Alexander County

Biography - Henry Block

HENRY BLOCK, manufacturer and dealer in boots and shoes, Cairo, Ill., was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on the 25th day of December, 1841. His father, Fred Block, was born in Hanover, Germany, in 1812, and the mother, Sophia Kramer, was born in the same kingdom in 1817. They were married in their native country, where they resided until after the birth of their first child, when, in the spring of 1838, they came to the United States and settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. Later, the family removed to Ripley County, Ind., where, in 1852, the father died. He had a family of twelve children, Henry being the third. Mrs. Block was subsequently married to Peter Grosmann, to whom have been born four children. She still survives and resides in Ripley County, Ind. Henry received an ordinary German education in Indiana, and went to the trade of shoe-making in 1857, which he completed in two years, working at his shoe-bench until after the breaking-out of the war, when he was employed at Cincinnati, by the Government, in the manufacture of military saddles. In 1867, he went to St. Louis, Mo., where he worked at his trade until 1870, coming that year to Cairo, Ill. He here worked in the shop of Fred Winterberg for about two and a half years, and for the next year and a half was again in St. Louis. In April, 1874, he opened a small shop in Cairo, situated on Eighth street, between Washington and Commercial avenues. By close application to work, he was able, in 1868, to invest in a small stock of ready-made boots and shoes, to which he added as he was able. By honorable dealing, he has succeeded fairly, and now, at No. 131 Commercial avenue, he has a complete stock of goods, in connection with which he does an extensive custom business, employing three skilled workmen. To say that Mr. Block has risen from the shoe-bench to the proprietorship of a first-class shoe store would only do him an injustice, as he has not abandoned his bench, but continues to superintend the manufacturing department and work at the bench when not otherwise engaged. He was first married in Cincinnati, Ohio, on the 24th of October, 1865, to Miss Louisa Kortgartner. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, November 10, 1845, and died December 5, 1866, leaving one daughter, Louisa Block, born November 17, 1866. He was married to his present wife, Dena Stekhahn, August 6, 1874. She was born in Hanover, Germany, April 22, 1851. Her parents, George and Eleanor Stekhahn, both natives of the kingdom of Hanover, Germany, came to the United States in 1867, and settled in Cairo, Ill., where the father died October 1, 1877. He was by trade a wagon-maker, and, like each of the surviving members of the family, was a faithful member of the Lutheran Church. Was born in July, 1812. The mother was born September 20, 1807, and now lives with her daughter, Mrs. Block. Mr. Block's family comprises Alwena, born April 29, 1875; Hermina, born October 28, 1876; Anna, born June 4, 1879; and Ludwig Block, born August 19, 1881. Mr. Block is a member of the American Legion of Honor, and is in politics a Democrat. Family residence on Eighth street, between Washington avenue and Walnut street.

Extracted 31 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V, pages 8-9.

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