Lou Blonger's Obituaries.
Rocky Mountain News, Monday, April 21, 1924
DEATH COMES TO LOU BLONGER, CONVICTED KING OF BUNKO MEN, WHILE SERVING PRISON SENTENCE
Aged Leader of $1,000,000 Ring Succumbs to Lingering Illness; Confidence Man Dies as He Feared Behind Shadows of Bars.
Behind the gray, bleak walls of the state penitentiary at Canon City, Lou Blonger, aged leader of the $1,000,000 bunko ring, convicted a year ago along with other members of the swindling ring, died at 8:45 yesterday morning following a lingering illness.
Blonger's greatest fear that he would die behind the prison walls weighed on his mind for the last two weeks of his illness, according to Dr. R.E. Holmes, who attended him, and hastened his death.
"He had made repeated efforts to be transferred from the penitentiary to a private hospital," Dr. Holmes said, "and his failure to obtain this transfer seemed to weaken his morale. For two weeks he knew that death was near and he made no effort to fight for his life. Altho we had provided a wheel chair for his use, he preferred to remain in bed and made no attempt to rally strength against disease."
TYNAN AT BEDSIDE.
Warden Thomas Tynan was at Blonger's bedside until after midnight Saturday. Dr. Holmes, Assistant Warden George Buchanan and stewards and nurses of the penitentiary were the only ones present when the aged leader of the bunko men died. His wife was in Denver, where she had gone after having been in almost constant attendance at her husband's bedside for several days.
The W.P. Horan Undertaking company of Denver was notified and took charge of the body, which was brought to Denver today.
Blonger, who was 74 years old, was afflicted with kidney trouble, which combined with old age and a general organic breakdown, had kept him bedfast in the hospital ward during most of the few months he was a prisoner at Canon City. His health had been failing gradually, the breakdown starting even before his arrest. Hope for his recovery was abandoned by the attending physicians several days ago and his death was expected momentarily from then on.
LED AN ADVENTUROUS CAREER.
Every attention was shown Blonger at the penitentiary in an effort to save his life, but little could be done to check the effects of the complication of ailments.
A picturesque and interesting character despite his faults, Blonger, who was destined to have an adventuresome, checkered career, was born in Swanton Falls, Vt., May 13, 1849. His father, Simon, was a native of France and his mother was born in Tipperary, Ireland. Mrs. Blonger died when Lou was 8 years old as she giving birth to her thirteenth child.
Lou enlisted in the Union army before he was 16 years old and served throughout the Civil war, receiving an honorable discharge.
At the conclusion of his military service he and his brother, Sam, who died here ten years ago, went to Chicago. They were constant companions and partners in their extensive travels and ventures during the many years following their departure from their boyhood home.
They spent about a year in Chicago, where Lou had two jobs, driving a team hauling wheat to flour mills and driving a horse-drawn street car. It was in the latter employment that Lou met the late William Pinkerton, the famous detective, and the two became fast lifelong friends.
ROAMED MINING CAMPS.
The next stopping point in the long itinerary of the Blonger brothers was Dodge City, Kans., where they settled in the palmy days of the then wide-open frontier town. For a time they operated a theater and took companies on tours over the Western country.
News of the mining excitement through the West reached them and they were drawn by the appeal to give up their Dodge City ventures and spend three years on the trail of the ore camps, drifting from one mining center to another, stopping where the excitement was the greatest. They went to the Black Hills, and to Reno and Comstock, Nev., and to Leadville, Cripple Creek, and Creede, Colo., in fact, all of the mining boom towns of those days, following the chief diversion of those centers gambling and running gambling houses, which in that period were a combination of saloon, gaming hall and theater, usually all three in one big room or, at least, in the same building.
LOU ELECTED SHERIFF.
In the early '70s, Lou and Sam built and ran the first steamboat that ever plied on the Great Salt lake in Utah. Dancing was among the entertainment features on the boat. The venture lost them money.
The two brothers next tried their hand at railroad building, helping the construction of the Denver & Rio Grande Western system. Their work carried them into Texas and while there Lou was elected sheriff of a Texas county.
