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Valentin Blatz' Obit and Last Will & Testament
by Michael R. Reilly, Editor, copyright March 18, 2013
Milwaukee Sentinel , Sunday May 27, 1894
VALENTIN BLATZ DEAD
Heart Disease Carries Off the Well-Known Brewer
SUDDENLY STRICKEN AT HOTEL RYAN, ST. PAUL.
Mr. Blatz and His Wife Were Returning From California on Their Way to
Milwaukee-His Family Here Shocked by the Sudden Intelligence- Mr. Blatz Was One
of the City’s Wealthiest Men--Started in a Very Small Way Back in the Fifties
and Built Up a Vast Business.
ST. PAUL, Minn., May 26—Valentin Blatz, the millionaire
Milwaukee brewer, died at The Hotel Ryan at 10:20 o’clock this evening of heart
disease. Mr. Blatz and his wife arrived here Thursday morning from California,
where they have been spending the past three months. On Friday Mr. and Mrs.
Blatz went to Minneapolis, and for dinner the former ate freely of ice cream.
This chilled his stomach and gave him great pain. At 6 o’clock this morning Dr.
Hahu was called to Mr. Blatz’s rooms, and left a prescription which seemed to
relieve the patient. He grew worse this evening, however, and a little after 10
o’clock stepped outside his room into the hall for a few moments. Upon his
return he was very pale and sank into a chair. His wife ran to him but found
almost immediately that his pulse had stopped beating. Dr. Talbot Jones, whose
room was near by, was quickly summoned, but found Mr. Blatz beyond medical aid.
He gave the immediate cause of death as heart disease, which was complicated by
stomach and bowel troubles. Mr. Blatz was 67 years old.
A SAD SHOCK TO HIS FAMILY .
The first news received in the city in regard to Mr. Blatz’s
death was a brief bulletin to The Sentinel from St. Paul and a reporter was the
first to notify Emil Blatz of his father’s death. The latter at first absolutely
declined to credit the news, which he declared must be a cunard, and not until
he learned some of the details of his father’s death from an interdispatch
received by The Sentinel did he give up hoping that the sad announcement was a
mistake. He at once took an early morning train for St. Paul that he might be
with his mother in her bereavement. For some reason the dispatches to the family
were delayed and Mr. Blatz’s family, with the exception of Emil Blatz, did not
learn of his death until some hours after it was generally known down town. The
first message for the family was received about 1:15 o’clock this morning and
was directed to Albert C. Blatz. He had left early last evening for Fort
Atkinson, and in his absence the message was opened by his wife, who at once
notified the other members of the family either by messenger or by wire of Mr.
Mr. Blatz is survived by his wife, who was with him in St.
Paul when he died, and by five children—three sons, Albert C., Valentin, Jr.,
and Emil Blatz, and two daughters, Mrs. John Kremer, wife of the secretary of
the Blatz Brewing company, and Mrs. Gustav Kletzsch of New York city. The latter
was notified by wire early this morning of her father’s death, and will
undoubtedly come on at once to Milwaukee. A fourth son, Louis Blatz, died some
ten years ago in Minneapolis.
Mr. Blatz was expected home from New York to-morrow and his
children were making preparations to welcome him with a family gathering some
evening this week. He had been away since March 1, when he left for a trip to
the Mid-winter fair. He went out over the Southern Pacific railway and, was
coming back by way of the Northern Pacific.
LEAVES A GREAT BUSINESS AND FORTUNE.
