Al Capone's hidden son, or was this whole theory a fraud to sell books?
October 25, 2016 2:28 PM   Subscribe

I fell down a bit of a Wikipedia rabbit hole today: Al Capone and his family. As in, whatever became of Al Capone's son? Along the way I unexpectedly found some stuff from 2009-2010 about a dude who claims he's Al Capone's grandson by a second and unacknowledged son, despite acknowledged Capone family members and assorted historians to the contrary. And other than several interviews from 2009-2010, plus a single book Christopher Knight Capone published in 2012, I can't find out much.

So this guy, Christopher Knight Capone (he legally added Capone to his name in 2009), claimed that after his father William Knight died "in his arms" back when Christopher was age 13, a few days later some unnamed mysterious friend of his father told Christopher that William was the son of Al Capone. That's it, that's all the proof that's mentioned on the internet, and I've googled the heck out of it in a hunt for more; William Knight certainly never said such a thing to either his wife, his son Christopher or to Christopher's sister/William's daughter.

My question is, can anybody tell me more? Did Christopher ever get the DNA tests he was demanding from Al Capone's acknowledged granddaughters and their children/grandchildren? (I doubt he got the exhumation order he wanted for Al Capone's body: I expect anybody who succeeded at doing something like that would have easily turned up in an internet search!) Did Christopher prove his connection to the Capone family, was any such connection disproved, and where do things stand now?

Figuring dates and ages and all that, since Christopher said in 2009 interviews that he was thirteen years old when his father died, that puts his father's death in 1985. And since William Knight was apparently age 59 when he died, that means William was born about 1926. (Although one article I found said that William was born "between 1904-1958", which is entertaining, in that his putative father Al Capone was 5 years old in 1904 and dead after 1947!)

That 1926 date would work age-wise, since Al Capone would have been age 27 himself that year; but Capone was primarily in Chicago in the 1920s and William was probably born in New York or New Jersey. Also, why in the world would Al Capone and his wife Mae "send away" a mythical second son, which is Christopher Knight's explanation for things? After all, it's doubtful it could have been for some sort of security concern: Al and Mae Capone had no such worry while raising their son Sonny (born Dec. 1919).
posted by easily confused to Human Relations (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is this person claiming to be a legitimate son of both Al Capone and his wife, or an illegitimate child?

From my scant knowledge of Capone via the TV show Boardwalk Empire, I think Al Capone was sometimes in the NY/NJ area during the 1920s (though I suppose this sort of thing could have been fudged for TV), so theoretically it's not impossible that he fathered a child by some other woman, and that child was born in New York or New Jersey. Especially since, if the mother is unknown, the kid could have been conceived in Chicago and born anywhere, really.

If William Knight is meant to be a legitimate son of Al and Mae Capone, the story sounds unbelievably far-fetched. People of means giving up a wanted child born within marriage who has an older sibling who was kept must be almost impossibly rare.
posted by Sara C. at 2:52 PM on October 25, 2016

Response by poster: Christopher claimed his father William was indeed the second son of Al Capone and his wife Mae.
posted by easily confused at 3:20 PM on October 25, 2016

There's a new bio specifically about Capone's personal life that includes interviews with relatives that might have what you're looking for. (Dierdre Bair, Al Capone: His Life, Legacy, and Legend)
posted by mynameisluka at 3:59 PM on October 25, 2016

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