Lou Blonger was an interesting talker and of late years would entertain his friends here by the hour with tales of unusual and exciting events and experiences. He told of seeing two men quarrel over some money at a roulette wheel in Texas one time. A pistol duel was decided as the means of settling their dispute. They went outside, took forty paces each, turned and fired, each killing the other.
Lou Blonger always had a faculty for making money, and he had the reputation among his friends of being generous to a fault. His greatest piece of fortune and one which made him a rich man came when he discovered the Forest Queen mine, one of the finest unearthed in the Cripple Creek boom days. This mine is still in Mrs. Blonger's name.
The Blongers in the '90s opened and for years operated the Elite saloon, adjoining the Equitable building on Stout street near seventeenth, the finest bar in Denver at the time. They also ran a saloon next to the Cheesman building on Larimer street between Sixteenth and Seventeenth in the '80s. Upstairs was a gambling house operated by Ed Chase and Dan Stuart. The latter was a fight promoter and once staged a bout in Texas with Bob Fitzsimmons as one of the principals.
During the late world war period Lou Blonger visited Nederland, Colo., and developed a tungsten mine which proved a profitable proposition. He built a hotel in Nederland, but when the boom died out he gave the hotel to one Bill Everett, telling him he could have it if he wrecked it. The hotel cost Blonger about $10,000.
Blonger owned several valuable farms and ranches near Denver, but disposed of them all except the Bee Hive ranch on the Golden road, which he deeded to his wife before he was sent to the penitentiary to begin serving his term of from seven to ten years.
OWNED BIG FARM.
The Bee Hive property comprises seventy-five acres and is one of the best improved farms in this section. Fifty-five acres of it is made up of cherry and plum orchards. Blonger spent $10,000 building an artesian well on the place.
One of the important business deals of Blonger's was his sale of property on the northeast corner of Broadway and Larimer street about two years ago to the McMurtrie Manufacturing company for $25,000.
For years Blonger gave away the entire crop of his great cherry orchard in a unique manner. He had a list of persons and worthy charitable institutions which were to be remembered with crates with fruit. All the formality necessary to get two or three boxes of cherries was for a friend of Blonger's to put one's name on his list of beneficiaries.
BUNKO CASE FAMOUS.
Blonger, along with 33 other members of the bunko ring, was arrested by state rangers, acting under the direction of District Attorney Philip S. Van Cise, Aug. 25, 1922. The trial opened Feb. 5, 1923, and Blonger and nineteen of his confederates were convicted March 28, the jury returning its verdict after more than 102 hours of deliberation. Sentence was pronounced June 1. The convicted leader of the gang began serving his sentence in the penitentiary Oct. 18 last.
The breaking up of the notorious bunko ring by District Attorney Van Cise and his force of regular and special investigators was effected after a sensational roundup and trials which attracted nation-wide attention as bearing upon one of the greatest gangs of swindlers in the history of the country. Blonger was among those caught in the dragnet as the guiding genius behind the whole band of crooks, who mulcted their victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by means of various fraudulent get-rich-quick schemes.
MARRIED THIRTY YEARS AGO.
Blonger and his wife, who survived him, were married in Denver more than thirty years ago. He also leaves three brothers, Michael, who lives on a farm near Shullsburg, Wis.; Joseph, who is in an old soldiers' home in the Dakotas; Marvin, engaged in mining near Butte, Mont., and a sister, Mrs. Mary Swinbank, Shullsburg, Wis. Michael, who has been ill the last year and half, is 83 years old.
Mrs. Blonger, who lives at 1540 Grant street, returned Saturday from the bedside of her husband in Canon City.
The real way to spell the family name was "Belonger," but as Lou and Sam grew older people left out the "e" so frequently in the pronunciation that the boys shortened their name to its present spelling.
Denver Post, Monday, April 21, 1924
LOU BLONGER DIES IN PRISON HOSPITAL AS HIS LAST HOPE OF FREEDOM FADES
KIDNEY TROUBLE CAUSE OF DEATH AT CANON CITY
Picturesque Westerner Formerly Was Sheriff In Texas.
Lou Blonger, 74 years old, died in the penitentiary in Canon City Sunday morning.
