“If I didn’t know your mother I’d end you,” was “Wild” Bill Lovett’s threat to a pal who tested his patience. As leader of the group of Brooklyn waterfront thugs known as the White Hand gang in the early years of the Roaring ‘20’s, “Wild” Bill chalked up a number of murders before he himself was put on the spot in dock side shanty. Lovett’s domain was the area in Brooklyn between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges known at the time as “Irish Town”. Originally the leader of what was called the Jay St. gang, Wild Bill was touted as leader of the White Handers after the 1920 murder of Dennis Meehan.
In 1923 Lovett fell in love and married Anna Lonergan, sister of his gang mate Richard “Peg leg” Lonergan. Domesticity had an effect on the killer and he moved with his bride to the suburbs of New Jersey vowing to go straight. The straight and narrow was a path “Wild” Bill couldn’t follow. After a few months he ventured back to his old haunts to meet his fate. During the second night of a two day drunk his enemies tailed him to small shanty where he had flopped for the evening to sleep off his drunk. “Wild” Bill took his rightful place on the roster of White Hand dead in the wee hours of November 1, 1923 when two men slipped into the shack. Once inside, one of the men beat him over the head with a blunt instrument while the other shot him in the neck.