The Earps, Doc Holliday,
& The Blonger Bros.
In April of 1882, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and others
were being pursued by an Arizona posse for the murder of Frank Stilwell.
They were headed for Albuquerque.
While in town, the posse's presence was withheld by
the local papers, and Marshal Blonger, along with Sheriff Armijo,
reportedly protected the men from capture by Arizona officials while their
situation was appealed to higher powers.
It is unknown whether Wyatt or Doc knew the Blongers
previously, though they may have met in Dodge City, or several other
towns, while making the rounds as gamblers and saloon men in the '70s.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, January 31, 1882
The Earps and a desperado named Doc Holiday are running things with a
high hand at Tombstone, Arizona.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, March 28, 1882
The Earps in Albuquerque.
Last night, at a late hour, a JOURNAL reporter learned that the famous
Earp boys were headed for Albuquerque, and that they were on the Atlantic
express which arrives in this city this morning at 6:18. In the party
there are two of the Earps and five of their confederates. These men have
made for themselves a name in southern Arizona which has become a terror
to the entire country. They are now pursued by the sheriff and a posse,
who are desirous of capturing them for the murder of Stilwell, at Tucson,
last week. There is a general feud in and about Tombstone between the Earp
boys and the cow boys. Virgil Earp was at the time city marshal of
Tombstone, and he, with two of his brothers and Doc Holliday, shot and
killed the cow boys last October. Since that time there has been a
continuous war between the two factions. One of the Earps has since been
killed, and Virgil has been wounded and is now at his home in San
Bernardino. The rest of the party are outlaws, and fugitives from justice.
It is not likely that they will remain in this city, if they stop at all,
as they are too shrewd to stay in this locality. Should anyone attempt to
arrest them there will be life taken, as they are, without doubt the most
desperate men now at large.
NOTE: On or about April 15, 1882, Wyatt Earp and his
posse, including Doc Holliday and Wyatt's younger brother Warren, arrive
in Albuquerque by train.
Albuquerque Evening Review, April 18, 1882
Marshal Sam Blonger goes to Denver to-morrow with samples of ore and
maps of the Star mine in Hell canon. The Star now shows an eighteen foot
vein of pay ore between walls, and the samples from it which Blonger will
carry with him doubtless attract great attention in Denver.
Albuquerque Evening Review, April 19, 1882
In the absence of Marshall Sam Blonger, his brother, Lou Blonger, holds
the peace and quiet of the town in the hollow of his hand.
NOTE: Only petty crimes were reported during the period of
Earp's visit. For more about Lou's experience as marshal during Sam's
absence, see Lou In Charge.
Albuquerque Evening Review, April 24, 1882
Marshal Sam Blonger telegraphs from Denver that he will be here next
NOTE: On or about April 29, 1882, the Earp posse departs
for Trinidad, Colorado. Holliday left earlier after an argument with
The Earp posse's stay in Albuquerque is described briefly
in a letter written in 1940 by Miguel A. Otero, who served as territorial
governor from 1897 to 1906. The letter was found by Chuck Hornung,
an Earp researcher, in 2001, and among other things states that while in
Albuquerque, "Blonger and Armijo watched over the boys."
We will be posting the complete text of the letter here
soon. In the meantime, you can find the text, and a lengthy discussion of
the letter, in True West magazine, December, 2001.
Albuquerque Evening Review, May 1, 1882
The Arizona papers do not like THE REVIEW's comparison between Governor
Sheldon and Tritle, as inferentially, it was rather unfavorable to the
governor of that cow-boy ruled territory. Words cannot express the regret
felt by this paper, from the editor-in-chief to the office boys, for this
unhappy result of a four line paragraph. We would like to apologize to the
actual governor of Arizona, but as at present it is somewhat uncertain
whether the Stillwells, Tritle or the Earp boys really run the territory,
the intended reparation will have to be deferred.
Albuquerque Morning Journal, May 4, 1882
Marshal Sam Blonger, during his recent trip to Denver, negotiated the
sale of the Star mines for $120,000. The purchasers are expected to arrive
The following articles appeared after the Earp posse left
town. Wyatt apparently visited the Review offices, but requested
that any mention of his presence be withheld until after his group's
A short excerpt from the longer article is noted in Wyatt
Earp: The Life Behind the Legend, by Casey Tefertiller (John Wiley
& Sons, Inc., 1997, p. 255), but unaccountably the text does not match
that shown in the image below.
Mark Dworkin covered the incident in more detail in
"Henry Jaffa and Wyatt Earp: Wyatt Earp's Jewish Connection,"
an article he wrote for the Western Outlaw-Lawman History Association
Journal, Vol. XIII, No. 3 (Fall 2004).
