Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897
[p. 255] Business men, representing every line of trade and many manufacturing interests have been drawn by the superior advantages offered and the bright prospects of Ellwood City to locate within its limits, and to invest heavily in its many and varied legitimate channels of trade and industry. It is seldom that an eastern city is founded and developed in the space of a decade, while cities of mushroom growth are frequently found in the West where they seem to spring up during the night. Ellwood City, thanks to its projectors and to the solid substantial type of its leading citizens, has a permanent foundation in its commercial interests. It is not a city that has seen its best days, but is one of the most thriving of all the cities of Western Pennsylvania. Among its foremost business men, who regard its future as undimmed by any chance or likelihood of retrogression, is Henry S. Blatt, the subject of this biography, whose portrait appears opposite.
Mr. Blatt is now in the very prime of middle life, as he was born Aug. 26, 1845, in French Creek township, Mercer Co., Pa. Jonas Blatt, his father, was a son of Peter Blatt, who lived in Snyder Co., Pa., for a number of years, and then removed to Mercer County. Like many of the early settlers, our subject's grandfather worked at a trade, besides doing farm work, being a wagon-maker. After rearing his family, Peter Blatt died at sixty-seven years of age, his wife passing away to join those gone before at the age of seventy-two. Mrs. Blatt's maiden name was Rachel Beidler. The children born to them were—Edwin, Daniel, Absalom, Catherine, Peter, and Jonas.
Jonas Platt was born in Snyder County, where he learned the wagon-maker's trade, and after the family removed to Mercer County, carried on an extensive business in Sandy Lake. His life was passed in uneventful toil on the homestead, as he always found his duty close at hand. He was an able, intelligent man, thoroughly respected by his neighbors, and he might have filled more official positions than he did, had he been willing to accept them; as it was, he was content with being a school director and burgess of Sandy Lake borough. He married Anna Grove, daughter of Abraham Grove, and four children were born to them—Rachel, Henry S., Catherine and Isabel. Mrs. Blatt was taken to her well-earned rest at the age of sixty-eight, and four years later she was followed by her husband. Mr. Blatt was a person of quiet tastes, and did not care for convivial gatherings, being a member of only one fraternal society, the I. O. O. F. The family, as might be imagined from the seclusion and retirement of the home, was governed by strict observance of the rules of right living, the young people being surrounded by strong religious influences. Youth is the time to mold plastic minds, and the seed in this case fell on good ground, resulting in continued adherence to the Lutheran Church.
In regard to one member of the family, Henry S. Blatt, his story begins with his boyhood days that were spent in the district school; the training received there was followed up with a course of instruction at the New Lebanon Academy. His business career opens with the manufacture of carriages and wagons at Sandy Lake in 1863. Mr. Blatt continued in business in that place until 1871, when he started a store, with the firm name of H. S. Blatt & Co., the company with a few changes being known now as J. J. Blatt & Co. The business having proven profitable and yielding of good returns, in 1889 he added to it a hardware business, having bought the stock of the Parker Hardware Co.
In 1891, Mr. Blatt came to Ellwood City, and, associating himself with Capt. Abraham C. Grove, built a handsome brick block and opened a large hardware store. The size of the stock necessitated building a warehouse, and this was not only done, but the firm made further arrangements to handle lumber. In October, 1891, they suffered a severe loss by fire, and they dissolved partnership. Mr. Blatt, with his natural enterprise and good management, put up a temporary building, and was ready to transact his customary business inside of thirty days. The next year he built a large brick block, 160x144 feet, three stories high; the ground floor is used for his hardware business and a drug store, the second floor for offices, and the third floor makes an excellent hall for large gatherings.
Mr. Blatt deals in hardware, but his store also includes a stock of paints and oils of all grades. The lumber business is still carried on with reasonable success by Mr. Blatt. He is one of the chief promoters of Elwood City's growth, and this fact is fully attested by his having bought and sold some 200 houses. He is still interested to a large extent in real estate, as he owns a number of houses and lots. He owns stock in the First National Bank of Ellwood, being its vice-president, and one of its directors. Our subject has other lucrative investments in the Weldless Tube Mfg. Co., the Gas Co., and in the Iron Foundry. Varied as these ventures are, they are controlled with ease by the forceful, executive mind of Mr. Blatt. His home is on the corner of Seventh Street and Crescent Avenue, and it fully accords with its owner's prosperity and good taste.
Mr. Blatt chose for his life-companion Hannah McClure, whose parents were James and Hannah McClure of Lake township, Mercer Co., Pa. Mrs. Blatt is a lady of much refinement, and is fitted in every respect to preside over the home. James J., the second son, is general manager of the J. J. Blatt Co.'s hardware store at Sandy Lake, Mercer County. Charles H. is interested in Ellwood City and Sandy Lake, Pa. William R. is a popular dry goods clerk of Ellwood City. Catherine alone remains at home with the parents, for Frank was called by death at the age of seventeen, just when a bright future was opening out before him.
Henry S. Blatt has had little time to devote to office-holding, but he made an excellent school director, for he thoroughly appreciated the work of that position, and was alive to the importance of educational advantages. As justice of the peace, he was a man of charitable judgment and correct decisions. During 1875-76, Mr. Blatt was in the State Legislature, fulfilling his obligations satisfactorily and returning at the expiration of his term to private life and to the demands of his busness. In view of his public spirit, Mr. Blatt was eminently well chosen to be burgess and councilman of Ellwood City. His social acquaintances are numbered by the score, and he is sure to find congenial company in the circles where he holds a membership. He is a brother in Ellwood Lodge, No. 559, F. & A. M. He was a charter member and past master of Mt. Royal Chapter, R. A. M., and is also a member of Mt. Calvary Lodge, Knight Templars, and of Zemzem Temple of Erie, Pa. He is a member of the A. O. U. W. of Sandy Lake, and also of the Roval Templars of Temperance and K. of H. of the same place. He had held offices in all these organizations, which shows the esteem in which he is held. Wherever Mr. Blatt goes, he is welcomed as a royal good fellow.
Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897
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Updated: 16 May 2001