Sam and The Politics of Office.
Sam Blonger served as deputy sheriff of Bernalillo County and city marshal of New Albuquerque from February till July of 1882.
The job of city marshal was often a political appointment by the sheriff. Turnover was high, and the job was not immune to the fury of local politics. Sam was no exception.
It has been suggested in several places that Albuquerque at this time was a corrupt place, under the influence of bunco artists, and teeming with criminals. Evidence seems to bear this out.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, February 2, 1882
Sheriff Armijo, at the request of numerous business men, yesterday appointed Sam Blonger deputy sheriff, with the expectation that he will act as marshal in the new town in the place of J.C. Allen. Mr. Blonger has had considerable experience in official work in the west, and there is no doubt he will make a good and efficient officer. Mr. Allen intends leaving for his former home in Illinois to visit the old folks. He has made a good officer and he has many friends who regret that he has resigned his position.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, February 3, 1882
A Peddler who Claims to Have a Grievance.
Last evening Tom Henry, a direct descendant of Abraham and a traveling peddler by occupation called at this office with a serious grievance. He had a territorial license giving him the right to travel and sell his commodities all over the land of the Montezumas. Yesterday he was accosted by Sam Blonger, the new city marshal, and told that the license was not good, and he was taken up stairs into one of the offices and told that if he would pay $4.25 he would be let off. He was given the following receipt:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Feb. 2, 1882.
Received from Sam Blonger the sum of $4.25 for fees.
S. H. BLONGER
Going to the old town Mr. Henry called on Major Melchior Werner, and was told that the license was good.
This action of Marshal Blonger has a bad look on its face and he will do well to clear it up. Not for a single moment will the people of this town stand any such crooked action on the part of its officers, as this would indicate.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, February 4, 1882
The Peddler Who Claimed to Have been Swindled by the Marshal Takes the Cake.
The Israelite who kicked up such a row about Marshal Blonger is no doubt a crank, or a regular old-fashioned liar. He told us one thing Thursday night, and yesterday he handed us the following, which tells an entirely different story which we think it but fair to Marshal Blonger to publish:
In examining the article in your paper of yesterday, I find that I perverted the facts. Mr. Blonger, the efficient marshal, never received a cent from me, nor do I hold it receipt from him as stated in your paper, and am very sorry that the whole matter was misunderstood.
The peddler goes by two different names, Henry and Sugar. His license is for Henry, and all goods are shipped to Sugar. Everything looks as if the peddler was an accomplished liar of the first water.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, February 8, 1882
[At a meeting of the Board of Trade:]
The question of the marshalship being broached, a petition and subscription to Sheriff Armijo, urging the appointment of Jacob Brenning as marshal in place of Samuel Blonger, now holding the position. On motion, a committee of three was appointed to wait on the sheriff with the petition. Committee C. R. Williams, J. W. Mass, Mariano Armijo.
This committee was also requested to aid in securing additional subscriptions
to the salary of the marshal, and that they see that he gives a good bond.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, February 9, 1882
The marshal question is what seems to be the principal subject of conversation about town. There is a petition in circulation, which asks Sheriff Armijo to appoint Jacob Brennan, as deputy, to act as marshal. Those who have signed this paper are opposed to the present incumbent, S. H. Blonger. It is necessary that two men be on the duty, as the work which the office requires is much more than any one man can attend to, and there is no reason why both of these men cannot work together in harmony. As yet Marshal Blonger has done nothing in his official capacity deserving of censure, and it is but right that he be given a trial. To fill the position creditably a man must have had experience. We understand that Mr. Brennan is a good man; he certainly has excellent backing. It is a hard thing to find a man for the position who will please everybody, and as he must be paid by voluntary subscriptions from the citizens he must be acceptable to a large majority of the business men, if he receives proper remuneration for his services.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, February 10, 1882
In conversation with Sheriff Armijo last night we learned that it was his intention to appoint Celso Gutierres as deputy sheriff to do duty as marshal in New Albuquerque. He will also appoint Jacob Brennan when the petition is presented to him by the board of trade committee. He thinks that the town has grown to such dimensions that it is necessary that at least three men be employed for police duty, and he is perfectly willing to appoint any good man that the citizens recommend. Marshal Blonger is to be retained, contrary to the expectations and wishes of quite a number of citizens. The sheriff takes a practical common sense view of the whole question and will try to satisfy all concerned, and if he can't accomplish this by the appointment of one man he will appoint more. He has everything to say in the matter, and as long as he entertains the views he holds at present the best citizens will endorse anything he may do.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, March 16, 1882
Last night a number of the friends of S. H. Blonger assembled at the White House, and, catching that gentleman there between the hours of 9 and 10, conducted him to the restaurant, in the rear of the building. Charlie Montaldo stepped forward, and, in the names of the friends of the marshal presented him with a handsome gold badge. The badge was made by P. E. Curran, of this city, and will be an appropriate ornament to the vest front of our efficient marshal. Mr. Blonger thanked the donors for their handsome present, and expressed himself as greatly pleased to learn that the citizens and business men of Albuquerque were satisfied with the manner in which he had performed his duty as an officer, and said that he would do all in his power in the future to merit a continuance of their approval and support. Several bottles of Mumm's extra dry(®) were then brought in and all united in drinking to the health of the most efficient officer New Albuquerque has ever had.