Valentin Blatz was regarded as one of the wealthiest men in Milwaukee. He was
rated a millionaire, and his fortune by some is believed to have been $6,000,000
or $8,000,000. He was a plain man, without pretensions and no love for show,
rather retired, and devoted to his home and business. Every day found him at the
office of the Blatz brewery personally attending to everything. While very
wealthy, he never made any display. In his strict attention to his own affairs
and studious avoiding of everything of a public nature probably lay the elements
of his success in the great business he built up. The properties which he
gradually acquired are among the most valuable in the city, and represent a
value of not less than $1,000,000. He acquired most of these within the past
five or six years. Among them is the hotel at the southwest corner of Oneida and
East Water street, formerly known as the Grand Central hotel, valuable corners
on East Water street in the neighborhood of the city hall, on Grand avenue, and
in different parts of the city, including Pleasant valley on the Milwaukee river
, etc . Besides the fine residence at the southwest corner of Juneau avenue and
Van Buren streets, he owned a handsome summer residence on the Whitefish Bay
A NATIVE OF BAVARIA.
Mr. Blatz was born Oct. 1, 1826, at Miltenberg-on-the-Main, in Bavaria. His
father was a brewer. Having attended school until he was 14 years of age, young
Blatz entered his father’s establishment, remaining there four years. He spent
four more years working and acquiring the practical knowledge of the brewing
business in various breweries in Germany, and in 1848 he emigrated, to America.
After working one year in Buffalo, N.Y., at the Born brewery of that city, he
came to Milwaukee, and in 1851, with the capital of $500, engaged in the brewing
business. The brewery which he built up to its present proportions was founded
in 1846 by one John Brown [sic.]. Prior to acquiring it Mr. Blatz had been
engaged in the same brewery as foreman. The brewery buildings were small, and in
1851 only 150 barrels of beer were sold. The cellars were capable of storing
only eighty barrels. During the following year 350 barrels were sold, and from
that time the business steadily increased. The output in 1861 was 8,000 barrels,
in 1866 34,000, in 1875 65,000, in 1880 95,000, and last Jan. 1 the output was
365,000. In 1868 the malt house and malt kilns were erected. The malt house at
that time could hold only 50,000 bushels. Since that time the capacity of the
malt houses has been increased so that it now amounts to 1,000,000 bushels. In
1870 the ice houses at the corner of Broadway and Johnson street were erected. A
conflagration destroyed the malt and ice houses in 1872, but they were promptly
rebuilt. In 1887 a refrigerator with a capacity of 60,000 barrels, five stories
high, was erected, also a new washhouse, a cooper shop, an addition to the
bottling works, etc. The bottling department was established in 1875. Three
years ago all the old brewery buildings were partly torn down and remodeled.
The brewery has attained wide importance since 1880, when it began to supply
beer to all parts of the United States and America. In 1889 the business was
incorporated with a capital stock of $2,000,000. The officers of the Valentin
Blatz Brewing company then were: Val. Blatz, president; Albert C. Blatz, vice
president; John Kremer, secretary; Val. Blatz Jr., superintendent.
GOES INTO THE ANGLO-AMERICAN SYNDICATE.
In 1891 the Blatz brewery became a part of the Anglo-American brewing syndicate
known as the United States Brewing company. The Blatz’s, with Val Blatz, Sr., at
the head, were left in full control of the property on salaries, and received in
addition about $3,000,000, so it was reported at the time, of the syndicate
stock. Last year the output of the brewery was 365,000 barrels, [making it the
third largest] brewery in Milwaukee. It has always had a large share of the
cream of the trade in Milwaukee, and has being shipping large quantities of beer
to Chicago, New York, and all parts of the country.
Mr. Blatz was an alderman in 1872, the only public office he ever held, and was
for many years since 1868 president of the Second Ward Savings bank.
The Milwaukee Journal , Monday May 28, 1894
VALENTIN BLATZ DEAD
THE WEALTHY BREWER SUDDENLY PASSES AWAY AT ST. PAUL.
REMAINS ARRIVE TODAY
Mr. Blatz Was on His Way Home from the Pacific Coast When He Died—The Funeral
Will Be Held Wednesday Forenoon—The Arrangements for It Not Completed.
Valentin Blatz, the wealthy Milwaukee brewer, died at St.
Paul Saturday evening.
The remains were brought to this city at 7:50 o’clock this morning and conveyed
to the family residence on Juneau avenue and Van Buren street.
