Ashland Vikings

Founded Founded c. 1963 by puncher in or near West Town
Founding story

Founded in East Village section of West Town

Formerly known as

Ashland Vikings early 1960s-1992

Affiliations ;
;
;
Colors Black and Green
Primary ethnicities Latino
Symbols Hatchet, 8 Point Star, Viking Helmet, and Viking Figure Head
Status Active

 

The Ashland Viking story begins in the year 1963 on the border line of the East Village and Noble Square neighborhood, When Puerto Rican migration first came to this area in 1963 there was an immediate flare up of street gangs appearing in the surrounding neighborhoods.  In that year of 1963 a group of boys that lived in the area got together and played football on the grounds of Wells High School at 936 N. Ashland (Ashland and Walton). Therefor the earliest Viking history was not about gangs, it was only about hanging out.

The Viking name did not even exist yet. It was not until 1965 that the Viking name first appeared.  The teens now had a good football team and needed a name. The Ashland Vikings name was voted in over the Ashland Pirates for the name of their football team.  The boys who were also now into girls and partying opened their first club house in a basement at 921 N. Ashland, just off the corner of Ashland and Walton St.

By 1967, the Ashland Viking football team were getting noticed by the surrounding street gangs. The Latin Kings began to take aggressive measures to recruit these teens into their gang, but as the boys resisted and refused to join, the L.K.’s began to cause more and more trouble with the team until the team’s leader called Puncher decided it was enough and converted the Ashland Viking football team into the Ashland Viking street gang. Their territory would be from Walton to Fry st. and from Ashland to Greenview St. in the Noble Square neighborhood. As a new gang the Vikings fought in low profile tactics which often gave them the advantage as they battled the Senior Latin Kings and the P.V.P.’s (Pulaski Venture Playboys) out of the East Village neighborhood. Among the arsenal the Vikings would use were molotov cocktails and homemade shotguns.

As the Viking’s reputation grew so did their territory and Puncher was now being called the Fist of the North. This section out of Ashland and Walton would eventually be known as “The Fist,” and be the first of 8 sections that would develop over time to eventually create the “8 Point Rajah Star.”

The newly formed Vikings wore light green sweaters with a dark green band wrapped around the upper left arm. The president’s sweater was a little different with three thin stripes on the upper left arm. Legend had it that the Vikings started as a polish gang, not true, instead the real truth is they were a Puerto Rican gang that had three white members that weren’t even polish, but still, they were original members and considered true brothers within the group.

By 1968, it became much tougher for the Vikings to continue using low key tactics as their brawls with the Kings intensified. They fought viciously for their turf and were now being recognized by outside gangs.

In 1969, after the Ashland Vikings had completely secured their territories which were now from Augusta to Chicago Ave. and from Ashland to Noble St. they adopted green and black as the official colors for their sweaters. Also, in that year the Vikings realized a group of Harrison Gents out of Beach and Ashland in Wicker Park were also at war with the Latin Kings. This created a mutual connection and partnership between the Vikings and the Gents as they had one thing in common, which was ridding the Kings out of West Town.

In 1970, Puncher moved the club house to the attic of an 8-unit building owned by his father at 845 N. Ashland intersecting with Pearson St, which was still within their territories in Noble Square. It was also during a period which some members of other groups such as the H.G.’s, L.K.’s and Warlords were joining the Vikings, members that would become true Vikings to the end.

Also, during the early 70’s the Vikings went into having some rather complex operations. As they became older, they were able to invest in their own businesses and began to operate as an organized crime group, owning some properties which included two store fronts that masked illegal activities. In the basement of an arcade they owned, vetted members would meet to discuss business and plan out certain operations. They were highly respected in their community because Instead of extortion they operated in a favor for favor exchange. They protected the neighborhood and in return the neighborhood provided safe houses and storage places for illegal contraband when needed. Hence their early reputation as mobsters.  Also, at that time the LSD coalition had fractured, and Vice Lords and Black Gangster Disciples were in heavier turmoil than ever, this caused the B.G.D.’s to make connections with white and Hispanic gangs outside of their usual turf. As for their connection with the Vikings it started as a business deal involving drugs and firearms; however, it would eventually lead to a more shrouded relationship as they started preforming personal and secretive hits for each other in order to evade any trace back by law enforcement.

