The Bookie

My father had an uncle, Arthur Manfroid, who owned a tavern in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.  My father claimed Arthur was involved with the syndicate (mob) in Chicago.  I remember my father saying that as long as Arthur didn’t cross them (the mob) he was OK.  I think that the mob may have financed his tavern and they probably owned the slot machines.  I was a kid when I heard my father talking about Arthur so I don’t remember all the details.

One time we went into Chicago to look at used cars and my father said that Arthur’s tavern was nearby consequently we stopped in at his tavern. While my parents had a beer or two, I had a coke and free snacks. 

Another time we took my great-grandmother to a shoe store in Chicago.  She was in an accident many years before that left her with one leg shorter than the other one.  She had to go to a special shoe store that built up the sole of the one shoe for her short leg.  Afterwards, she wanted to go see her son, Arthur, and by this time he was married to his second wife Josephine.  I remember there was a long flight of stairs up to their apartment, and Josephine stood at the top, while my parents helped grandma up the stairs.  I only saw Arthur and Josephine a few times and it was long ago, therefore I barely remember them.

Arthur Anton Manfroid arrived on 5 January 1901 to George I. Manfroid and Mary Fiderius.[1]  He joined his 4 siblings in their Chicago home.[2]  His father was an iron moulder while his mother kept house and raised the children.[3] Two-and-half months after Arthur was born, his brother, Isidor, died of a pneumonia at two years old.[4]  A few years later, two more boys were added to the family.  The last one born in 1907.[5]

Somewhere between 1907 when the last child was born[6] and 1910,[7] Arthur’s parents divorced.  In 1910 Arthur is found living at the St. Mary’s Training School for Boys in Des Plaines, Illinois.[8]  St. Mary’s Training school for boys housed orphans left without means of support by the death of one or both parents, and children whose parents were unable to give them the necessities of life.[9]   Arthur’s younger brother Theodore is found in 1910 living at St. Vincent’s Infant Asylum (orphanage) in Chicago, Illinois.[10]  Apparently, Mary was unable to support her two youngest children after the divorce.  There was no back up for single mothers in those days.   The father was not required to pay child support and there was no assistance from the government. It was through the charity of the Catholic Church that Mary was able to find help.  In 1911 Mary married Adam Beischer,[11] and I assume sometime after her marriage to Adam she was able to be reunited with Arthur and Theodore.   In 1920 both Arthur and Theodore are living with Mary and their step-father Adam.[12] 

Arthur had a car accident on September 27, 1923 in borrowed car.  The newspaper account reads as follows:

“Anton Manfroid, a young man living at 148 Lathrop Avenue, and until recently employed in the Ed Roos Factory, driving Clarence Troost’s car in Madison Street near Ferdinand Avenue, Thursday evening, struck and seriously injured William Kreino 510 Ferdinand Avenue, a truck driver for Standard Oil Company, was walking across the street.  Manfroid had borrowed the car a few minutes before the accident happened.  After Kreino was taken to Oak Park Hospital, Manfroid drove himself to police station and gave himself up.”[13]

William Kreino survived the accident and died in 1950.[14]  The car owner Clarence Troost was involved with local politics in Forest Park, Illinois.[15]  I was curious about the Ed Roos Factory and thought it might give me some insight to Arthur’s occupation in 1923.

The Roos Manufacturing Co. of Chicago was established in 1871 by Edward Roos, who died in 1906 when two sons Edward and Otto took over the business.  In 1916. Edward split with his brother and started his own company, which made cedar chests.  The Ed Roos Building at 7329 Harrison in Forest Park, Illinois opened 1918 and hit its peak in the 1930’s.  The company used 3 million feet of cedar per year and produced 200 chests per day.” [16]  

Unfortunately, I still don’t know what position he might have held at this factory.

On 28 September 1929 Arthur married Isabelle Kiniec.[17]  Arthur worked as a book maker (bookie) for a sports restaurant and Isabelle worked as a telephone operator.[18]  They lived at 6256 Wabansia Ave., Chicago, Illinois.[19]  In 1942, Arthur’s draft card lists his employment as the Kildare Club at 1550 N. Kildare, Chicago, Illinois and his employer’s name as Joe Nicholson.[20]  I found a matchbook for sale on Ebay with horses racing on the cover.  It lists the address as 1550 N. Kildare at Grand and North Kildare.[21]  I’m sure it was a place where people bet on horses.