The funeral has been set for Wednesday forenoon at 11
o’clock. The arrangements are in the hands of Charles F. Fricke, Mr. Blatz’s
secretary. The officers of Aurora lodge, I. O. O. F., visited the house of
mourning this forenoon and offered the services of the lodge, of which decased
[sic] was a member, at the funeral. A number of other societies with which the
deceased was connected will probably assist in the services. Mr. Blatz was a
member of the Musical society, Arion club, Liederkranz society, an honorary
member of the New York Liederkranz and of the Germania Maennerchor of Chicago,
of the turner societies of this city, the Freie Gemeinde, the Olde Settlers’
club and a number of others, all of which will be represented at the funeral.
On their trip to California Mr. and Mrs. Blatz were
accompanied by Mr. Henry Brandel of Fort Atkinson, a cousin of the deceased, but
who separated from the party at Portland, Ore., coming home directly. Upon
receiving the news of Mr. Blatz’s death he immediately started for St. Paul,
returning with Emil Blatz, who had gone there to visit his mother.
Mr. Blatz is survived by his wife, three sons—Albert C.,
Valentine [sic] and Emil, and two daughters—Mrs. John Kremer and Mrs. Gustav
His Death Entirely Unexpected
The news of the death of Valentine [sic] Blatz was entirely
unexpected to his family, his friends and the people at large. He and Mrs. Blatz
started for California in the first week of February, to visit the Midwinter
exposition. In going thither he carried out an intention that occupied his mind
for years, but which he postponed from time to time, it is said, on account of a
premonition that he would not return alive. Finally the health of his wife made
it necessary to seek a more salubrious climate and Mr. Blatz decided to go to
California. He was taken sick at St. Paul Friday night, on his way home, and
died Saturday evening.
The Milwaukee Brewers’ association met this forenoon and
adopted the following resolutions:
"Whereas, It becomes the painful duty of the Milwaukee
Brewers’ association to record the sudden death of one of its oldest members,
Valentin Blatz, be it
"Resolved, That this association has lost in him a most
faithful and efficient member, and his associates a devoted friend and adviser.
"We esteemed in him a man of sterling integrity and a true
brewer. We deeply deplore his loss and beg to assure his widow and his children
of our heartfelt sympathy in their bereavement, and
"Resolved, That a copy hereof be transmitted to the family of
The Dead Brewer’s Life.
Mr. Blatz was 68 years of age. He was born at
Miltenberg-on-the-Main, in Bavaria, on Oct. 1, 1826. He left school when 14
years of age and spent the next four years in his father’s brewery. He spent
four years more in examining the celebrated breweries of Germany. In 1848 he
came to America, working a year in the Born brewery at Buffalo and then coming
to Milwaukee. In 1851, with a capital of $500, he engaged in the brewing
business on his own account. John Braun had established a brewery in 1846 and
Mr. Blatz was the foreman of the brewery at the time that he became its owner.
Braun was thrown from his wagon and killed while selling beer. Mr. Blatz married
Mrs. Braun, who survives him, and acquired the brewery. He employed four hands
at the start and brewed 150 barrels of beer the first year.
It has been claimed that Mr. Blatz was the first brewer to
give Milwaukee beer a reputation outside of the state. Be that as it may, his
beer soon became noted and his business increased rapidly. In 1861 he sold 8,000
barrels of beer. In 1866, 34,000 barrels, and in 1880, 95,000 barrels. In 1864
his brewery was twice as large as the Best brewery. The product of the Blatz
brewery last year was 365,000 barrels. In 1889 the business was incorporated
with a capital stock of $2,000,000. About three years ago Mr. Blatz and his
associates went into the English-American brewery syndicate. They received stock
to the amount of $3,000,000 in the syndicate, of which Mr. Blatz was elected
president, and was placed in charge of the Milwaukee business at a large salary.
For a number of years, Mr. Blatz was president of the Second
Ward Savings bank. He served as alderman in 1872, which was the only public
office that he ever held.