Joe Finally Shows His Face

Well, new information has been scant in recent months, but yesterday Scott turned on the spigot. Several new items from are now in the pipe, and one in particular that solves a longstanding mystery.

But first, since we were just talking about him behind his back, let’s briefly get back to Little Big Joe Blonger.

For what it’s worth, I feel a particular bond with Joe, the worn out old scout and prospector, and I’ve always been disappointed I couldn’t put a face to the character I’ve spent so much with over the last few years.

Frankly, Joe’s position in this story particularly lends itself to the duties of the narrator, and I sorely wanted to be able to see the man telling his stories, hopefully with a visage worthy of Eastwood, or HBO, at least.

Nevertheless, I was fully prepared that we might never find a photograph. I was incorrect. The following is from the Denver Post, September 13, 1912. I give you Uncle Joe Blonger.

 Joe Blonger

Isn’t he cute? He’s exactly what I would want from a genial old prospector.

Of course, we knew about the bullet, from an AP wire service article just two sentences in length, from the Armstrong account, and Joe’s pension records. But this article was long enough to answer another question, about Joe’s service with the 25th Michigan Infantry. Had Joe returned to service after his wound, possibly accompanying Sherman on his march to the sea?

Though he did muster out with his regiment, it sounds as though he did not return to action after his injury. It’s also interesting to hear that, despite chronic discomfort, Joe feared the surgeons more, and opted to stick with his little lead companion.

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