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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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Sol. Block, senior member of the firm of Block & Ralph, merchants and planters, at Bay Ridge, Ark., is a native of Baden, Germany, where his birth occurred in 1827. He was educated in the common schools and under a private tutor, until about twenty-one years of age, when he came to the United States (1849). Here he engaged in business for himself in the State of Illinois, remained there until about 1860, when he moved to St. Louis and there engaged in the insurance business (life, fire and accident). After residing in that city for about ten years he removed to Memphis, where he followed the same business for about the same length of time. In 1878 he came to Forrest City, Ark., was engaged as book-keeper for two years, and then, after making a trip to Europe, returned to Chicago, where he made his home for several years and was engaged in the insurance business. Later he returned to St. Louis, where he embarked in the cigar and tobacco business, continuing at this until 1886, when he came to Cross County, Ark., and in company with J. Ralph, erected a fine storehouse on the farm, which had recently been purchased by Mr. Raphaelski, and which Block & Ralph manage. This farm embraces a tract of 1,400 acres of land and at one time was valuable property, but had been allowed to run down and needed everything in the way of improvement. They at once began to make extensive improvements, soon had 500 acres under cultivation, some of which they cleared from the timber. They rebuilt the dwelling, erected a large brick stable and a first-class cotton-gin, saw and grist mill. This gin and mill is the best in the county, costing about $8,000. They have an engine of sixty-five horse-power and can gin twenty-five bales of cotton, and saw 20,000 feet of lumber per day. The lumber is shipped to St. Louis. In the store they keep a full line of general merchandise, buy and ship cotton and all country produce. They carry a stock of goods valued at $6,000 and have a rapidly increasing trade. Mr. Block was married, in 1863, to Miss Amelia Raphaelski, of English and German parentage. She was born in Liverpool, England, and came to the United States with her parents in childhood. Mr. Jacob Ralph, Mr. Block’s partner, was born in Memphis, is still a young man, and was in business in Chicago for a short time. He was married, in 1886, to Miss May Bronson, and the fruits of this union has been one child, a daughter named Mabel. This large farm is one of the prettiest as well as the most valuable to be found in this part of the country, and by it may be seen what can be accomplished when the right steps are taken and a proper amount of energy is brought to bear.

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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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