Two weeks ago Blonger gave up the struggle for life and from that time he declined rapidly. He had a horror of dying in prison and his failure to obtain his removal to a private hospital is said to have had a depressing effect upon him.
The aged prisoner regained consciousness but once since Thursday and that was Saturday night when he was visited by the Rev. Father Regis Barrett, prison chaplain. At the sound of the priest's voice Blonger opened his eyes and at a mention of the Deity attempted to whisper, but his words were inaudible. All of the rights of the Catholic church were administered the dying man by Father Barrett and five minutes afterward the hospital physician pronounced Blonger dead.
Blonger had been failing for some time. Kidney trouble, combined with age and a general organic breakdown, caused his death.
Blonger had been a long time resident of Colorado. In August, 1922, he was caught in the bunco raids staged by District Attorney Van Cise and was declared to be the brains of the ring of slickers which had been operating here and in other parts of the country, unmolested, for a number of years. With nineteen other members of the gang, Blonger was convicted in the west side court in March, 1923. He was sentenced to serve from seven to ten years in the penitentiary. After his application for a supersedeas had been denied by the Colorado supreme court, he was removed to Canon City Oct. 18, 1923.
His condition improved for a short time. Then, as he lost hope of obtaining his freedom, he lost his grip on life.
Lou Blonger was a character that lives today mostly in the fiction tales of the early west. Soldier and sailor, sheriff and saloonkeeper, he roamed the stretches of the frontier and his name is written into the early annals of Texas, Utah, and Colorado, and more especially into the pioneer history of Cripple Creek, Creede, Leadville and the Black Hills.
Always a big-hearted spender, always alert to help out an unfortunate, Lou, as he was familiarly known, won friends wherever he went and in every walk of life.
Often, when he was in the right mood and his mind went back to those rosier days, Lou would tell his Denver cronies all about his career as a sheriff. He was particularly fond of the story of Jimmy Smith and Nels Anderson, who came to blows over a San Angelo, Tex., roulette wheel. They decided to fight a duel and Lou was an official of some sort to see that fair play was had. Fair play was had. Walking forty paces, as agreed, the men turned and fired at each other and both dropped dead in their tracks. This was the land where Lou Blonger was sheriff.
HELD CRONIES WITH EARLY TALES.
And in his days of leisure, which came to him just before the blow fell that broke him in health and heart, Blonger was accustomed to gather with his cronies and regale the circle with tales of the early days in many sections of the west.
According to Blonger's own story of his life, his name was actually Belonger. His father, Simon Belonger, was a full-blooded Frenchman, robust woodsman, and his mother came from Tipperary. Lou was a mixture of French and Irish, with the characteristic traits of both races. He was a born adventurer and a lucky one.
Lou was born at Swarton Falls, Vt., in 1849, and would have been 75 years old May 13. He was given some schooling just a little, tho, because he was chopping wood at 12 in the Vermont hills, and then, before he was 16, he was a bugler boy in a Vermont regiment of Yank volunteers that went south to show the rebs that the slaves must be freed. From bugle boy Lou progressed to regular private, and he slung his gun with the best of them and was honorably discharged at the end of the war after marching down Pennsylvania avenue in Washington with the Army of the Potomac, a ragged veteran in blue and still a kid.
PILOTED HORSES FOR MILL COMPANY.
After that Lou drifted. He and an older brother, Sam, went to Chicago, where Lou got a job piloting a pair of big horses for a flour milling company. He was used to army horses, and he held his trucking job until a street car motorman was needed, and Lou took up that vocation. From Chicago Sam and Lou drifted to Dodge City, Kan., with Lou again handling the reins of a freighting outfit. Dodge City, teeming with life in the raw, was the outfitting place in those days for the great freighting lines of the west, and further, the railroad had just come into Dodge City, bringing with it trouble.
In Dodge City William Pinkerton, later to become world famous as a detective, met Lou. They were instant friends, and remained so up to the time of Pinkerton's death. There, in Dodge City, Lou and Sam trifled with the theater business, and not liking it, they went on, the merry leaders of a vagabond party that eventually would up in Salt Lake City, where Lou built and operated the first steamboat ever launched on the great inland lake. A deck was fitted up for dancing and the venture was a success until the novelty wore off. Then Lou, leaving the steamboat, took to the trail again, with Sam tagging at his heels.
