You never hear anything bad about the Welsh. In fact, you rarely hear anything about the Welsh at all. Which is why it’s more than a bit surprising to learn that one of Chicago’s most notorious gangsters, Murray “The Camel” Humphreys, was actually a Welshman.
Of course, Red Lion, 4749 N. Rockwell St., co-owner Joe Heinan knows all about Humphreys, also known as “The Hump.” “My great uncle was arrested with Murray,” Heinan reveals.
Born Llewelyn Morris Humphreys (a name all but begging to be changed by anyone looking to be taken seriously as a goon), the Hump/Camel was the chief political and labor racketeer for the Chicago mob during Prohibition. With Al Capone jailed on a tax evasion conviction, Humphreys, thought to have been involved in the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, for a time became public enemy No. 1. Considered both ruthless and clever, he essentially created the concept of money laundering, he’s often credited with coining Chicago’s “vote early and vote often” phrase.
Heinan’s link to Humphreys caught the attention of Dafydd Wigley, a former leading Welsh politician who’s working on a documentary about Welsh gangsters, and just so happens to be Humphreys’ nephew. Wigley plans to interview Heinan for the film, and also stick around for a special pub night at the Red Lion, Saturday, July 23, 7 p.m., where members of the Chicago Tafia Welsh Society will gather to celebrate their countryman’s nefarious past.