Albuquerque Evening Review, March 16, 1882
For some time past the friends of Marshal Blonger, who are many and appreciative, have been talking over a little scheme whereby he might be shown that his worth was acknowledged. Their consultation resulted in an invitation being extended to the marshal "to meet a party of his friends in the White House dining room on police business," and nothing suspecting, he walked in last night at the appointed time, finding himself surrounded by friends.
As spokesman for the party, Charley Montaldo then advanced and presented the surprised officer, in the name of his friends there assembled, a beautiful gold badge in the form of a shield, suspended from a scroll, on the latter being engraved the words: "Presented to Sam Blonger," and on the shield, "Marshal New Albuquerque."
The recipient accepted the badge, and in a few feeling words expressed his thanks, after which the party sat down to an appetizing lunch, accompanied by frequent libations of Mumm's Extra Dry, furnished by Charley Montaldo.
The badge is one of the handsomest the reporter has ever seen, and there is probably no one who better deserves such a token of esteem from our citizens than Marshal Sam Blonger, who is one of the most efficient officers in the territory, and certainly the best marshal New Albuquerque ever had.
Marshal Blonger found out to-day that badge was a birth-day present. He was thirty-five years old yesterday.
NOTE: He was actually 43.
Albuquerque Evening Review, May 8, 1882
Deputy Sheriff Sam Blonger announces to the reports of THE REVIEW that they need expect no more news from him and that his efforts hereafter will be directed to keeping such information as he may command from this paper. This is gratifying. Hereafter, criminal news published by THE REVIEW will be more reliable. It may be interesting for some to know that Mr. Blonger's dislike of this paper dates from the discharge of a reporter who was formerly weak enough and fond enough of liquid and nicotan [sic] stimulants to espouse the cause of the officer whenever a dark-looking case came before the public, and the fact is probably of the same degree of interest that this reporter is now employed at the Journal. THE REVIEW is published as a newspaper, and any of its reporters who suppress the news will be promptly scut over to the Journal office with a letter of recommendation.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, May 10, 1882
The exhibition of wantoness displayed on one of the public streets yesterday,
was revolting in the extreme, and a due consideration of the subject shows that
something must be done to enforce common decency in our city, to protect ladies
from insult and oust that class of people who are of no use whatever but a
nuisance to society. When we reflect this this turbulent element is expected to
be kept in subjection by one officer, the city marshal, for there is no other
one on duty in the east end, it can readily be seen that such a thing is beyond
the power of one man. He must have rest, and while he is off duty the rabble may
ply their nefarious games with impunity. Now the question arises what is to be
done to remedy this unsatisfactory state of affairs. The only solution of the
problem that presents itself calls for immediate action on the part of our
citizens to raise funds and employ additional police force.
There is an element in this city which, if given an inch, would ride over all
rules of decency and law. They must be made to feel that the law has a powerful
hole [sic] upon them or they will take it upon themselves to trample upon
the right of respectable people. The present city marshal is deserving of praise
for his efforts to preserve order in the city and enforce the law, but as we
before remarked, it is requiring too much of one man.
Albuquerque Evening Review, May 11, 1882
Deputy Sheriff Blonger's employes, who are temporarily employed by the Journal to decrease its circulation among respectable people, had a word to say yesterday to the effect that the officer was greatly overworked and needed assistance in the performances of his arduous duties. This is a very neat bit of sarcasm, coming from the Journal, although the point made was evidently entirely unintentional. What is Mr. Blonger's arduous duty and how is it performed? Everybody knows that it is not hunting for dangerous characters or criminals. The Journal states that the people of Albuquerque appreciates this deputy sheriff's services. So they do, but they do not appreciate them as the Journal does. There is a wide difference between what the Journal says and what the people think.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, May 12, 1882
Elsewhere in this issue will be seen the card of Marshal Blonger. When we consider the source of the charges preferred against him we are surprised that he should take any notice of it. As far as the reporter knows Marshal Blonger has given entire satisfaction as marshal of the town and we have never heard of an instance where he has failed to uphold the law and discharge his duty as an officer, except in the one he alludes to in his card.
