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December 2006

12/2/2006

A few more, from Scott:

Kid Fay

We've seen his testimony before in the Mohave Miner. But this is the Epitath. Fay was the son of a prominent Arizona publisher, living the gambler lifestyle. A tinhorn, I would think.

Tombstone Epitath, March 3, 1888

DAYTON FAY IN HOC
Dayton Fay, son of A. E. Fay, a former resident of Tombstone is in jail in Kingman, charged with the murder of Charles Hill at Peach Springs, last week. Following is young Fay's testimony at the Coroner's inquest:
"My name is Dayton M. Fay; residence Prescott, age 21, occupation gambler; a man came to the room door and asked to be let in, and Kitty Blonger replied that she was engaged, the man said open this door or I will kick it in, for I thought I was a lover of yours; she said, get away from there I will be out in a few minutes, for the man in here is a stranger to you; he then said, open this door or I will kick it in; I spoke up and said, you had better not kick it in; he replied, I will kick it in and you too; with that he kicked the door in; I then jumped up and grappled with him, while scuffling with him I heard a shot; not knowing that there was a gun in the room, I imagined it was in the saloon. I felt the man with whom I was scuffling relaxed his hold on me, and saw where he was shot. I even then could not tell that he had been shot until I turned around and saw a gun in the hands of the lady Kitty Blonger. I said, "My God, what have you done?" she replied, "I don't know, I have killed him." A crowd rushed in then. I have known Kitty Blonger about nine or ten months; she is known as a prostitute; the man did not speak after he was shot; we were both down on the floor scuffling."

Tombstone Epitath, April 14, 1888

THE SOUTHWEST
The trial of Kitty Blonger for the murder of Charles Hill, at Peach Springs on February 22d last, resulted in her acquittal. Her trial in the District Court ended the 6th. The jury brought in their verdict of not guilty, and the judge informed them that their verdict was in accordance with the instructions of the Court. The woman was overcome by the verdict and wept. The Grand Jury failed to find an indictment against her paramour Kid Fay.

Paramour appears to be the term of choice to describe Fay's relationship to Miss Kitty. As to Kitty's relationship to the Blonger Bros.? As best we can figure, back in 1882 she was part of Lou's stable in Albuquerque, and took his name. The same can probably be said of Mollie Blonger, busted for running an Albuquerque whorehouse in 1888, just days after Kitty's exoneration.

A Blonger, probably Lou, came to Kingman for the trial (apparently). What's more, Fay's high-priced lawyers stayed on to defend prostitute Kitty even after the Kid's acquittal. Hmm.

In Joe's trial for murder in 1897, the jury was also instructed by the court to return a verdict of not guilty.

Joe and the Hyping of a Boomtown

Santa Fe New Mexican, March 12, 1894

The Cochiti Boom.
John Patterson's stage line left for Allerton at 11 o'clock with two loads of passengers. Mr. Patterson arrived from the camp at 7 o'clock last evening and in an hour had engaged to carry out eight men from Colorado this morning. He says the average Santa Fean can have no idea of the growth of the new camp. People are coming from all points in the west, and the good reports sent back by Colorado men to their friends in the north will bring thousands in from Colorado, and most of these will come in over the narrow guage. Five log houses to be used for lodgings have been erected at Allerton; parties from Waldo have pitched a mammoth tent to serve meals in, and the accomodations in the camp are rapidly assuming proportions of comfort. Saloons, restaurants and stores are springing into existence as if by magic. A bakery will be opened there to-day.
Night before last, Mr. Patterson talked until midnight with Col. Oaks, an expert mining man, whom he knew at Virginia City, Nev., in 1860. Col. Oaks had spent two days prospecting the mines and he declared beliefs that Cochiti would beat the famous Comstock mines. In the Crown Point claims, Col. Oaks said, there was $500,000 worth of ore in sight and he was specific in saying that the ledge was from eight to thirty feet wide, runs over $200 in gold to the ton and is also rich in silver. Col. Oaks thought the general average of ore in each of the five distinct ledges so far prospected would be high enough to put Cochiti on record as the mineral wonder of the age.
COCHITI NUGGETS.
The Albuquerque boomers of Kentville have sent in a weekly newspaper to boom their townsite.
Joe Blonger, formerly of Cerrillos, who has been prospecting for a year in Colorado and Nevada, left for Cochiti this morning.

-CJ


12/8/2006

MURDER AT THE BOTTOM DOLLAR

Here's a detail map of the central Cerrillos Hills mining area. The Santa Rosa — known as the Bottom Dollar, and where Joe killed Alex Allan in defense of Silas Smith — is near the middle.