In 1974, the Vikings fell into misfortune when their members were traced to the notorious Belmont Harbor murders involving an armed robbery scheme that went wrong and resulted in the brutal murders of two woman.  Police interrogations tripped some members up causing the police to uncover and move in on other Viking operations. With some members going to jail and others fleeing to Puerto Rico their businesses fell apart and their numbers dwindled.

In 1975, the Vikings relations with the B.G.D.’s became inactive as both groups were now dealing with other problems on their own side of the city.

In 1976, Puncher revitalized the organization with a new section of Vikings on Walton St. among the new recruits came Young Blood. Puncher saw lots of potential in Young Blood and the possibilities to maybe someday make him a Prince. This new section of Vikings became known as “The Sons”. The Sons would be the second point on the future 8-point star.

In 1977, the Vikings were reorganizing very well and even revitalized their connections with the B.G.D.’s. In that year Larry Hoover officially recognized the Ashland Vikings as allies with the B.G.D.’s and on November 11, 1978 the Ashland Vikings were among the first groups invited to join the Folk Nation Alliance due to their history with the B.G.D.’s.

In 1979, the Vikings made a connection with the Spanish Cobras and the Latin Disciples through Young Blood. This brought about the formation of the third section for the Vikings under Maniac Ashland Vikings in the spring of 1979. It was also in that year that the S.C.’s and L.D.’s created a friendly divide establishing the Maniacs and the Insane for their allies. This divide was not like the hard divide that happened in 1992. But as for the affiliation between the Vikings and the Y.L.O. (Young Latino Organization), it was the Cobras that made the true connection with the Vikings, and now with this new divide the Cobras that were hanging out with the Vikings wanted the section of Maniac Ashland Vikings to turn Insane. But Puncher wanted to keep his Maniac section, so he opened up a new section under Insane Ashland Vikings reinforcing their alignment with the Spanish Cobras. This new section came in at the end of 1979.

The Maniac and Insane sections of 1979 would become two more points of the eventual 8-point star. Also, in 1979 Puncher would officially title Young Blood as the Chosen Prince and open a major recruiting drive for additional sections.

In 1980, the recruiting campaign would bring in four more sections.  The first of the four in early 1980 was called “The Barbarians” which would become the fifth point on the later eight-point star.  A little later in the year the sixth point was opened and called “The Chosen.” The seventh point came in towards the end of that summer known as “The P.V.’s.” The final point of the star, becoming the eighth section, was opened towards the end of that fall known as “The Young V’s”.

Now that there were eight sections the founder created a unit called “The Rajah Brockianas” which was made up of officers from the eight sections. The founder personally over saw this commission while Prince Young Blood was appointed to lead the Rajahs.  Puncher then created and named “The Eight Point Rajah Star” which not only represented his eight sections it gave them independence from the bi-laws of the six-point star while also allowing them to still be allies and part of the Folk Nation.

As far as females went, only four sections had girls. The Fist always had girls that participated in the club. But it was in 1978 that they were officially named The Matriarch Viqueens. The Sons and Maniacs by 1981 had Ashland Viqueens and in 1982 The Barbarians also had Ashland Viqueens; however, only the girls in the first section of the Fist were called Matriarch Viqueens.  The combination of the Viqueens and The Young V’s were vitally important as they could easily and together slip into rival territories to surveillance hostile grounds and bring back critical information for the missions of The Rajahs.