Inasmuch as the dirty quill driver on the twilight sees fit to attack me in my official character, I take this occasion to make a statement. I know that a refutation of any charge which may emanate from that source would not be accredited by the old residents of this city, who are familiar with the reputation of the writer, but there are others, not acquainted with him, who might be induced to believe what he says, and for that reason only I appear in this card. He charges me with non-performance of duty as marshal of this city. If there is one respectable man out of a hundred in Albuquerque who says that I have neglected my duty, then let him come forward and I will resign the office. In my recollection there is only one instance where I have omitted to carry out the requirements of my position, and that was when I failed to arrest Saunders, local of the evening sheet, on one of his drunken sprees, when he drew his pistol, indulged in indecent language and otherwise made himself obnoxious to the community. During that same spree he visited one of the houses of ill fame in this city and conducted himself in such a way that the proprietress of the place had him put out of the door.
A short time ago an item appeared in the JOURNAL stating that I had, in performance of my official duty, closed up the "Gem," a notorious house of ill fame. On the face of this the sundown sheet attacks me, and has kept it up ever since. But, anterior to this, on March 16, on mentioning the presentation of a badge to me, by the citizens of Albuquerque, he said:
"The badge is one of the handsomest the reporter has ever seen, and there is probably no one who better deserves such a token of esteem from our citizens than Marshal Sam Blonger, who is one of the most efficient officers in the territory, and certainly the best marshal New Albuquerque ever had."
This is the last time I shall take notice of anything that may appear in that obscure sheet, and if any man
of standing will prefer and substantiate the charge of non performance of duty
as a city official, then I will step down and out. Respectfully,
Albuquerque Evening Review, May 12, 1882
A card written by E. M. Bernard and signed by Marshal Sam Blonger appeared in this morning's Journal. Mr. Bernard is the gentleman who was referred to by THE REVIEW a few days since as having been discharged from this paper.
When Deputy Sheriff Blonger takes snuff now, the Journal sneezes. This, for a paper which a month ago had an opinion on the Chinese question, is something of a fall.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, July 8, 1882
S. H. Blonger, the city marshal, leaves this morning for Kansas City to be absent about ten days.
Albuquerque Evening Review, July 10, 1882
Sam H. Blonger and Lou Blonger were yesterday discharged from the positions of deputy sheriffs by Sheriff Perfecto Armijo. Sam Blonger is now on his way east, and Lou Blonger yesterday turned over the keys to the jail to the sheriff. Equipulo Romero, Corenlio [Cornelius] Murphy and Archie Hilton now compose the number of deputy sheriffs with the addition of C. T. Priest, who has just been appointed to one of the vacant positions.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, July 11, 1882
Sheriff Armijo yesterday revoked the appointment of S. H. Blonger as deputy sheriff. Archie Hilton is to act as city marshal of new town in his stead, while Murphy and Romero will continue on the force as police men. No reason for the change has been given. Whatever else may be said of Sam Blonger, he has made the best marshal Albuquerque has ever had. The position is one in which it is impossible for any man to give universal satisfaction, and no one who holds it should expect to do so. If Archie Hilton does near as well as his predecessor, he will meet with the approval of the great majority of the better class of citizens. For a long time Hilton has acted as marshal in old town, and so far as can be learned has given satisfaction. That he will do the same in his new position is the earnest wish of the JOURNAL.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, July 18, 1882
S. H. Blonger returned from Kansas City Sunday night, having stopped off at La Junta, and visited Pueblo on his way back. Immediately after his arrival he sought Sheriff Armijo and had a talk with him, regarding the marshalship. The sheriff told him of the turn affairs had taken as soon as he left for the east, and he said that he took the course he did only as a temporary measure and to quite the complaints which were being made against the absent marshal.
The sheriff authorized the JOURNAL to state that he offered to reinstate Mr. Blonger in his old position, but that offer was declined with thanks by that gentleman. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Blonger does not care to have the place while there is any opposition to him. It is supported by voluntary subscriptions and unless every one contributes the place is not worth having.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, July 28, 1882
Quite a number of prominent business men and others think that Sam Blonger should be reinstated in the office of marshal and they are taking actions with that end in view. Blonger, while marshal, made an excellent officer and the interests of the town would be furthered if he was reappointed.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, August 3, 1882
A petition was circulated yesterday and signed by nearly every business man in town, asking Sheriff Armijo to appoint S. H. Blonger as a deputy sheriff and reinstate him in the position of marshal. It is hoped that the sheriff will grant the prayer of the petitioners. Mr. Blonger makes an excellent officer and will do good work if given the position.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, August 6, 1882
The petition which was so numerously signed by the principal business men of the town asking for the reappointment of S. H. Blonger to the position of marshal was presented to the sheriff yesterday and he refused to grant the prayer of the petitioners.
Albuquerque Evening Review, August 7, 1882
The petition asking the reappointment of S. H. Blonger as deputy sheriff of
Bernalillo county and marshal of the west end has been presented to Sheriff
Perfecto Armijo. The sheriff stated that he had considered the whole matter of
Blonger's connection with the police force before he removed that officer, and
that as no reason had been presented to him to change the conclusion at which he
had then arrived, he could not grant the request.