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The Famous Blonger Bros.


January, 2004


New stuff turns up through Dogpile:

Scott also makes contact with the South Dakota State Veterans Home about Joe's possible time there, and with Robert K. De Arment, author of Bat Masterson: The Man and the Legend. The book makes brief mention of Sam and Lou gambling in Dodge City in 1878, and we're curious about his source material. More later, we hope.


Imagine that. Research on the Kitty Blonger trial in Arizona reveals the arrival, a scant two days after the murder, of one "L. Blonger" of California. While there is undoubtedly more to find, we now feel confident Kitty fits into the family tree somewhere. Newspaper articles include testimony given at trial and paint a fairly vivid snapshot of life in the fast lane in 1888. Poor, deluded girl.


The South Dakota Veterans Home did not have a patient named Joe Belonger. Too bad. It would have been handy to place him in the area.

It has also been stated that Joe spent time in a veteran's home in Los Angeles. We're looking into this now.


Sawtelle Disabled Veterans Home in California had a Joe Belonger. We'll be hearing from them soon.


An 1887 affidavit from Lou regarding his military pension puts it plainly:

In the year 1866, after leaving the Hospital I was with my Father at his residence in Shullsburgh Wis in 1867 was at 222 Park Avenue Chicago where I was sent by my Bro to Bryants Station (?) Business College, in 1868 was with my brother at Mt Carroll Ill.

In 1869 went with my Bro to Red Oak, Iowa.

In 1870 went with my Brother to Utah was with him until 1875 resided at Dry Cannon (?), Stockton and Salt Lake. During those years, at Salt Lake was treated by Dr. Hamilton for varicose veins and ulcers in left leg.

In the fall of 75 went with my Brother to Virginia City, Nevada. In 76, went with my Bro to Cornucopia Nev, in 77 to Tuscarora Nev where I was treated by Dr. Deal for varicose vein. Have been unable to find present residence of Dr Deal

In 78 went with my Bro to Silver Reef, Utah and same year back to Salt Lake where I was again treated for same trouble by Dr. Hambelton [sic]. Was in Salt Lake until 79. Then I went to Leadville Colo where I resided with my Bro until 81. And was treated by Dr. Gumbess (?) who is since deceased

In 81 went to Albuquerque New Mexico I resided with my Bro until 1883 was treated by Dr Kimbell for varicose vein in left leg Dr Kimbell address Colridge Kansas.

Since 83 until the present time here resided with Frank Thurmond at Silver City, Deming and Kingston New Mexico. And here been treated in that time by Dr. Innes, Kingston New Mexico and by Dr. McGuire, of same place present Post Office address Kingston Sierra Co New Mexico

And I further state that from the year 1868 until 1883 I was with my Bro as above stated and under his care and support wholly unable to perform manual labor & support myself. Since I have been with Mr. Thurmond as above stated. I have but partially supported myself, and at present have no employment and am wholly unable to support myself by labor.

My disability occurred as follows. While marching with my Regiment Co. B 142 Reg't Ills Vols from Memphis Tenn, to White Oak Station from the fatigue of the march and a fall, I injured my left leg from which the varicose veins was the result. That my disability has been continuous from that time to the present date.

Kingston, New Mexico
Nov 5th, 1887
Louis H. Blonger

In this one document, an affidavit for a military disability claim, Lou has detailed his movements (and Sam's, to an extent) between the time they left Shullsburg and the time they settled in Denver, the boomtown years of 1867 to 1887. A clearer picture of the Blonger Tour suddenly takes shape.

We generally consider the information he provides here to be truthful and accurate. As such, Deadwood and Dodge City drop unceremoniously from the list. We still have reason to believe they spent time in Dodge City, though perhaps not as residents, but just as visiting gamblers. So I'm leaving it on the tour.

And now we add Virginia City, Silver City, and few other small towns to the research list.

Of course, this provisionally confirms that Sam, Lou and Joe were together in Albuquerque, 1881 to 1883. Sam's lawman story may stick after all.

Additionally, Lou states that he and Sam were not together between 1883 and 1887, at least. Sam was in Leadville, Denver and environs during this time.

Interesting to note that Lou successfully collected a pension for his varicose veins. Michael, on the other hand, who we now know developed a heart condition at the Battle of Winchester, Virginia (after which he fought at Cedar Mountain and Antietam), had nothing but trouble over the years trying to collect his pittance.

In other news, details on Sam's 1865 California land deal indicate that the 160 acres north of Sacramento were originally a government land grant to Mormon patriarch Lyman L. Woods. At some point he signed this land over to Sam. Why? What kind of real estate was it/is it? We know the coordinates, and that it is between Sacramento and Marysville, California.

January, 2004



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