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Blonger Brothers
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Blonger Brothers

There were five brothers; Simon, Sam, Michael, Lou and Marvin all hailing from Swanton, Vermont. Two of the 5, Sam and Lou made their mark in the Old West as Gamblers, Business Owners and Con Men.

Presented here is an overview of their lives. For a more detailed account go to Blongerbros.com. There you can also learn about the other brothers.

The Blongers are but another example of Old West Legends lost to time.

Sam Blonger, born in 1839, was the biggest Blonger at 6'-3". He went west by wagon train in 1858 and hauled freight over the Sierra Nevada. Said to have scouted and fought Indians alongside Buffalo Bill Cody. Returned home to the Midwest after the war, then back west with younger brother Lou to seek fortune. Teamed with Lou in dozens of towns across the West, including Virginia City, Tuscarora, Salt Lake City, and Albuquerque. As a lawman in Colorado, he lost an eye in a gunfight; for the rest of his life he always wore blue-tinted glasses. Married three times; only son Frank died at age 15. Followed the boom to Leadville in the late 1870s and lost election to succeed Horace A. W. Tabor as mayor in 1879, then went south with Lou and served as City Marshal of New Albuquerque. Settled in Denver in the late 1880s, but continued to run mines at Cripple Creek until late in life. Prominent gambler and racing afficianado, probably an expert swindler as well. Died in 1914.


Lou Blonger, born in 1849, was a fast-talking, quick-thinking man who got things done, sometimes,too well. He enlisted in the Union Army at age 15 as a fifer. Hitched his wagon to older brother Sam's star and went west to seek fortune. Supplied drinks, gambling, and entertainment in the boomtowns of Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado during the 1870s and 1880s. Gambled and hobnobbed with western legends like the Earps, Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, Frank Thurmond and Lottie Deno. Served as a Deputy Marshal in New Albuquerque under his brother Sam, and protected Earp and Holliday for a few days as Acting Marshal. Settled in Denver in the 1880s and ran saloons and policy shops on Larimer Street and later Stout Street. Along with Sam, owned various valuable mining claims over the years. Influenced elections and political appointments, and developed a protection racket that shielded Denver con men from prosecution until 1922, when the operation was shut down by a district attorney. Convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud, he died in prison in 1924.