BROTHERS WENT TO BLACK HILLS.
Into the Black Hills of South Dakota went the two wayfarers, and thru all of the mining excitement in the fast camps of those hills the brothers were leaders. Then down into Nevada, where Reno and later Comstock were booming. From Nevada it was but a step into Texas, where mining men weren't needed, but two handed men were and here, in the Lone Star state, Lou became a sheriff of a border county, the terror of Mexicans and rustlers, bad hombres and bandits. As sheriff he ruled with an iron hand. Deserting the badge and gun of authority to engage in railroading, finally, with the Denver & Rio Grande.
When Lou came to Denver the city was wide open. How long Lou stayed on his first visit here nobody recollects, but Lou and his brother Sam arrived in Leadville along about 1879. Here the brothers took a lease on the Little Chief on Freyer hill from the Dillon brothers and made good money. The Dillons cleaned up $350,000 from their lease. Later Lou and Sam located the Forest Queen mine at Cripple Creek and again fortune smiled on them. The Forest Queen is still the property of Mrs. Blonger, deeded over to her by Lou, it is said.
LOST ATTRACTION FOR BROTHERS.
After Leadville and Cripple Creek and Telluride and the rest of the boom towns lost their attraction for the Blonger boys, Lou and Sam came to Denver. In the early eighties they operated a saloon on Larimer street next to the old Cheesman block. It was the mecca for the cowpuncher, the two-gun man and the prospector of the entire west. Here famous frontier characters met and mingled and Lou began to get a reputation as a generous fellow, ever ready to lend a helping hand to the man in need.
Larimer to Stout is only five blocks, but it took Sam and Lou Blonger that many years to move from the first location to the "Elite" on Stout, between Sixteenth and Seventeenth streets. In the nineties the "Elite" was the flashiest saloon in town, and it was run by Lou and Sam Blonger. It was during this time that Blonger married a Denver girl. Then, speculating, he purchased various big ranches and orchards in various portions of the state at various times. The last of these the Beehive cherry orchard is out on the Golden paved road today, seventy-five acres of the richest farm land in Colorado.
ALWAYS CARRIED MONEY IN BILLS.
Lou always carried his money in bills of large denominations, folded lengthwise, and then doubled in the middle. He would peel off a twenty or a fifty or a "grand" with the ease an ordinary fellow flips out a dime. Nobody ever went hungry if Lou knew it, and Christmas day was his favorite time to dispense charity. Many a Denver poor family got its turkey yearly on Christmas day until
Lou went to the pen.
Lou Blonger stuck to his friends. He had them in all walks of life. And while Lou was growing old in Denver, his brother, Sam, passed away here, about ten years ago. He has three brothers yet living Ben of Albuquerque; another at Red Oak, Iowa, and a third who is a judge in a Canadian court. One sister, too, still lives in the east. At one time or another Lou owned much property in Denver, and only recently he sold a plot a Broadway and Larimer street to a local manufacturing company for $25,000, his friends say.
GAVE CAMP TO FRIEND.
Possibly the last venture that Lou tried before the blow fell was tungsten mining in Nederlands, above Boulder, during the war days. He built a mill on claims he had there and a big hotel, but when the war ended and the demand for tungsten went from high to low, and less, Lou said to William Everett, a friend:
"Bill, I've got a big mill and a big hotel for the men up at Nederland. I won't need it any more. It's yours you can have it."
And Everett, taking a crew of men, wrecked the camp for the lumber. Lou was taking things easy when fate interfered, soon thereafter, and put him on the path that ended up on a deathbed in the Canon City "Big House."
Note: The description of Lou's surviving family is completely
wrong. See the obituary from the Rocky Mountain News for the
correct information. And of course, Swarton, Vt., should be Swanton.
New York Times, April 21, 1924
BLONGER, "BUNCO KING," DIES IN COLORADO JAIL
Convicted Last June, With 18 Confederates, of Swindles Aggregating $1,500,000.
CANON CITY, Colo., April 20. Lou Blonger, 74 years old, head of an international gang of confidence men who were convicted in Denver last Summer, died in the State Penitentiary here today after a long illness. He was serving a sentence from seven to ten years.