Also, in 1980 the older H.G.’s out of Cortez and Ashland under David and an independent group of Cobras were actively hanging out with the Vikings. In that same year the V’s hooked up with Erie House at 1347 W. Erie Street who were trying to form a graffiti cleanup campaign with the West Town gangs. From there Puncher and C.M. an old school L.D. running a section out of the Huron and Ada territories established a Gang Truce that would include the A.V.’s, the L.D.’s, La Familia and the T.B.’s. Upset with an article where the Y.L.O.’s tried to claim the alliance under their flag the V’s and the D’s pull in the H.G.’s and start running under their own banner (U.P.C.I.) United Patriots Creating Identity and also wanted to run the truce alliance under its own flag.  But Erie House wanted a name better suited to the community so that they could open lines into the Department of Neighborhoods.  So as a compromise they kept the initials U.P.C.I. and added the name United People for Community Improvement.  Keeping the initials U.P.C.I. allowed the older leaders to keep United Patriots Creating Identity in the streets as the true umbrella over the gang truce coalition, hence the a.k.a. in the U.P.C.I. cards.  Over the next couple of months the U.P.C.I. would also include the Satan Disciples, a young section of H.G.’s out of Bosworth and Blackhawk, a group out of Eckhart Park going under The Neutrals who although refused to be labeled a gang could hold their own when they had to and periodically the involvement of some Cobras and B.G.D.’s who were affiliated with the Vikings and L.D.’s.  Erie House started dealing directly with C.M. and Puncher and allowed them meetings in Erie House with the other gangs when needed.  The anti-graffiti campaign was successful and led to a celebration event on the Eckhart Park field grounds in Noble Square.  But it was the V.’s who continued to launch other projects for the communities such as replacing vaulted sidewalks, cleaning vacant lots, coordinating food and clothes drives for the shelters and helping Peabody School (1444 W. Augusta) on closed campus for the kids. As a result, the Vikings got mentioned on the nightly news twice and appeared alongside Erie House on a talk show called Common Ground.

In November of that year the Y.L.O. and U.P.C.I. got invited to speak at the Latino Action Coalition Convention held at Roberto Clemente High School (1147 N. Western Ave.) on issues of Police Discrimination.  The U.P.C.I. was now slipping into a political arena and the Vikings into the rolls of community activist.

By 1981, under the U.P.C.I. umbrella, egos were starting to flare up. Besides the regular spits and spats, the second group of Harrison Gents out of Blackhawk and Bosworth (Wicker Park) were a young group that was always being called up in the meetings for violating the rules that held the truce together; around the same time the section of Satan Disciples that were set up in Latin Disciple’s territories along Elizabeth and Huron were starting to bump heads over the L.D.’s turf, rules and regulations. But it was in 1982 that things started to take a turn when the Bosworth Gents decided to take a purple banner that Erie House had put out for Memorial Day, their reason being “the colors”. To avoid any repercussion from the Coalition they agreed to return the banner, but the purple banner was never returned; however, because Erie House insisted on no violence and the other groups are fed up with the juvenile ways of the Bosworth Gents they are unanimously voted out of the U.P.C.I. Although the Cortez Gents want no part with them, they can also see this as a potential problem and within the next couple of months they elect to respectfully drop out of the U.P.C.I. Coalition taking all Harrison Gents out of the coalition.

As many of the Cortez Gents are older and raising families by 1983 their section eventually dismantles leaving Cortez to their younger members who are now not part of the U.P.C.I. Also by now tensions are starting to build as the L.D.’s that run Huron St. continue to get embroiled with the S.D.’s over their turf rules. As a result of the S.D.’s and L.D.’s internal conflicts the S.D.’s are no longer attending the meetings at Erie House. The Satan Disciples and the Vikings now start bumping heads as the Vikings make it clear that they side with the Latin Disciples.

At the end of 1983, the S.D.’s get into an altercation with one of the younger Viking sections; when the Rajahs receive the news the S.D.’s are confronted by Puncher in back of Carpenter School (1250 W. Erie) which resulted in the spokesman for the S.D.’s getting shot.

The Bosworth Gents and a few Milwaukee Kings who were not happy with the U.P.C.I.’s territorial control side with the S.D.’s and as 1984 rolled in the Vikings took the S.D.’s, H.G.’s and M.K.’s to war. During that war some Gents would take a neutral stance as they were not in favor of the Bosworth Gents and considered the true war was between the Vikings and the Satan Disciples.

In 1985, the U.P.C.I. is starting to crumble as the L.D.’s and the B.G.D.’s are the next to drop out of the affiliated group’s umbrella. As the war intensifies the S.D.s, the small group of M.K.s and the H.G.’s with no real leadership continue to struggle with the Viking’s 8 sections and their special unit of Rajahs. By strategically pacing themselves and using small units, the Vikings for the most part evaded the law, endured minimal casualties and always caught the rivals off guard.

