Lt Joseph Petrosino Association in America | The true history of a great cop
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The true history of a great cop

The true history of a great cop

Harrisburg, Pa.: My very diligent cousin, Dominica McGowan, who is an avid reader and longtime reader of The Daily News, as was my dad and every other member of my family, sent me clippings from your Voice of The People section concerning distant members of the Petrosino family searching for information about Lt. Joe Petrosino of the NYPD assassinated in the line of duty on March 12, 1909, in Palermo, Sicily.

I am the great-nephew of the good lieutenant. My father, Prospero Petrosino, was his eldest nephew by his only full-blooded brother, Vincenzo Petrosino. I encourage all family members to read the definitive biography of the lieutenant just published this past April and written by Stephan Talty, who previously wrote the book entitled “Captain Phillips,” which became a movie starring Tom Hanks.

This book is entitled “The Black Hand” and traces the detective’s history more accurately than any other publication. I was fortunate enough to be a consultant on this book and can attest to its accuracy. The author also used data and information supplied by my daughter, Courteney Michelle, who visited the hometown of Padula, Italy, and interviewed family members still living there.

The lieutenant was born August 30, 1860 in Padula, Italy, in the Provence of Salerno. He was the oldest child of Prospero Petrosino, known as “the tailor” after his profession and Giusseppina Arato, his first wife.

This marriage produced two other children: my grandfather, Vincenzo and a daughter, Catarina. The tailor married a second time after the death of his first wife, to Giusseppina Mugno. That union produced three more children, a daughter, Josephine, and two more sons, Michael and Anthony.

I suspect that your previous writers, Voicers Mike and Bob Petrosino come from the family of Anthony Petrosino. I know my dad was proud of the fact that two of his first cousins were members of the NYPD. The lieutenant himself married late in life to Adelina Saulino, had one daughter, Adelina whose daughter, Susan, was his only grandchild. I hope this gives family members more information to go on.

Vincent Joseph Petrosino


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