Death liberated Blonger from prison before the Colorado Supreme Court had time to act on the appeal which he took in his case.
He was a picturesque character of the old West. In the period following the Civil War he and his brother Sam roved through the Rocky Mountain States in search of gold. Dissatisfied with prospecting, they built and operated the first steamboat on the Great Salt Lake.
Blonger made every effort to evade imprisonment at the State Penitentiary and was held in the Denver county jail for several months after conviction, physicians declaring him physically unable to endure prison life.
He was born in Swanton Falls, Vt. A widow, three brothers and a sister survive him.
Lou D. Blonger, described at the time of his arrest as a man of wealth in Denver, was called the brains of a "million-dollar bunco ring" with headquarters there when he and eighteen others were sentenced in June, 1923, to State prison for swindling by means of operations in stocks and grain.
The Denver police for several seasons had heard of a mysterious confidence ring which was fleecing newcomers and Summer tourists in Denver and Colorado Springs. Few of the victims could be persuaded to commit themselves, but it was learned that the band shifted its operations in the Winter to an equally lucrative field in Florida, Cuba, and various Gulf resorts. The sum of $1,500,000 was believed to have been extorted from Colorado victims alone in three years in which the existence of the ring had been known.
The organization proved to be protected by powerful influences, but public-spirited citizens came to the fore in 1921 and subscribed $15,000 for a "vengeance fund." Secret investigations conducted during the ensuing twelve months traced the swindling to the aged Blonger and his men. Several times the investigators were about to descend upon the swindlers, but delayed action to make their evidence conclusive and the final capture complete.
District Attorney Van Cise and Adjt. Gen. Hamrock, at the head of a strong force of State rangers, from daybreak to noon one August day in 1922 rounded up Blonger, A.W. Duff, listed as another of
Denver's men of wealth and regarded as Blonger's "First Lieutenant," and thirty others. The first Universalist Church was used as a jail during the raids. The bail fixed for the prisoners amounted to $800,000. Blonger and Duff both gave bonds of $25,000 each and were the first to be released from custody.
The prosecution consumed the greater part of a year, and in June last Blonger and ten of his associates received sentences of from seven to ten years. Eight others were sentenced to terms of from three to ten years each.
The defendants were convicted on three counts, charging conspiracy, conspiracy to commit confidence gaming, and conspiracy to commit grand larceny.
Denver Times, April 22, 1924
FRIENDS AND FOES PASS BIER OF LOU BLONGER, BUNKO KING
Mourners Pay Tribute to Dead Chief Whose Picturesque Career Ended in State Penitentiary Yesterday.
BY JOHN P. LEWIS.
Death brought to a close the life of Denver's most picturesque character in the passing of Lou H. Blonger, convicted head of the $1,000,000 Denver bunko gang, at the state penitentiary Sunday.
This morning, as a memorial to his friendships in this life, a straggling line of mourners, men and women, mostly old, found their way to the W. P. Horan & Sons mortuary, 1527 Cleveland place, where his body lies pending burial.
An old man hobbled in on crutches, shuffling his ragged shoes softly on the carpet. Tears dropped quietly from his eyes.
"Old Lou, he gi' me handouts," the ragged cripple muttered. "He gi' me money to eat, he did."
A business man followed, frankly sorrowing over the death of a friend of another day. Blonger was indiscriminate in his friendships and to his friends he was true.
Occasional Curse Muttered.
Followed the straggling line, largely mourners, but occasionally one who muttered a curse over the fallen form, perhaps, for a fancied or actual wrong of the aged man.
Funeral services for Blonger will be held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 9 o'clock Wednesday morning. The body will rest at the Horan chapel, 1527 Cleveland place, until its removal to the cathedral at 8:30 o'clock Wednesday morning. Interment will be in the Blonger plot in Fairmount cemetery.
Blonger's life had been bound up in Denver for two score of years. The reputed leader of half a dozen different groups, who lived by their wits, he was connected no more strongly than by whisper up to the time of his conviction as head of the confidence men's ring more than a year ago.
Directed From Office.
