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Gypsy Journal RV: Bootlegger or Robin Hood?

Gypsy Journal RV: Bootlegger or Robin Hood?

WASHINGTON — Depending on who you talk to, Roaring Twenties gangster Charlie Birger was either a cold blooded killer who made a fortune with bootleg whiskey, gambling, and prostitutes, or a kind and benevolent gentleman who supplied his poor neighbors with coal to keep their families warm in the winter and food to keep them fed. In reality, this Illinois outlaw was both.

Born Shachnai Itzik Birger, the son of Jewish Russian immigrants, Charlie Birger sold newspapers on the streets of St. Louis as a boy, later on serving with the 13th U.S. Cavalry in the Spanish American War, and working as a cowboy out west before he showed up in Illinois and began to make a name for himself as a gambler, pimp, and bootlegger.

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About Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Smith is a Wisconsin native currently living in Illinois with her husband, Eric, and two dogs, Maggie and Grace. She enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking and, of course, camping in cabins and park models.

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