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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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Raphael Block is a leading merchant of Vanndale, was born in the town of Tremblade, Alsace, France, in May, 1852, and was the fourth in a family of five children, born to Herman and Rebecca Block, the father a successful businessman of the old country. Raphael remained at home attending schools, until thirteen years of age, and in 1871 determined to seek his fortune in America, and came to Wittsburg, Cross County, Ark., and engaged as a clerk for D. Block & Co., but about two years later, became an employee of G. M. Arnold & Co., general merchants of the same place. In 1874 he engaged in general merchandising at Wittsburg, being associated with B. Block, and they immediately began doing an extensive trade, the largest in all probability that has ever been done by any one firm in Cross County. This partnership was dissolved in 1886, and our subject became sole proprietor, and in 1887 he bought the interest of J. W. Killough, of that well-known mercantile firm of Killough & Erwin, of Vanndale, and since January 1, 1889, has been sole proprietor of this establishment also. He has a large and well-selected stock of general merchandise, amounting to about $10,000, and he commands a large and constantly improving trade. He is quite extensively engaged in buying and shipping cotton, and is an enterprising and wonderfully successful young businessman, and is courteous, pleasant and cheerful, a leading spirit in the commercial affairs of the county. He is quite an active politician, and is always found at the polls on election day. Socially he belongs to Arcadia Lodge No. 183, of the A. F. & A. M., at Vanndale, and he also belongs to the K. of H. and the K. & L. of H. December 28, 1874, he was married to Mrs. Hester C. (Hamilton) Perry, a daughter of J. G. Hamilton, a member of the firm of D. Block & Co. They have had five children: Herman (attending school at the Christian Brothers’ College of Memphis), Felix, Nina, David and Mary (who died in infancy).

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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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