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The Mark Inside

Blonger Bros. Mysteries.

 

These are the crucial questions.

Rule

1.

What happened to the Belonger brothers?

Source: Census records from 1860 showed no trace of great-great-grandfather Michael Belonger's five brothers (he had three sisters as well). They appeared to have left Wisconsin and vanished into thin air.

Evidence: By 2003, Google had made it possible to easily search on numerous spelling variations in the search for misplaced traces of our ancestors. Methodically testing variations on the name Belonger, an interesting article tops the list while searching on "Blonger." The "Bunco King" of Denver was, in fact, Michael's brother Lou. Though looking for a random misspelling — a common occurence — we instead quickly realized that all of our great-great-great-uncles (though not our ancestor Mike) had adopted this variation on their father's surname, and all had moved west, often living itinerant lives. Poof — gone.

Status: Resolved

More: Belonger Genealogy


Rule

2.

Was Sam Sheriff of Albuquerque?

Source: The Armstrong account told us Sam was sheriff of Albuquerque, and Sam's obituary said he was marshal.

Evidence: Early on, an online abstract from an 1882 Mohave Miner mentions a "Deputy Marshal J. T. Blonger." Microfilm of the Albuquerque Evening Review and Albuquerque Morning Journal eventually revealed the short careers of Sam and Lou Blonger as lawmen in Albuquerque.

Curiously, the Deputy J. T. mentioned might not refer to Joe, who apparently showed up in town days later.

Status: Resolved

More: Albuquerque news articles


Rule

3.

Did Sam scout with Buffalo Bill?

Source: The Armstrong account.

Evidence: None. Though Sam and Cody seemed to be leading similar lives in the early '60s, Sam was probably much further west at the time — with the possible exception of Cody's short visit to the Denver area in 1859 as a thirteen-year-old. In Cody's later scouting days, Sam was otherwise occupied with brother Lou.

Status: Unresolved

More: Armstrong Account


Rule

4.

Was Lou sheriff of San Angelo, Texas (or a border county)?

Source: Lou's obituaries. He claimed to have attended a duel over a roulette wager in which both men shot the other dead.

Evidence: The Albuquerque Morning Journal notes Lou first came to town in 1882 while visiting from Texas.

Status: Unresolved

More: Lou's Obits


Rule

5.

Was Joe at Little Big Horn the day after the massacre?

Source: The Armstrong account.

Evidence: None. Men With Custer, a roster of all military personnel and civilians, including Indian scouts, attached to Custer's 7th Cavalry at the time of the massacre, makes no mention of Joe.

Status: Unresolved

More: Armstrong Account


Rule

6.

Was Joe in attendance when Wild Bill Hickok was shot?

Source: The Armstrong account.

Evidence: Joe leaves Salt Lake City in 1873, destination as yet unknown. He was a miner, and in the area — a prime candidate for the Black Hills gold rush.

Status: Unresolved

More: Armstrong Account


Rule

7.

Did Joe scout with Buffalo Bill?

Source: The Armstrong account.

Evidence: None. Our lack of knowledge regarding Joe's whereabouts following the Civil War and his arrival in New Mexico in 1879 leave the possibility open.

Status: Unresolved

More: Armstrong Account


Rule

8.

Did Sam and Lou know Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday?

Source: Educated guess. All parties involved had some notoriety, and made the same rounds as professional gamblers as well as lawmen.

Evidence: The "Otero letter" explicitly states that "Blonger" watched over Earp's posse while they were in New Mexico in the spring of 1882. The jury is still out on this letter. We do know that Sam and Lou both served as marshals of new town during the period the gang was reported to be in Albuquerque. That they should be unacquainted now seems highly unlikely.

Additionally, Sam is known to have been in Austin, Nevada in late 1864-early 1865, concurrent with a stay in town by Jimmy Earp.

Status: Unresolved

More: The Earps, Doc Holliday, & the Blonger Bros.


Rule

9.

What boomtowns did Lou work on his way to Denver?

Source: Lou's obituaries.

Evidence: Lou's pension request, census records, newspapers, etc. place the boys in Salt Lake City and environs, Tuscarora, Cornucopia, Virginia City in Nevada, Silver Reef, Utah, Albuquerque in New Mexico, and numerous locations in Colorado including Leadville, Cripple Creek and Creede.

