April 27, 2012

Samuel H. Blonger's grave found.

Samuel H. Blonger
1839 -1914
(photo: Scotti McCarthy)

 have always believed that if the Blonger brothers, the successors to Soapy Smith's throne in Denver, learned anything from Soapy, it was to keep a low profile. It is perhaps the number one reason why Soapy did not retire in Denver a very rich man. Still, he lasted a good 10-ten year run as an underworld leader.

The Blonger brothers, Lou and Sam, were able to stay out of violent trouble, thus out of the newspapers and held on to the reins of power in Denver for some 25-years. They were so successful that historians had little luck in finding a lot of information on them. To the point of not knowing what Sam Blonger looked like!

The lack of information on the Blonger's is changing, thanks to their descendants, Scott and Craig Johnson, who have worked diligently to uncover the history. The boys also happen to be our good neighbors over on the Blongerbros.com blog and Blongerbros.com website. I have had the pleasure numerous times of working with them on mysteries involving their interactions with Soapy previous to 1896.

Recently Scott uncovered Sam's grave site. He did so by going back to a place he had checked years prior; Find-A-Grave. It's a damn good policy and it's one I adhere to as well. Following is what Scott had to say on their blog after finding the grave site (see photo at top).

We’d been looking for Sam for nine years — he was the only Blonger whose final resting place had not been determined. But apparently we weren’t looking nearly hard enough. Turns out this photo has been on the Find-a-Grave web site for the last three years, thanks to researcher Scotti McCarthy. For some reason (that I needn’t bother to figure out at this point), I thought Sam was buried in Fairmount Cemetery in an unmarked grave. Instead, he’s in historic Riverside Cemetery, north of downtown. I will visit him this summer. In addition to answering the lingering mystery of Sam’s location, it also prompted me to set up a “virtual cemetery” of Blongers on the Find-a-Grave web site. Neat idea, and one that I hope to build out some more in the future.

Now if we could just find a picture, or even a drawing, of this guy.

The Blonger's
April 15, 2012
April 1, 2012
March 15, 2012
September 3, 2010
January 2, 2009

Blonger's: pp. 10, 63, 80-81, 90, 171, 176-77, 207, 257.
Lou Blonger: pp. 273, 324, 357-58, 370-71, 373-74, 384, 398-99, 588.
Sam Blonger: pp. 260, 269-70, 573.

1805: A force led by U.S. Marines captures the city of Derna, on the shores of Tripoli.
1813: Americans under Gen. Pike capture York (present day Toronto) the seat of government in Ontario. 1861: U.S. President Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus.
1861: West Virginia secedes from Virginia after Virginia secedes from the Union at the start of the American Civil War.
1863: The Army of the Potomac begins the march on Chancellorsville.
1865: The worst steamship disaster in U.S. history occurs when the Sultana, carrying approximately 2,300 passengers, the majority being freed Union POWs, explodes on the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tennessee. Neither the cause of the explosion nor the final count of the dead (estimated at between 1,450 and 2,000) is ever fully determined. The Sultana disaster remains the worst of its kind.
1870: J. L. Compton and Joseph Wilson, found guilty of robbery and murder in Helena, Montana Territory, are the last to be hanged on the “Hangman's Tree.”
1872: The James-Younger Gang robs the Deposit Bank in Columbia, Kentucky.
1880: Francis Clarke and M.G. Foster patent the electric hearing aid.
1887: The Southern Pacific's westbound No. 20 train is robbed of $5,000 in Arizona Territory. The messenger, Charles Smith, manages to stash another $5,000 in the potbellied stove of the Wells Fargo car.
1897: Deceased ex-President Grant's Tomb is dedicated.

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