Pueblo County, Colorado
Mark Leonardo Blunt

Contributed by Jean Griesan.

Blunt, Mark Leonardo (arrived in Colorado in 1859)

Mark L. Blunt was born in Boston, Massachusetts, May 23, 1832, and was educated in the public schools of that city. At the age of 12, obliged to earn a livelihood, he found employment first in a book store. Subsequently, he learned the trade of a printer, supplemented by that of a stereotyper and electrotyper.

In March 1859, in company with George West and others forming an association known as the “Boston Company,” he left for Pikes Peak, embarking upon the plains at St. Joseph, Missouri, with ox wagons. They arrived at Auraria in the early part of June. Horace Greeley, Albert D. Richardson, and Henry Villard had arrived a few days earlier. In the meantime [they?] made an examination and prepared a report upon the Gregory mines, which Mr. Byers of the Rocky Mountain News desired to publish in the form of an extra. But as the excitement raised by the discoveries of gold in the mountains had stampeded his printers, he had no one to put it in type. Hence he [Mr. Byers] went to the camp of the Boston Company in the Cherry Creek bottom and engaged George West, Mr. Blunt, and Wm. Summer to assist him in publishing the Greeley report. This was the first authoritative statement on the subject to which the people of the country accorded full credence. It was signed by Mr. Greeley and his companions, Richardson and Villard, and was printed on a small sheet of manila paper, there being no white print stock in hand at the time. It is Mr. Blunt's recollection that they received $2 per 1000 ems for setting the type, and it was the first money they earned in the Rocky Mountain region.

A few days later the company proceeded to Golden City, en route to the mountains, and assisted in establishing the town by building one of the first cabins on its site and in organizing the Golden Town Company. George West, James MacDonald, and Mr. Blunt then began the publication of the “Mountaineer,” afterward merged into the “Western Mountaineer,” and edited by Albert D. Richardson and Col. Tom Knox, both famous journalists, correspondents, and book writers in their time.

The present “Transcript” was the legitimate successor of those primitive endeavors.

In August 1860 Richardson, Mr. Blunt, and two ladies made the ascent of Pikes Peak. At that time they were of the opinion that these were the first of the feminine gender to accomplish that difficult feat. But, as a matter of fact, they had been preceded in July 1858 by Mrs. Julia Archibald Holmes of Kansas.

Mr. Blunt was, as already stated, one of the founders of the town of Golden and, in due course, was elected recorder and, subsequently, a justice of the peace. In the summer of 1860 he was appointed postmaster. In March 1863 he went to the Missouri River with the 2nd Regiment, Colorado Volunteers, and was “engaged in the patriotic duty of handling sutler's goods.” In June 1863 he returned to Colorado with a bunch of cattle and in April 1864 moved to the Arkansas River near Pueblo. From 1866 to 1872 he served as deputy collector of internal revenue under George W. Brown and his successor Dr. Morrison.

On February 18, 1881, he was appointed register of the U. S. Land Office at Pueblo and served by reappointment until October 1885 when, being a Republican, he was removed by President Cleveland, presumably for “offensive partisanship,” as no other cause could be alleged. Since that time he has practiced as an attorney. He has been deputy clerk in the U.S. Circuit and District Courts for the district of Colorado and also as an examiner in Chancery for the Circuit Court.

Mr. Blunt married Linda J. Stout of Des Moines, Iowa, on July 2, 1871. Six children have been born to them, all natives of Pueblo County.

Extracted from "The Real Pioneers of Colorado," by Maria Davies McGrath, published in 1934 by The Denver Museum, retyped with added notes by Jane P. Ohl, in October 2001. Note: Mark L. Blunt died in 1897.

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