Generous and kind, he was beloved of the upper stratum of the underworld. And by those above accepted frequently as an honest friend. Blonger never soiled himself by direct contact with the shady transactions with which his name was linked by rumor. Nor did he live the life of a criminal.
Whatever operations he conducted, he organized as a business man, sitting in his offices down at the American Bank and Trust Company building. However intimate he was with his workers during "business hours," his time off duty was spent in better circles. His homes were maintained with the best in the better quarters of the city and his associates after working hours were unquestioned.
Blonger wielded a political influence that was, in quarters, absolute. He handled this, too, quietly and without ostentation. Never was he mentioned as a politician nor did he seem to take more than ordinary interest in political events. Yet sitting behind the throne, he controlled political destinies in a way of his own.
One Slip Proved Fatal.
Once he slipped. The one slip, made when he offered to finance District Attorney Philip S. Van Cise in his race for office, in return for which he desired the protection of the prosecutor for his confidence men's ring, led to his conviction.
Sitting quietly in his office, Blonger ruled the underworld with a certain hand. Never coming into contact with the lower criminals, he worked out the destinies of the lower districts thru his confederates.
As king of the confidence men he ruled unquestioned. No bunko steerer, no matter how slight, was permitted to work here without joining the ring. Refusal meant certain arrest. From here, with the death of Joe Frey [Furey], notorious Texas outlaw and confidence man, Blonger's influence spread out to the Southern wintering resorts and to California. Every confidence man in the country knew and feared Lou Blonger.
Blonger's Colorado career was started with the early day mining booms here.
Won Fortune in Mine.
With his brother, Sam, Blonger "hit the trail" of the mining camps, operating saloons, gambling houses and other enterprises in which quick money might be made. Always Sam and Lou were at the center of things. At Cripple Creek Blonger won a fortune and temporary fame when he discovered the Forest Queen mine. This he deeded to his wife before he went to prison.
Finally he drifted to Denver. From the early '80s on Seventeenth street was his stamping ground. From saloon keeper to gambler and finally to leader of the bunko ring Blonger rose.
In the early days he was associated closely with Soapy Smith, card shark, confidence artist and bad man. Up to the time of Smith's departure and ultimate death in an Alaska shooting brawl the two were intimates.
In prison since his conviction, as on the outside before his arrest, Blonger maintained and personally believed in his own innocence.
"They framed me," he said. "I'm an old man and I never hurt anybody, but they framed me."
Born in Vermont.
Blonger, who fate decreed was to have an interesting, tho at times stormy, career, was born in Swanton Falls, Vt., May 13, 1849, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Simon Blonger. The family name as originally was spelled "Belonger," but Lou and Sam later shortened it. Simon was born in France and Mrs. Blonger was a native of Tipperary, Ireland. Lou was 8 years old when his mother died as she was giving birth to her thirteenth child.
Before he was 16 years old Lou enlisted in the Union army and served thru the Civil war. After he had doffed his uniform, Lou and his brother, Sam, who died here ten years ago and who was his constant pal after the war, went to Chicago. Lou hauled wheat to flour mills and drove a horse-drawn street car in the year they spent there. While on the latter job he met the late William Pinkerton, who became Blonger's life-long friend.
Dodge City, Kan., then in its most flourishing days, noted as a wide-open frontier town, next attracted the two brothers, who opened a theater and organized theatrical companies for tours thru the West.
Lost in Steamboat Venture.
It was about this time that mining began to boom in the Black Hills, Reno, Leadville, Cripple Creek and other points in the Western country and Lou and Sam forsook their Dodge City enterprises for the mining centers.
They lost money in the early '70s when they built and ran the first steamboat which ever plied the Great Salt lake in Utah. An entertainment feature on the boat was dancing.
While working on the construction of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad their employment carried them into Texas, where Lou was elected sheriff of a county.
The Elite saloon, at that time the finest bar in Denver, was opened by the Blongers in the '90s. In the '80s they also operated a bar on Larimer street.
Another profitable venture of Lou's was a tungsten mine which he developed at Nederland, Colo., during the World war. He built a $10,000 hotel at Nederland, but gave it away to one Bill Everett, a friend, for salvaging of the lumber when the boom there died out.
Maintained Fine Stable.
