The Grafters Club

The Membership


Wolfe Londoner


That's what you get for trying to help a guy out.


Wolfe Londoner

Born in 1839 in New York City, Londoner was the son of a prosperous merchant, and would himself come to be a prominent and wealthy businessman with interests in Denver, Leadville, Kansas, New Mexico and Wyoming. He made good money in Leadville during the period the Blongers were there, 1879-81. He was a stakeholder in the Denver & Rio Grande.

A newspaper correspondent as well, he was a founding member and one-time President of the Denver Press Club.

In 1887, his Denver grocery business moved to the Londoner Block on Arapahoe. The Blongers would settle in to the same neighborhood a year later.

He had political ambitions as well, having served as a county clerk and treasurer. In 1889, he ran for mayor of Denver, won by 77 votes — and with the "assistance" of Masterson, Smith, the Blongers and others, ended up being the only Denver mayor to resign over charges of voter fraud.

Our first connection to Londoner came with the following article, detailing voter fraud during the 1890 election. Lou and Sam were apparently paid to oversee the voting habits of dead Denverites in one precinct. Bat Masterson and Soapy had theirs as well.

Rocky Mountain News, March 20, 1890

Voters in Spring Election Handled Like Herds of Hogs.
The court was next treated to a genuine surprise when the name of the witness was called.
Charles Conner took the stand. The witness was in town on last April election day, and was at the Eighteenth precinct polling place. He kept a saloon at the corner of Eighteenth and Lawrence then. Mr. Pence then drew a plan of the neighborhood and asked the witness how far his saloon was from the polling place. He did not know. Connor was in the saloon on election day. The witness was asked what he was doing there. He hesitated a long while and then said he refused to answer for fear it might incriminate him.
Judge Allen instructed the witness to answer under the protection of the law. He also told the lawyer to confine his questions solely to what was material in this case.
Sam Emerich
Witness was doing something in connection with the April election. With others he was furnishing slips with names and residences to men who voted on them. The witness thought Sam Emrich had written them. Sheeney Sam had delivered him forty-five at one time, forty-six at another and ninety-five at another in cigar boxes. That number they had when the polls opened in the morning.
Connor then drew on a piece of pad-paper a plan of his saloon with considerable care. He explained this to the jury. The front door was not ajar while the polls were open. The side entrance he knew had been open on election day. During the course of the day he was in the back room of the saloon and sometimes in the parlor. Men were furnished with slips of paper of this kind to vote on. Sam Emrich and a man named Jackson were inside furnishing names with him. There was a doorkeeper inside. They had a couple of doorkeepers. The men who were to vote came in sometimes three and sometimes five at a time. The doorkeepers acted under his direction some of the time. A man named Anheirer was the doorkeeper and this man stood up in the court room for identification. The man who attended to the other door was called Red Town, he did not know his proper name. Sam Emrich sometimes gave orders to the doorkeeper and other times he and Jackson did. There might have been 400 or 500 names furnished voters that day by him and others. There were more than 300 furnished. They were given straight Republican ballots and led out by men whom they had employed for this purpose. These men were Sue and Lon Blenger [sic], Jerry Guyon, a man by the name of Allen and a man by the name of Hamm, and there were others whose names he had forgotten. He had begun this work before the polls opened. The witness quit at 6 o'clock. Then he had gone to the polls in the Seventh ward to vote. At times he was out in the hall where plenty other men were. The witness did not know the names on the slips. He had used the larger batch of names first. Connor had used copies of the registry book made by Sam Emrich.

Jeff Smith mentions the Rocky Mountain News calling the Denver criminal underground "The firm of Smith, Londoner and Farley" ("Soapy", the mayor, and the police chief).