By 1986, the M.K.’s are no longer in the picture. The H.G.’s can no longer stand the raids by the A.V.’s and abandon assisting the S.D.’s. The remaining S.D.’s which are now also engaged in skirmishes with the L.D.’s basically become scarcely seen on the streets, bringing the war with the Vikings to an end. But that event would also be the mark that ends the U.P.C.I. and the Viking’s inside connections.

In 1987, the Satan Disciples regrouped and now saw the abandonment of the Harrison Gents as desertion and a personal disrespect to them. They now with a new grudge took the H.G.’s and the M.K.’s to war.

During a calm period in the fall of 1988, when the Vikings were not engaged in any conflicts, Puncher the Chief, grants control over to Prince Young Blood and in 1992 the Chief comes together with the Prince and combines all sections of Ashland Vikings as one unit under the umbrella of the Cobra’s Insane Familia, ending the first era of the Ashland Vikings and the beginning of a new one under the rule of Prince Young Blood.

During the rule of Prince Young Blood, Puncher is fully out of circulation and no longer living in Noble Square. In early 1993, the Spanish Cobras admitted the Harrison Gents into the unification of the Insane Familia’s alliance. It is also a time when Gents and Vikings are interjecting new members into their groups. But with past encounters tied to bad blood, the Vikings and Gents continue to find themselves in controversial disputes. The Cobras manage to keep the disputes in check, but they also start feeling a little unsettled about the Gents constantly demanding rights from the coalition during their quarrels with the Vikings; however, in 1994 things take a twist when Prince Young Blood and his group of Rajahs are all rounded up in a massive sting operation and arrested on felony charges for trafficking heroin and possession of illegal firearms. Some including the Prince would be facing over ten years behind bars.

In 1995, three boys that live on Walton St. get newly recruited into the Harrison Gents. With Prince Young Blood and other high-ranking Vikings incarcerated, the Gents finally saw the chance to make a second attempt on taking Ashland and Walton. They came in good numbers and made their presence known, but by nightfall the Vikings come in and engage in a bloody and brutal fight. By the time the police came in, the Gents had made their exit and only the Vikings were rounded up and all taken to jail. The Vikings now with pay-back in mind started coming in night after night inflicting damages to the homes and vehicles of the newly recruited H.G.’s. That eventually led to the Vikings coming in and shooting up both of their houses, nearly killing innocent family members and causing them to move out of Walton St. As the Gents retaliate in the same manner, it becomes personal between the two groups igniting the true feud between the Vikings and the Gents.

During the rivalry the Cobras’ frustration built up over the Gents constantly wanting the Insane Familia to lean in Gent’s favor; this became too much for the Insane alliance to deal with. This eventually led to the Gents leaving the Insanes and becoming Almighty; But if truth be told, since the West Town communities were going through a phase of gentrification by the end of 1995 and because of conflicts on Walton St it was the police who took the corner, as the gang crime unit made sure that establishing an area of operations on Ashland and Walton or anywhere on that block was not going to happen for the Vikings or the Gents.

In 1996, the Cobras’ connection to the Vikings pays off as they call on a small group of Vikings rumored to have been selected by Puncher, to carry out a couple of personal hits for them in the West Town areas.

Things start to unravel in 1997 when most of the gangs in Wicker Park, East Village and Noble Square including the A.V.’s, H.G.’s, S.D.’s and L.D.’s go to war against each other. Death and incarceration became a daily conversation, and with the police interceding and a decline in soldiers the gangs started thinning out, including the Vikings losing four of their sectional groups.

In 1999, after a failed attempt by the Cobras to end the war between the Maniacs and Insanes at a local Y.M.C.A. in Logan Square, the Viking section known as the Barbarians regrouped and recruited enough members in an effort to regain the Vikings West Town territories; however, that would prove difficult as gentrification and police pressure was something they could not control.

Within the next couple of years, the few remaining sections of Vikings which included the Barbarians, Insanes and Maniacs, started relocating throughout the city and establishing new areas of operations.

By the year 2002 independent branches were spreading throughout the state of Illinois, included were: Cicero Ill., Aurora Ill., Rockford Ill.,Waukegan Ill. and also Milwaukee Wis. As the migration continued well established factions were found as far as Sacramento Cal. and Miami Fl. During the Ashland Vikings course some were even rumored to have landed in Mexico and South America.

Please send in old school pics.   1950s, 1960s, 1970s pics will be especially appreciated!