I believe that it was during the 1930’s and early 1940’s that Arthur worked as a bookie, probably at the Kildare Club and maybe other places too. 

“The Torrio-Capone organization expanded its limited gambling operations, especially after Prohibition. Mobsters took over the slot machine business. In the 1940s, the mob forcibly took over the racing wire service, and some policy operations as well, though it never achieved total dominance. Mob gambling reached Chicago HeightsBrookfieldGlenview, and other suburbs by 1940. In 1959, the Chicago Tribune reported that 10,000 employees worked at 1,000 gambling establishments in Cook County. Postwar Chicago gangsters profited from gambling in many other cities.”[22]

Arthur was short at 5’4” and weighed 120 lbs., and he is described as having a ruddy complexion and gray eyes.[23]

I have often wondered why Arthur chose book making as a way to make a living.  I wondered if his early life in a boy’s school and being separated from his mother and siblings affected him.  The other brother that was in St. Vincent’s Infant asylum had many problems.  The older boys who were probably working by the time the parents divorced seemed to lead more normal lives.  It appears the Arthur was able to stay out of trouble with the law and the mob.  His name did not come up in any of my searches through newspapers except for the accident he had in 1923. 

I don’t know what happened to his first wife Isabelle. Arthur never had any children with either wife. Arthur passed away on 19 August 1967 in Chicago, Illinois[24] and is buried at Chapel Hill Cemetery in Oak Brook Terrace, Illinois.[25] His wife, Josephine, passed away many years later on 10 June 1992 in Virginia.[26]


[1] Birth Certificate for Arthur Anton Manfroid, 5 January 1901, Registration number 72637, State of Illinois, Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, Springfield, Illinois.

[2] 1900; Census Place: Chicago Ward 10, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T623 256; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 293.  Original data – United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623,

[3] Ibid.

[4] Death Certificate for Isidor Manfroid, 22 March 1901, Registration No. 12247, Department of Health, City of Chicago, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Chicago, Cook, Illinois.

[5] “Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records, 1833-1925.” Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 6 April 2021. Catholic Church parishes, Chicago Diocese, Chicago.

[6] “Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records, 1833-1925.” Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 6 April 2021. Catholic Church parishes, Chicago Diocese, Chicago.

[7] Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.  Original data: Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA

[8] Ibid

[9] Maryville History https://www.maryvilleacademy.org/about/our-history/

[10] Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.  Original data: Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA

[11] Oak Park Oak Leaves (Oak Park, Illinois) 17 May 1962, p. 76, “Adam Beischer dies from stroke: Services held Friday”, location Newspapers.com.

[12] 1920; Census Place: Forest Park, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T625_362; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 185

[13] Forest Leaves (Forest Park, Illinois) 3 October 1923, p.12, “Borrowed car hits man”.  Location Google Books.

[14] Chicago Tribune, (Chicago, Illinois), 21 December 1950, P. 18, Obituary for William Kreino.  Location Newspapers.com.

[15] Forest Park Review, (Forest Park, Cook, Illinois), 3 March 1923, p. 4.

[16] From website: Chicagogeek https://chicagogeek.tumblr.com/post/60752283932/the-roos-manufacturing-co-of-chicago-was

[17] National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21

[18] 1940; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00994; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 103-2256

[19] Ibid.

[20] The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Illinois, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1117

[21] From Ebay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/KILDARE-CLUB-1550-North-Kildare-Avenue-Chicago-IL-1940s-Front-Strike-Matchbook-/251236281701

[22] From Website Chicago History: http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/496.html

[23] The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Illinois, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1117

[24] Cook County, Illinois Death Index, 1908-1988.  Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.Original data – Cook County Clerk. Cook County Clerk Genealogy Records. Cook County Clerk’s Office, Chicago, IL: Cook County Clerk, 2008.Original data: Cook County Clerk.

[25] Chicago Tribune, (Chicago, cook, Illinois), 21 August 1967, P. 6, Obituary for Arthur A. Manfroid. Location: Newspapers.com.

[26] Virginia Department of Health; Richmond, Virginia; Virginia Deaths, 1912-2014:  Source Information

Ancestry.com. Virginia, U.S., Death Records, 1912-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.  Original data: Virginia, Deaths, 1912–2014. Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia.

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