A number of years ago Blonger tried his hand at the horse racing game, maintaining a fine stable.
He owned several fine ranches near Denver, but had disposed of all of them except the Bee Hive farm on the Golden road, one of the best improved ranches in this region. He also deeded this property to his wife before he went to Canon City to begin serving his sentence of from seven to ten years.
An artesian well on the Bee Hive ranch cost Blonger $10,000 to build. The farm comprises seventy-five acres, fifty-five of which are planted to cherry and plum orchards. The owner used to keep a famous "cherry list." He never sold any of the fruit, giving it away in two and three-crate lots to such of his acquaintances or persons or charitable institutions whose names had been given him for the list by friends.
Sold Real Estate for $25,000.
Two years ago Blonger sold a real estate parcel at the northeast corner of Broadway and Larimer street to the McMurtry Manufacturing company for $25,000.
The roundup of the bunko clique attracted nationwide attention. After months of investigation thirty-four members of the band of international swindlers were arrested. Their trial began Feb. 5, 1923; twenty members of the ring, including Blonger, were convicted March 28, after the jury deliberated more than 102 hours; the men were sentenced June 1 and Blonger began serving time at Canon City Oct. 18 last.
Mrs. Blonger, who lives at 1540 Grant street, and Mr. Blonger were married here more than thirty years ago. Surviving Lou, besides his wife, are three brothers, Michael, who lives on a farm near Shullsburg, Wis.; Joseph, in an old soldiers' home in one of the Dakotas; and Marvin, engaged in mining near Butte, Mon.; and a sister, Mrs. Mary Swinbank, Shullsburg, Wis. Michael is 83 years old.
Blonger's will, held by the law firm, Morrissey, Mahoney & Schofield, will be probated in the next few weeks, the attorneys said this morning. The will leaves Blonger's little remaining property to his wife. Most of his real estate is now covered by federal and state government liens for the collection of income taxes and costs of his conviction in the state case. These may be held up indefinitely for settlement.
Rocky Mountain News, April 23, 1924
Blonger Will be Buried at Fairmount Despite Request for Mount Olivet Grave.
Widow Is Left Entire Property in Will of Bunko Gang Leader Who Breathed Last in Prison.
Despite the fact that Lou Blonger, convicted "king" of Denver's million dollar bunko ring, who died in the state penitentiary Sunday, expressed the wish in his will that he be buried in Mount Olivet cemetery, arrangements are practically completed for his interment at Fairmount Cemetery.
Preparations for the funeral, to be held this morning are being made by officials of the W. P. Horan mortuary, 1527 Cleveland place, under orders of Mrs. Blonger.
Mrs. Blonger was shown her husband's will, which was lodged in County court yesterday, but made no move to have the burial place changed. At Fairmount cemetery it is planned to bury him in the Blonger family lot, where Sam Blonger, his brother and intimate associate for sixty years is buried. The brother died ten years ago.
Funeral services are to begin at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 9 o'clock. The pallbearers will be old friends of the deceased, including comrades of the civil war period.
Yesterday afternoon the body lay in state in the Horan chapel. Scores of old-time friends viewed the body during the afternoon and early evening.
In his very brief will, which was drawn in the penitentiary by Attorney John J. Morrissey of Denver, March 24, Blonger instructed that all his property, both real and personal, should go to his widow, after all just debts had been paid.
It provides that the widow be allowed to serve as executrix of the estate without giving bond.
The estate consists of only a few scattered parcels, all of which are covered by state and federal government liens. All the aged man's unencumbered property was deeded to his wife prior to his removal to the penitentiary. The remainder has been filed against for collection of federal taxes, costs of his prosecution in the state courts, and recently John S. Peck of Kentucky, one of the bunko victims, obtained a $17,000 judgment against Blonger. A suit is now pending in Jefferson County to set aside the conveyance of his orchard, located near Golden, to Mrs. Blonger. Just what the entire estate is valued at is not known, but will be announced at the time the will is present for probate.
Plans to push Blonger's Supreme court appeal and carry on his fight for vindication, even after his death, are being made by his attorney, it was said. If the appeal is carried on, it may enable fifteen others of the bunko ring to obtain the benefit of any decision that may be handed down in behalf of their former leader.