Central Cerrillos

Purdin's Camp is named for Joe's one-time partner. Joe walked to the Bonanza for transportation to Santa Fe to turn himself in.

On our visit to New Mexico, Scott and I made it as far as Carbonateville and the turquoise hill at Chalchihultl.

Mount Chalchihultl

-CJ


MURDER AT PEACH SPRINGS

These excerpts from news accounts of Kitty Blonger's trial for murder give you the tale in a nutshell:

San Francisco Chronicle, February 23, 1888

KILLED BY A WOMAN.
A Young Blacksmith Fatally Shot in the Head.
KINGMAN (A.T.), February 22 — To-day about noon a young man by the name of Hill was shot and killed at Peach Springs, a small station fifty miles east of this place. It is reported that Hill was drinking, and going to a disreputable house was denied admission, when he proceeded to kick the door in. The woman of the house shot through the door, striking him on the head and killing him instantly. The name of the woman was Kate Blonger. She was brought to this place to-night and placed in jail to await a preliminary trial. Hill was a blacksmith by trade and was employed in the Atlantic and Pacific road shops at that place.

Albuquerque Morning Democrat, February 25, 1888

TRAGEDY IN ARIZONA.
One Man is Killed by a Woman, and Another Cuts His Own Throat — Other Quarrels.
A well known and reliable gentleman has just returned from a trip over the Atlantic & Pacific R.R., and related a chapter of fights and shooting affairs which have occurred during one day. At Peach Springs it appears that a blacksmith, who is a married man, became infatuated with a fast woman and could not bear to have other persons pay her any attention.
He went to her house about noon but was refused admittance and in a fit of jealousy, he kicked in the door. The woman met him with a revolver in her hand and fired, the bullet taking effect just behind the unfortunate man's left ear and death resulted almost immediately. Several hot heads talked of lynching the woman but good sense prevailed and she was handed over to the authorities.

Mohave Miner, February 25, 1888

MURDER AT PEACH SPRINGS
Charles Hill, a Blacksmith in the Railroad Shops, Killed by a Prostitute.
On Wednesday of this week, between 12 and 1 o'clock, the frequenters of Somerset's saloon at Peach Springs were startled by a pistol shot, coming from the rear room. A rush was made by those in the saloon to the room, where a prostitute named Kitty Blonger was found with a smoking pistol in her hand and Charles Hill lying on the floor with a bullet in his brain. D. M. Fay was also in the room.
LOCAL BREVITIES.
E. M. Sanford, the well-known Prescott attorney was in town Thursday. He is retained by Kitty Blonger and D. M. Fay, who are charged with the murder of Charles Hill at Peach Springs on Tuesday last.
Arrivals at the Kingman Hotel for the Week Ending This Day.
[at end of a list of 30 persons:]
L. Blonger

Albuquerque Evening Citizen, February 27, 1888

Kitty Blonger, a sporting woman formerly of this city, killed a man named Hill, at Soda Springs, Arizona, a few days ago.

Tombstone Epitath, March 3, 1888

DAYTON FAY IN HOC
Dayton Fay, son of A. E. Fay, a former resident of Tombstone is in jail in Kingman, charged with the murder of Charles Hill at Peach Springs, last week. Following is young Fay's testimony at the Coroner's inquest:
"My name is Dayton M. Fay; residence Prescott, age 21, occupation gambler; a man came to the room door and asked to be let in, and Kitty Blonger replied that she was engaged, the man said open this door or I will kick it in, for I thought I was a lover of yours; she said, get away from there I will be out in a few minutes, for the man in here is a stranger to you; he then said, open this door or I will kick it in; I spoke up and said, you had better not kick it in; he replied, I will kick it in and you too; with that he kicked the door in; I then jumped up and grappled with him, while scuffling with him I heard a shot; not knowing that there was a gun in the room, I imagined it was in the saloon. I felt the man with whom I was scuffling relaxed his hold on me, and saw where he was shot. I even then could not tell that he had been shot until I turned around and saw a gun in the hands of the lady Kitty Blonger. I said, "My God, what have you done?" she replied, "I don't know, I have killed him." A crowd rushed in then. I have known Kitty Blonger about nine or ten months; she is known as a prostitute; the man did not speak after he was shot; we were both down on the floor scuffling."