Albuquerque Evening Review, May 13, 1882, pg. 2
The Earp boys, two of whom it is thought have exchanged the compliments
of the season with Frank Stillwell, were singular types of desperadoes, if
they were desperadoes. Removed from the scene of their conflicts with
enemies, they became no more rioters than the frontiersman in general, and
from their deportment those unacquainted with them would have taken them
quicker for hard-working miners than for the men the result of whose work
called out a proclamation from the president. Your true fighting man talks
very little of his exploits.
Albuquerque Evening Review, May 13, 1882, pg. 3
DOWNED AT LAST
Wyatt Earp Killed Near Hooker's, Arizona
On the fifteenth of last month a party arrived in Albuquerque on the
Atlantic & Pacific train, whose appearance in the city speedily became known
among the rounders and talked about. They were men of whose deeds the
whole of Arizona was ringing, the Earp boys, as they were all together
spoken of. During the month before they had been hardly a day during which
a cocked revolver had not been leveled at some one, seven dead cow-boys
bearing witness to the accuracy of their aim. The whole story of the
fights between them and their enemies is too well-known to require a
repetition here. They had fought well and bitterly, taking two lives for
each one they lost, until the law grasped them and indictment after
indictment began to be found against them. Then they left Arizona and came
to Albuquerque. The party as they came here was composed of Wyatt Earp,
Warren Earp, "Doc" or John Holliday, Sherman McMaster's, James
Johnson, John Tipton, and Jack Vermillion seven, in all.
On the morning after their arrival, and before more than one or two
knew of their presence, Wyatt Earp called at the REVIEW and Journal
offices, and had an interview with the reporters of both papers. He stated
that they had come to Albuquerque to escape persecution while awaiting the
result of an effort being made by Governor Tritle to secure their pardon
from the president; that they were then being sought for by their foes,
and that they would not give themselves up to the Arizona officers without
resistance. In view of these facts, Earp requested of both papers that
their temporary sojourn in Albuquerque should remain unnoticed until they
could be assured that the knowledge of their whereabouts would not bring a
party of cow-boy avengers down upon them. To back his assertions regarding
Governor Tritle's feeling toward them, Earp presented THE REVIEW several
convincing documents, and his request was accordingly granted by this
paper, as it was by the Journal.
The party remained in Albuquerque for a week or more, their identity
being well known to fifty people or more, leaving the city nearly two
weeks ago. During their stay here "Doc" Holliday and Wyatt Earp
quarreled, and when Albuquerque was left the party disbanded, Holliday
going with Tipton.
Notwithstanding the fact that the newspapers did not speak of their
arrival here, it became known in Arizona, and Tombstone supplied a party
of man-hunters, who, it appears from Arizona papers received this morning
at last found their prey. The Epitaph gives an account of the killing of
Wyatt Earp near Hooker's, Arizona, last Monday, by a party which ambushed
and attacked him while the Citizen indorses the news, adding the statement
that Tipton was killed last week while with Doc Holliday. No particulars
are published of the killing as both papers received their information
through private sources. Wyatt met his death while returning from a visit
to his wounded brother, at Colton, California, who had but the week before
assured a citizen of Tombstone that all of them would, as soon as he was
well, return to Arizona and stand trial on the charges preferred against
The party, while in Albuquerque, deported themselves very sensibly,
performing no acts of rowdyism, and this way gained not a few friends for
their side of the fight. It appears that in Tombstone a general feeling of
regret that instead of these last two murders the party were not tried
fairly in open court prevails.
NOTE: Wyatt, of course, was still very much alive. The
quarrel referred to would be the same one mentioned in the Miguel Otero
Albuquerque Morning Journal, May 14, 1882
At no time in their lives did the Earp desperadoes call at the JOURNAL
office. They seem to have consorted with the sandy sorehead of the sundown
sheet while they remained in hiding in this city.
Albuquerque Evening Review, August 9, 1882
Virgil Earp, some time since a temporary citizen of Albuquerque, and
withal a much more peaceable man than people would imagine one of his name
to be, went to California and was one of the gamblers raided in San
Francisco the other day. Fourteen hundred dollars and a faro lay out were
found in his room.
NOTE: The writer was mistaken Virgil Earp was not
among the group that made its way to Albuquerque.
Albuquerque Evening Review, November 8, 1882
The latest news from the quondam Albuquerqueans, the Earp crowd, is
that Wyatt, Warren and Virgil Earp are in San Francisco, engaged in
dealing faro. Texas Jack is in Colorado, Doc Holliday in Leadville,
McMasters and Johnson in Mexico, and Tipton in the Gunnison country.