The Belonger Name

Slogging through the 150 or so pages of Joe’s military pension file, a curious exchange appears. In 1913, as Joe struggled to have the government grant him a pension increase, he was tasked with proving his identity to the pension authority. To do this he turned to the Belonger family bible, the same bible, I […]

Utoy Creek

Finally put two and two together! Joe was hospitalized on August 6, 1864. On that same date, the 25th Michigan Infantry was attached to Schofield’s Army of the Ohio. A much smaller Confederate force under Hood’s command was securely ensconced in the wooded hills around Utoy Creek, and they were the only thing standing between […]

The Bélangers

Here is a photographic exercise for you. Augustin, the gentleman pictured here, never worked for the Blonger brothers, never drank with them, was never swindled by them, never took a bribe from them or investigated them. In his entire life he probably never heard their names once and he almost certainly never met any of […]

Julia Belonger Located

The six Blonger brothers also had three sisters: Elizabeth, who apparently died unmarried, Mary, the youngest and mother of five, and Julia, born second after Simon. We know that Julia had seven children by a man named Revoir, and that they disappeared from the public record when they moved east in 1892. Now we know […]

Tony Neis, Detective

Harold Gordon was kind enough to share this find of his, a business card he discovered in a collection of Victorian-era Masonic calling cards. Tony Neis was the man who recruited Sam and Lou into the Rocky Mountain Detective Association when he established an Albuquerque office in 1882. Their membership in the group appears to […]

Lou’s First Wife, Emma Loring, Located at Last

We’ve learned a great deal about the Blonger brothers’ various wives and mistresses—Sam’s mercurial relationship with prostitute Sadie Wilson, Joe’s ill-fated attraction to the Widow Viles, and Lou’s unusual arrangement with mistress Iola Readon among them. Lou’s first wife Emma Loring, however, remained a cypher, until now. Don’t be surprised the beautiful young woman above […]

Off To The Races

We may have a new candidate for the Grafters Club, and it’s been a long time. Friday, October 30, 1885 was a fine day for a horse race in Dodge City. A large crowd was in attendance, with money to burn, and the judges were top notch – a Mr. Blonger (who we will assume […]

Sam’s Life Box

Hot damn, a new mystery! In June of 1902, a journalist in Buffalo, New York decided he needed to put in a good word for his old pal, Bat Masterson. Only weeks before, Masterson had left Denver under a dark cloud, and now he was making a go of it in New York City. New […]

Mysteries at the Museum, Part II

It was great to see the show. Lou has been written about many, many times over the years in non-fiction books on confidence games, famous criminals, criminal psychology and the like. He’s even made an appearance in several works of fiction, always the slimy, obese mobster. But never on the screen, big or small. So, […]

Mysteries at the Museum, Part I

Lou has finally made his television debut, and here he is: (The actor looks familiar, but I can’t seem to find a credit for the part.) A few months ago Scott and I were contacted by the staff of Mysteries at the Museum, a Travel Channel program that examines the history behind various historical objects […]