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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Cross County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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I. Block, one of the prominent business men and planters, of Cross County, Ark., was originally from St. Louis County, Mo., where his birth occurred in March, 1851, and is the son of Maurice and Anna (Woubilman) Block. [See sketch of Maurice Block.] I. Block attended school at Harrisburg, in Poinsett County, until the outbreak of the war, and during those troublesome times he assisted his father in many expeditions, smuggling cotton into Memphis, and goods and provisions to the people back home on his return. During those trips they met with many adventures, and endured much hardship, but with cotton at $500 per bale, and all goods that could be brought home yielding an enormous profit, they continued this business until the end of the war. In 1866 I. Block attended school for one year at Wittsburg, and during the next three years he assisted his father on the farm. During 1868 he spent another year in school at Covington, Tenn., and then his father gave him a farm, after which for five years he was engaged in cultivating the soil, “baching it” on the farm. He was quite successful, raising a great deal of cotton, corn and live-stock. In 1875 he went to Wittsburg, and engaged as clerk with his brother, L. N. Block & Co., continuing with this firm for about eight months. At that time his father dying, he entered the firm of D. Block & Co., representing his mother’s interest in that business, and continued with the same for about three years, or until 1879, when the firm dissolved partnership. After this he became a member of the firm of L. N. Block & Co., and the title was changed to Block Bros. & Co. This firm immediately began to do a large trade, the first year handling $85,000 worth of cotton, dealing extensively in live-stock and machinery. This firm continued in business until the decline of Wittsburg as a trading point, when they dissolved. For about two years they ran a branch store at Wynne, under the title of Block & Co., and these two stores were connected by a Bell telephone, the only one ever used in Cross County. These stores were closed out together. In 1882 Mr. Block bought 160 acres on the Helena branch of the Iron Mountain Railroad, at Wynne, and continued to add to this tract of land until now he is the owner of 766 acres. In 1884 he built a saw mill and ginnery at Wynne, and the saw-mill soon became valuable property, as the railroad created a large market for lumber, and during this time Mr. Block acquired the reputation of being the shrewdest saw-mill man in Cross County. They sold this mill in 1888. After clearing out the commercial interests at both Wittsburg and Wynne, Mr. Block applied himself diligently to clearing his large farm adjoining the town of Wynne. In four years time he had cleared up, and reduced to a state of perfect cultivation, 400 acres, and made improvements on the same, which have at once placed this plantation among the highest improved places in the State. This fine piece of land adjoins the town of Wynne, and extends two miles along the railroad, being enclosed for over two miles by solid plank fence. Along the front every twenty acres has a neatly constructed tenant house; each 40 acres has a double four-roomed cottage, and each house is surrounded by a plank fence. This row of cottages, extending for two miles along the road, each one painted white with red trimmings, present the appearance of a street in a town. There is no plantation in Eastern Arkansas that is better improved, or shows better taste, or business judgment in improving or erecting buildings than this. In addition to this place, Mr. Block owns over 1,000 acres in all parts of Cross County, and on those tracts there are about 150 acres under cultivation. Mr. Block now spends most of his time in looking after his extensive farms, and occupies as a residence an attractive home in the city of Wynne. This residence was constructed in 1884 and 1885, and is furnished with taste and care. He was married in 1878, to Mrs. Fannie Puryear, a widow and daughter of J. M. Levesque [see sketch], and his wife, with her many social graces, is a true help mate to her husband, and his home-life is a pattern of domestic peace. Mr. Block has also built in Wynne a large two-story brick house, with a hall for exhibitions, and the store rooms are elegantly fitted up, and are very attractive. He has also built a number of the houses in the town and several small stores. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity and the Odd Fellows Lodge.

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This family biography is one of 103 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Cross County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Cross County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Cross County, Arkansas family biographies here: Cross County, Arkansas Biographies

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