Mohave Miner, April 7, 1888

ACQUITTED.
The Trial of Kitty Blonger for the Murder of Charles Hill.
On Thursday last in the District Court in the county the trial of Kitty Blonger for the murder of Charles Hill at Peach Springs on the 22d of February was commenced. The circumstances attending the killing of Hill, together with the threatened lynching of his slayer and "Kid" Fay, her paramour at the time, by the citizens of Peach Springs, and the additional fact that it was but the second instance in the history of the Territory where a woman had been placed on trial for her life, has been the means of attracting such general attention that the case will long be remembered as one of the causes celebre in the annals of Arizona courts.
Owing to a difficulty in empanelling a jury it was not until late Thursday that the following named gentlemen were sworn as jurors to try to the case: J. C. Potts, John E. Ryan, P. Caffrey, J. D. Bland, W. W. Clark, W. H. Jennings, Parker Holloway, Richard Taggart, John Burt, Thomas Steen, E. Ellibee and A. H. Smith.
The testimony introduced on behalf of the Territory differed but little from that given on the preliminary hearing of the defendant, being to the effect that Hill had, a short time previous to his death, born the relations of a favored friend of Miss Blonger, so far as the friendship of such women can be considered as favoring any special individual. On the day of the death, in company with a friend, he entered Somerset's saloon in Peach Springs, and passing directly through the saloon entered that portion of the building in which Miss Blonger roomed, and in the short space of a minute or two afterwards was killed by a pistol shot fired by the woman whose pet he had once been. Parties who were in the saloon at the time, and who were the first to reach Hill after his receiving the fatal wound, testified to his having been of a quiet and good-natured disposition generally, but that he was slightly under the influence of liquor at the time.
The testimony on the part of the defense claimed that the deceased had kicked in the door of Miss Blonger's room, against her protestations, and seizing "Kid" Fay, who was in bed with her at the time, and who had been a former lover of the defendant's in Prescott, was struggling with him, when she stood up in bed and fired downward, shooting Hill through the head just above the left ear. Both the defendant and Fay testified to these last mentioned facts, the last named giving his age as twenty-two, and describing his profession as a gambler; while the defendant herself, in delivering her testimony, did so with the most remarkable self-possession for a woman in her trying position. The case was ably argued at length by District Attorney Williams and Harris Baldwin, in behalf of the Territory, and E. M. Sanford, Esq., and J. J. Hyde, Esq., for the defendant. On Friday afternoon, after an exhaustive charge as to the law applicable to the case by the Court, the jury retired, and after being out for nearly three hours returned into court with a verdict of acquittal. For the first time during the entire trial Miss Blonger, on hearing the verdict, displayed the slightest emotion. The stoical indifference that throughout the trial enabled her to bear the most damaging testimony and the most scathing arguments of the prosecuting attorneys without moving a muscle or even changing color, gave way, and despite her strongest effort to retain her self-control her eyes filled with tears, which slowly, but silently coursed down her cheeks. On being discharged from the custody of the sheriff, immediately after the recording of the verdict, her self-control entirely gave way, and she was led from the room sobbing uncontrollably.
It is stated that she will at once return to her home in one of the Eastern States, where her parents are highly respected, and will endeavor by a life of future rectitude to redeem the past.
Important Legal Rulings.
The second important ruling was in the admission of certain depositions taken in the preliminary examination of Kitty Blonger for the murder of Charles Hill, under stipulation between District Attorney Williams and Mr. Sanford, who was defending Miss Blonger. The counsel opposed the reading of the deposition in evidence on the ground that the defendant had the constitutional right to be confronted on her trial by all the witnesses for the prosecution. The Court held that such right had been complied by the witnesses having been examined and their testimony reduced to writing in the presence of the defendant on the preliminary examination; and that as the testimony had been taken in strict compliance with Chapter III. of the Revised Statutes, being the law governing witnesses in criminal actions, that it was admissible.
COURT NOTES.
A number of ladies listened to the argument in the Kitty Blonger case on Friday afternoon. They were attentive listeners.

Mohave Miner, January 18, 1890

The Journal Miner [of Jan. 10, 1890] says: — Dayton M. alias "Kid" Fay died at half past nine o'clock this morning. He was taken sick with the prevailing disease, about two weeks ago, and being addicted to the opium habit, it resulted fatally. Deceased was about 24 years of age, and was a son of A. E. Fay, an ex-Arizona legislator and a newspaper man well known both in Arizona and California. Young Fay will be remembered here as being connected with the Kitty Blonger murder trial.

