florence Sullivan, Ancestry.com; Advertisement, Chicago Daily Tribune, October 30, 1921, rotogravure section, 4; “Dan Sullivan Is Dead; Adviser to Gov. Horner,” Chicago Daily Tribune, January 12, 1938, 23.

9 James Doherty, “Portrait of a Gangster,” Chicago Daily Tribune, March 11, 1951, Grafic Magazine, 6-7, 10.

10 Indiana State Board of Health, death certificate, at Ancestry.com.

11 1920 U.S. Census, Illinois, Cook (Chicago), Chicago Ward 25, Enumeration District 1493, Sheet 6A, Ancestry.com.

12 1910 U.S. Census, Illinois, Cook, Chicago Ward 3, Enumeration District 0236, sheet 4A, Ancestry.com.

13 U.S., Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917-1940, Ancestry.com.

14 1920 U.S. Census.

15 “Ted Newberry Taken on Gang Ride and Slain,” Chicago Daily Tribune, January 8, 1933, pp. 1, 14.

16 “Ted Newberry Found Slain,” Chicago Daily News, January 7, 1933, pp. 1, 4.

17 Rose Keefe, The Man Who Got Away: The Bugs Moran Story: A Biography (Nashville, TN: Cumberland House, 2005), 208.

18 “Bootleg Circles Skeptical About Albin as Gunman,” Chicago Daily Tribune, December 3, 1929, 17.

19 Advertisement, Chicago Daily Tribune, September 21, 1924, part 11, 8.

20 “Sheridan Body to Give Dinner for W.W. Haupt,” Chicago Daily Tribune, January 20, 1929, N3.

21 “Names Zuta Slayer; Gang’s Fight After Lingle Bared: Tony Scaler Tells How Thugs Left City in Terror,” (Chicago) Daily Times, August 7, 1930, 2, 4.

22 “Violence Stains Rural Bohemia’s 10 Year History,” Chicago Daily Tribune, March 26, 1935, 3.

23 “James L. Doherty, Veteran Reporter, Dies at Age 69,” Chicago Daily Tribune, December 25, 1961, 12.

24 James Doherty, “Al Capone King of the Hoodlums,” Chicago Daily Tribune, April 1, 1951, Grafic Magazine, 6–7, 19.

25 “Yellowley, Dry Ace, to Wield Chicago Mop,” Chicago Daily Tribune, September 5, 1925, 1; “E.C. Yellowley, 88, Ex-U.S. Agent, Dies,” New York Times, February 9, 1962, 27, https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1962/02/09/89500431.html?pageNumber=27.

26 “Six New Judges of the Municipal Court Are Sworn In,” Chicago Daily Tribune, November 26, 1924, 3.

27 New Green Mill Cafe Inc. corporation papers, Secretary of State (Corporations Division): Dissolved Domestic Corporation Charters, 103/112, Illinois State Archives, Springfield.

28 Green Mill Gardens Inc. (1928) corporation papers,

29 Ye Old Green Mill Inc. corporation papers.

30 Doherty, “I Remember Prohibition.”

31 James Doherty, “Texas Guinan, Queen of Whoopee!” Chicago Daily Tribune, March 4, 1951, Grafic Magazine, 4–5.

32 New Green Mill Cafe Inc. corporation papers; “Meet Leonard Boltz, ‘Labor Consultant,’” Chicago Daily News, August 17, 1957, 20; “Zuta’s Records Reveal Kalb as Gaming Partner,” Chicago Daily Tribune, August 25, 1930, 9.

33 Doherty, “Portrait of a Gangster.”

34 Doherty, “I Remember Prohibition.”