Man Carries Bullet In Chest For 48 Years In Colorado
The Blonger family came from Swanton, Vermont. Brother Mike, Lou and Joe fought in the Civil War and afterwards with brother Sam found there way out West where they operated several saloons and gambling halls. In 1882 Sam was made Marshall of Albuquerque, New Mexico and deputized his brothers. They still found time to continue gambling, prospecting, horse racing, and even running a brothel. The brothers eventually landed in Denver, Colorado in 1888 and set up shop there. They were so successful that by 1892 they controlled all of Denver’s underworld crime that had extended to election fraud and mining swindles.
Joe Blonger stayed away from his brother and led a more upstanding life. Joe served many years as a part-time scout during our Indian wars under Chief Scout Buffalo Bill Cody and also played in many a card game as Wild Bill Hickok’s partner. He was known for his temper and shot the boss of the Bottom Dollar saloon in 1897 when he wouldn’t let him go to Santa Fe for a drink. During the Civil War, Joe received a bullet, called a Minie-ball in his chest.