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June 2009


Mollie Blonger

So what's Mollie's deal?

According to

Molly/Mollie is of Irish origin. Pet form of Mary (Latin) "star of the sea". In use since the late Middle Ages. In the past, "moll" had meant a prostitute or a gangster's girlfriend, making the use of this name uncommon.

The Blongers were half Irish on their mother's side.

Just the facts:

In 1885, census records indicate Mollie Blonger was in Dodge City — as was Sam, according to testimony in a case before the Supreme Court.

In April of 1888, three days after prostitute Kitty Blonger was acquitted of murder in Kingman, Arizona, Mollie Blonger was arrested in Albuquerque for "maintaining a nuisance."

And now we find that in 1889 "Miss Mollie Blonger" had an unclaimed letter at the Denver PO. By this time, Sam had been calling Colorado home since 1883, and Lou had finally come to Denver from southern NM to settle in for the long haul.

If that's all we know, what else can we surmise?

First, the Albuquerque connection:

Since, 1) in 1882, Lou's "woman" was noted as running an Albuquerque house of ill-repute, and 2) "L. Blonger" showed up for Kitty Blonger's trial in Arizona in 1888, and 3) Kitty was noted at the time of her trial as having formerly lived in Albuquerque, we assume Kitty was hooking in that town in 1882 while the Blongers were there.

Since Mollie was doing the same in Albuquerque in 1888, it seems reasonable, therefore, to wonder if she was also part of the Blonger stable in 1882.

We don't believe either Kitty or Molly ever married one of the Blongers, but we hear it was not uncommon for prostitutes to take the surname of their pimps or male companions.

And then there was Mary Blonger.

No death certificate is listed in any of the online indexes, but a Rootsweb posting for Fairmount Cemetery in Denver (1890-1906) lists Mary M. Blonger, age 34, buried on April 22, 1893. Could Mary and Mollie be one and the same? Not a stretch by any means. Age 34 in '93 would make her 23 in 1882.

And what about the Marvin connection?

An online index lists the marriage of Marian Blonger and Molley Ann Beard in Lincoln County, Missouri (north of St. Louis), on August 7, 1873. As Marian is not a man's name, it is reasonable to assume the name might in fact be the youngest of the Blonger brothers, Marvin. He would have been 22 at the time.

Marvin is known to have come to Leadville by 1883. His whereabouts between his supposed marriage and 1883 are presently unknown. After seemingly spending some years in central Colorado, he moved on to Montana by 1891, where he spent many years in the mining business.

According to an online index of California deaths, the mother's maiden name of Marvin's daughters Abbie and Ollie was given respectively as Penoyer and Penard.

Penoyer, Penard, Beard. Could the same person who mistook Marvin for Marian have also mistaken Penard for Beard? It's not much of a stretch, so we hypothesize that Marvin's wife was actually named Molley Ann Penard.

If Molley Ann Penard, Mary Blonger and Mollie Blonger were one and the same, she would have been 14 in 1873 when she married Marvin. Not out of the question. But would Marvin's young bride have become a hooker in Lou's Albuquerque brothel?

And then there's Nellie Blonger.

In the 1885 Colorado state census, we find a couple living in Arapahoe County (Denver and environs) as Edw. Blonger, 30, born in France, and Nellie Blonger, 24, born in Germany. Is "Edw." really Marvin, whose middle name was Edwin and was 34 years old? Is "Nellie" actually Molley? And who thought they were from France and Germany? The Blonger's father Simon Peter was French Canadian...

What's more, in 1881 a Nellie Blonger is noted as one of the "young ladies" attending the 8th anniversary ball of Court Star of Leadville No. 7195, Ancient Order of Foresters of America.

If Nellie was attending a ball in 1881 as a "young lady" — this has to mean unmarried, doesn't it? The "married people" were also listed — then Blonger was her maiden name, no? Even if one assumes that Edw. Blonger was from France, and not related at all to our Blongers, would his wife from Germany (as noted in 1885) also be named Blonger in 1881 — presumably unmarried and going to dances unaccompanied?

What's going on here?


The Blonger Shaft

Speaking of the Blonger Shaft...

BRIMSTONE—Leadville people are interested, not to say dismayed, to find that under them is an immense quantity of sulfur. Ore from the new strike in the Blonger shaft returns 30 per cent sulphur, along with a hundred ounces of silver to the ton. To old time natives who fail to recognize the name of Blonger it must be explained that this is the original old Pittsburg claim on Fryer hill, which in early days was regarded as the greatest silver mine in the west, containing rich silver cloride and lead carbonate at grass roots. Now a company of lessees, who have been sinking since last March, have tapped a tremendous vein after going down 140 feet through hard lime, porphyry and shale. The deposit stands at an angle of twenty degrees. The ore is expected to average about 35 ounces silver.


June 2009



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