Though Lou's pension request accounts for the entire period between 1866 and 1887, we know there are missing pieces yet. Where was Lou before Sam became marshal in 1882? Was he in Texas as he claimed?

Status: Unresolved

More: The Blonger Tour


Rule

10.

Were Sam and Lou in Dodge City in 1878?

The Sources: Bat Masterson: The Man and the Legend by Robert K. De Arment yields a reference to Sam & Lou in Dodge City. They supposedly joined the best of their brethren there for a summer of sport in 1878, perhaps the year of Dodge's greatest fame.

Earlier, Forbes Parkhill wrote something similar in Wildest of the West, 1951, that the Blongers were pals of Masterson since Dodge.

Evidence: Lou omits Dodge from his pension file. Obituaries say he and Sam had a theater and gave tours. If they did live there, it was very briefly, which would be the norm for them. The more likely supposition is that they simply traveled to Dodge to gamble.

Status: Unresolved

More: The Blonger Tour


Rule

11.

Did Sam and Lou help build the Denver & Rio Grande?

Source: Lou's obituaries.

Evidence: None.

Status: Unresolved

More: The Southwest Years


Rule

12.

Did Joe know Geronimo, Cochise, Sitting Bull, and Mangus Colorado?

Source: The Armstrong account.

Evidence: None.

Status: Unresolved

More: Armstrong Account


Rule

13.

Who was Kitty Blonger?

Source: A newspaper abstract from the Mohave Miner, February 25, 1888, describes the murder trial of Kitty Blonger, a prostitute in Peach Springs, Arizona. Is this Kitty part of the family tree? The name Blonger, in that time and region, is thought to be unique to the brothers.

Evidence:

Subsequent research in the Mohave County Miner indicates that one "L. Blonger" checked into the local hotel in Kingman, where the trial was held, a scant two days after the murder.

An Albuquerque newspaper article from the time of her arrest indicates Kitty, or Kate, was previously in that city, presumably plying the same trade. Insofar as Lou reportedly had an interest in a local cathouse, and the madam of the house as well, we infer Kitty was part of the Blonger Bros. stable in Albuquerque, and took her last name from her pimps.

Finally a 1906 article about two crooked Denver detectives gave us a clue that would link her romantically to one of the Blongers. Kate Blonger, also known as Mrs. Hank Domedion, was said to have accompanied the Denver dicks as they transported a prisoner from Denver to New York. The prisoner would later disappear, and the detectives were suspected of taking a bribe.

But it was that name, Domedion, that makes the final connection. In 1889, Sam divorced his first wife Ella after several years on the road. Shortly thereafter he married one Mrs. Sadie Wilson. Sam, though, began beating Sadie, sometimes brutally, and she would divorce him just a few years later. Sadie then remarried, to one Henry J. Domedion. Kate and Sadie were one and the same -- hooker Kitty Blonger would eventually marry Sam Blonger.

Status: Resolved

More: Murder At Peach Springs


Rule

14.

When did Sam lose his eye?

Source: The Armstrong account, Parkhill, other sources mention Sam's disfigured eye, and the blue glasses he wore to hide it. Armstrong goes on to say the injury ocurred during a Denver gunfight when a bullet glanced off an iron stove.

Evidence: None.

Status: Unresolved

More: Armstrong Account


Rule

15.

Where is Lou's journal?

Source: The Maiden Papers tell us Lou requested the return of his journal from Col. Van Cise, who refused. We do not know the contents of this document, but we are told it was written in Lou's own "flowing hand," and we know its title, Le Journal des Con-con HommesThe Journal of the Con-con Men.

Status: Unresolved


Rule

16.

Was Sam marshal in another southwestern town? Was he shot in the course of duty?

Source: The Buffalo, New York Enquirer.

Evidence: None. A story told by a Montana old timer indicates Sam was shot while trying to disarm an unnamed miscreant, but suggests it only required a bit of bed rest to recover (the bullet still lodged in his 'life box'). While Sam convalesced, his deputy reputedly took on three criminals at once, kiling one, wounding another, and commandeering the weapon of a third, one Bat Masterson. The town in question, however, is never revealed.

Status: Unresolved


 

Rule

 


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