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January 2005


Interesting footnotes on the Battle of Bull Hill A contemporary source tells us that the improvised fort constructed atop the hill by unionists had "cannons" made of logs pointed down at the town of Victor, and a contraption that flung beer bottles filled with dynamite at their opponent's below.

The miners also sent a flatcar loaded with explosives down the hill toward the mercenaries from Denver. Unfortunately, it jumped the tracks and blew two cows to smithereens.


Denver's 1882 Ascension Like Albuquerque, Denver had a balloon ascension as part of its July Fourth celebration in 1882. Piloted by the redoubtable Prof. Brayton, the Belle of Denver lifted off from the fair grounds before a crowd of some 2000 people. The following tells us why two reporters remained earthbound, contrary to expectations:

Belle of Denver, 1882
Why They Didn't Go Up.
Clarke and Tilden, the two newspaper reporters who announced that they would ascend with Brayton, were not, as was generally supposed, restrained by the fear of any evil consequences to themselves. Both were on hand before the balloon ascended and had an earnest consultation with Prof. Brayton. Each of them was provided with a vast amount of baggage, evidently expecting that the journey would be a very long one, probably to some European country. Clarke was provided with a volume entitled "Ten Modern Languages in Ten Easy Lessons."
"Why gentlemen," said Prof. Brayton, "it is preposterous to expect this balloon to ascend with three men and so much or indeed any unnecessary baggage."
Each brave jouranlist looked at his pile and began to cast about as to what could be dispensed with.
"I would like to take this ulster," said Tilden, "as it has often been put up without experiencing any inconvenience from the weight, but I suppose I'll have to get along without it."
With this the coat was stripped from the remainder of the baggage which stood revealed in all its native simplicity — a stout demijohn.
"I have been prejudiced against aeronauts since Donalson is said to have thrown Grimwood over into Lake Michigan, and I would like to take this little howitzer with me," said Clarke, "but I will be content with a dirk. I am also convinced of the advisability of taking this tent along and the cooking stove, but as they are in the way of luxuries, here they go," and he threw them one side. Another huge demijohn was revealed by this.
"Gentlemen," said Prof. Brayton, "I fully appreciate the concessions you have made, and I only regret that I cannot carry your baths with a balloon of this size, and I know that you will readily yield to the discomfort of going without them. Remember we may not be up more than a month and many persons have been known to go without bathing even longer than this without suffering any great injury."
"'B-a-t-h-s'" exclaimed both at once, "why just take a nip of that and see what sort of bath it would make. Reg'lar old sour mash."
"I had a cut of pie wrapped up in that tent," said Clarke, "and I have willingly set it aside. I am now willing to compromise the matter of the whisky by taking only three gallons." This was said with the air of a man who was willing to do almost anything for the purpose of not being considered a kicker.
"I would like," said Tilden, "to be equally obliging but I could not dream of starting on so long a journey with so small a quantity of the necessary of life. Five gallons is my ultimatum."
Prof. Brayton argued with the men for a further reduction in the quantity of spirits, but unavailingly. They had drawn the line at the quantities named and would not be content with less, and the aeronaut was obliged to go alone.

Fridge, 1882


This tidbit was in the July 4, 1882 edition of the Rocky Mountain News. Just a Denver snapshot. Con men had to be thick as mosquitos in downtown Denver for decades.

Some Gamblers Arrested.
Chief Lomery, in accordance with his proclamation to close the Turf Exchange gambling rooms some time ago, yesterday ordered the arrest of all men found playing there. Officer Tom O'Connor was detailed to make the arrests. He found F.X. Suler, Al Williams and Thomas Lee playing and placed them all under arrest. The men are all said to be bunko steerers and "sun thing men." They have been under police surveillance for a long time.

Right beside this article was the following ad for Big Ed Chase's Palace Theater:

Palace Theater ad


Scott found a few tidbits on a recent trip to Arizona, including a decent photocopy of the 1882 Albuquerque Evening Review "Downed At Last" article that briefly discusses the Earp posse's stay in Albuquerque. There are a couple of competing transcriptions of this piece, so perhaps this will settle the matter.

Also, today Scott received photocopies of the court minutes on jury selection in the Kitty Blonger murder trial. Records of the actual trial should be in Kingman, AZ, so it's only a matter of time before we get hold of those.


Kitty Blonger Murder Trial Transcripts from Kitty Blonger's jury selection have been posted. Special thanks to Nancy Sawyer at the Arizona State Archives.

Not terribly interesting. We do see Kitty affirm that her name is Blonger. So, again, where's the connection? In Arizona, in 1888, Blonger has to be our Blonger. But Joe and Lou's military pension questionnaires seem to rule her out as a spouse; Sam was still officially married to Ella in Denver.

If she was a common law wife, would she testify that Blonger was her real name? Who knows?


Marshal Sam & Frank James Here's a new article from the Las Vegas NM Optic on the subject of Sam's confrontation with the notorious "Frank James." Turned out to be Al Hood of Las Vegas, of the San Miguel national bank. We had an Albuquerque article on the arrest, but this one tells it from a slightly different perspective.

He is Mistaken for Frank James in Albuquerque.
Our town man, A. G. Hood, of the San Miguel national bank, had an experience in Albuquerque the other day that he will not soon forget. Several days ago he packed his grip and boarded the south-bound train for the purpose of establishing a telephone exchange in Chihuahua, Mexico. Meeting a number of old acquaintances in Albuquerque, Al. concluded to spend a day in renewing former friendships, but hardly had he deposited his baggage at the Armijo before rumor began to float around that the notorious Frank James, brother of Jesse James, was in town. Crowds collected in the saloons and on the street corners to discuss the matter and devise some means of capturing the famous outlaw without unnecessary loss of life, for all were familiar with the desperate character of the meek-looking stranger. The report spread, as only such rumors can, and in an inconceivable space of time the sheriff of the county with his deputies, and the city marshal with about fifty solid citizens, all armed with Winchesters and shot guns, surrounded the Armijo house where the supposed bandit was stopping and demanded his surrender. Scott Moore by this time appeared on the scene, and, being told by the sheriff that he was entertaining the most bloodthirsty of living outlaws, fled to the old town and has not been seen since. After consuming almost an hour in demanding that Fran come out and give himself up, without avail, the marshal, backed by twelve picked men, boldly entered the hotel office with level guns.
The clerk stood behind the counter, shivering and speechless, but the hunted fugitive was not to be seen. Cautiously advancing, a break for the saloon was made, and there, all unconscious of the excitement he had created, stood Al. alias Frank leaning upon the bar quietly sipping lemon and sugar. "Throw up your hands!" thundered the marshal, and instantly twenty cocked guns were pointed at his head. The command was obeyed and as strong hands seized him Hood thought his time had come. A thorough search into his pockets, boots and hat brought forth only a jack-knife and a cork screw and then it dawned upon the victorious marshal that possibly he was mistaken. Hood protested against such treatment, asking what he had done and when told that he had been arrested for Frank James, it is said that he swooned and fell into Johnny Campbell's arms. Explanations followed, Hood's identity was established, the marshal and the posse looked disappointed and chagrined, and Scott Moore's bar had the biggest day of the season.

January 2005



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