Black Hills Daily Times (Deadwood, S.D.), February 26, 1893

Letters remaining in the Deadwood post office:
Blonger, Kittie

-CJ


12/16/2006

The Good, The Bad, And Lou Blonger

Found this on Google, a page in the French Heritage Project listing prominent people of French extraction.

At the end of the list we find poor Lou, described thus:

Lou Blonger
1849 - 1924
Not all people of French descent are "good"
Here's and example of a "bad" one born in Swanton, VT
Blonger is the anglicized Belanger

Lou Stripes

-CJ


Completing The Square

Scott just found this:

Fort Worth Telegram, February 19, 1903

CATTLEMEN ARE RETURNING FROM TRIP TO CUBA
NEW ORLEANS, La., Feb. 19—The first contingent of the western cattlemen who sailed from here to Cuba, after the Kansas City convention, returned on the Morgan steamer Chalmette. Only a few were on board, the others remaining for a longer stay on the island. Among today's arrivals were: Joseph A. Morton and E. White of Kansas City, W. H. Blonger of Cripple Creek, Lawrence McCoy and Leonard K. Watkins of Denver and A. J. Dunlap of Hobart, Ok. Some of the westerners were accompanied by their wives. There was originally a party of twenty-four. They went to Cuba to look into the cattle-raising industry, especially and have returned with the report that there may be big things in store some day, but not now.
"The question of reciprocity must be settled first," was the unanimous verdict of the cattlemen.
"When that is done the grazing of cattle may have a great future in Cuba. Any undertaking on the island until you know just what relations you will bear to the United States will be a gamble."

From their births in Swanton Falls, Vermont, now to Cuba, over to Sacramento, then up to Seattle, this closes the North American square for the Blonger Bros. They got around.

But which Blonger? It's a pretty sure bet that Lou spent time in Cuba in his later years; the Denver crew was known to winter there in the Teens and Twenties. Sam might just as well have been there. It was a Blonger Bros. kind of place, where the liquor flowed and lots of money was changing hands.

But W.H.? Sam was S.H. Lou was L.H. Flip a coin.

And cattlemen? Add that to their already arms-length resumês.

It's also interesting to note that the residence is Cripple Creek.

We know they had mines in Cripple Creek, including the Forest Queen, and heard tales that they were pioneers of the town, but this is 1903, and we think of them as permanent Denver residents by this time.

By the same token, it's not unusual for the Blongers, in this kind of context, to name a different hometown every time they're asked. This might have been intentional, or hell, maybe that's just the last hotel they were staying in. You figure if a guys running a saloon or dance hall in Tuscarora, that he lived in Tuscarora, not Salt Lake. But the Blongers seem to belie that expectation at every turn.

In 1878, for instance, we have reason to believe they were "living" in Silver City, in the south of Nevada, and Salt Lake City, and Dodge City, where they supposedly spent the summer gambling, and at some point had a theater and ran tours.

Like I say, they got around.

-CJ


12/19/2006

A Blonger Goes To Cuba

Here's my take.

The hotel register from which this item was transcribed was hand-written -- either by the guest or the hotel clerk. Writing from the lines above or below may have interfered with the signature. So it comes down to which is more likely to be mistaken for a cursive W -- an S or an L? My guess is an L, which makes sense in the larger scheme of things. As for the as the city, it seems from the evidence we have so far that often these hotel registers were signed not with the person's residence, but simply the place they were traveling from. For instance, with Joe, I don't believe he lived in all those different places listed in the hotel registers. In fact, the Santa Fe newspaper said he lived (or perhaps had a permanent residence) in Santa Fe.

As far as the "cattlemen" reference, it could be true, it could be a ruse, or it could be that Lou's name simply got mixed in with some legitimate ranchers.

I've only been able to track down one of the "cattlemen" listed in the article. No telling what to make of this, but he doesn't sound like he was a rancher:

Denver census, 1900, Leonard K. Watkins, age 36, merchant, lived at 1445 Franklin St., 1 mile east of state capitol

Denver census, 1910, Leon K. Watkins, age 46, merchant wholesaler, lived at 1372 Humboldt St., 1 mile east of state capitol

A.J. Dunlap apparently was a banker...a good mark?

-SJ


Sounds like a junket to me. Cuban interests, land speculators and the cattle industry entertaining entrepreneurs from the western states — those, perhaps, who liked the thought of being a cattleman.

At the same time, Lou is described as the owner, in his later years, of ranches in the Denver area, and Sam had his horses. It is not implausible that they had cattle interests. They were, in so many ways, investors.

-CJ


December 2006


 

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