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Local History Index - Index to Wisconsin Brewery and Related Articles

Index to Blatz Brewing Company British Brewery Syndicate Letters

Valentin Blatz' Obit and Last Will & Testament

by Michael R. Reilly, Editor, copyright March 18, 2013

Last updated 01/11/2016


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. Blatz’s death.

    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 road.

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 Kletzsch.

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 deceased."

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.


  • Transcript of Valentin Blatz’ Will

    Register of Probate, File 10517

    Last Will & Testament

    of

    Valentin Blatz

    Know all men by these Presents that I, Valentin Blatz of the city of Milwaukee in the State of Wisconsin, do hereby make publish and declare my last will and testament as follows:

    First. I hereby revoke and annul any and every testamentary disposition of my property heretofore made by me.

    Second. I hereby give and devise to my beloved wife Louise Blatz, in case she shall survive me my homestead on Van Buren street in the city of Milwaukee with all my household furniture and effects both useful and ornamental, all wearing apparel and personal ornaments, and the carriages, sleighs, horses, harnesses and appurtenances kept for family use, also my place on the Whitefish Bay road near Milwaukee, consisting of about seven acres of land with the buildings thereon and known by the name of Ferne Brae, together with all the furniture and effects both useful and ornamental belonging to or used in connection therewith. I further give and bequeath to my beloved wife, as long as she shall live, the annual sum of Ten Thousand dollars, to be paid to her by my executors hereafter named in equal quarterly payments; said devises and bequests to be accepted by her in lieu of dower.

    Third. I give and bequeath to Cora, Selma, Elsie and John Blatz (so called) children of John Braun, the oldest son of my wife, who is now deceased, and who during his lifetime was generally known as John Blatz the sum of five thousand dollars each. Such sum of five thousand dollars shall be set apart and invested for each of said children by my executors until each child shall respectively arrive at the age of twenty years, and the income thereof shall be paid to him or to her after that time as the same shall be received each year.

    The principal sums shall be held by my executors in trust until each child shall respectively arrive at the age of thirty years; provided that if any of said girls shall marry before arriving at such age and my executors shall be satisfied that it will be to her advantage and that the same will be well cared for and not wasted, they are hereby authorized in such case to pay over to her said principal sum or such part thereof as they may think best, and provided also that in case said John Blatz shall before his thirtieth year desire to use said principal sum bequeathed to him or part thereof in business and my executors shall be satisfied that it is prudent and safe, and that he can be safely trusted not to waste the same, they may at any time pay over to him said principal sum or such part thereof as they may think best, and provided further that in case my executors shall have reason to believe in the case of any of said four legatees at the time when he or she shall arrive at the age of thirty years that for any reason it will not be prudent and best to pay over to her or to him said principal sum they shall be authorized and are hereby directed to withhold said principal sum and continue to invest the same paying to the beneficiary the income thereof so long as they shall deem proper, and if necessary throughout the lifetime of such beneficiary, after which it is to be paid to her or his heirs.

    Fourth. Subject to the foregoing devises and legacies and subject to the payment of my past debts (if any) I give devise and bequeath all my property real and personal, and all I may be in any wise interested in at the time of my death, in equal shares to my five children, viz., Louise Kremer (who is in all respects to be treated as one of my own children) Albert Blatz, Emil Blatz, Valentin Blatz Jr. and Alma Kletzsch, and to their respective heirs forever. In case any of my said five children should die prior to my decease his or her share of said inheritance shall go to his or her lawful heirs.

    Fifth. I nominate and appoint my son-in-law John Kremer and my sons Albert Blatz and Valentin Blatz Jr. executors of this my last will and testament giving to them full power and authority to do all things required to carry out the provisions of this will and I hereby give to my executors power and authority to sell real estate and to convey the same when in their judgment it shall be advisable so to do, and I request that said executors be not required to give an official bond with sureties but that the personal bond be taken of each. It is my wish and I direct that Mr. John Kremer as one of my executors have charge of, and represent the estate in, all the interests of the estate in the Second Ward Savings Bank.

    Sixth. I further provide and direct that that [sic] my said executors pay the following legacies, and the provisions of paragraph fourth of this will are hereby made subject to the same.

    • To the German and English Academy of Milwaukee the sum of three thousand dollars.

    • To the Nord Amerikanische Turnlehrer Seminar, at present located at Milwaukee the sum of two thousand dollars.

    • To the Associated Charities of Milwaukee the sum of one thousand dollars.

    • To the St. Mary’s Hospital of Milwaukee the sum of one thousand dollars.

    • To St. Rose Orphan Asylum of Milwaukee the sum of one thousand dollars.

    • To The Milwaukee Orphan Asylum of said city the sum of one thousand dollars.

    • To The Wisconsin Industrial School of Milwaukee the sum of one thousand dollars.

    • To the Deutsche Gesellschaft in Aid of Immigrants of Milwaukee the sum of one thousand dollars.

    • To the Wisconsin General Hospital of Milwaukee the sum of one thousand dollars.

    • To the Home for the Aged in charge of the Little Sisters of the Poor of Milwaukee the sum of five hundred dollars.

    • To the Home for the Friendless of Milwaukee the sum of five hundred dollars.

    • To the Wisconsin Phraseological Institute for Deaf and Dumb of Milwaukee the sum of five hundred dollars.

    • To the House of the Good Shepherd located in the town of Wauwatosa in the county of Milwaukee the sum of five hundred dollars.

    • To St. Vincents Infants Asylum of Milwaukee the sum of five hundred dollars.

    • To The Milwaukee Infants Home of Milwaukee the sum of five hundred dollars.

    • To St. John’s Home for Old Ladies of Milwaukee the sum of five hundred dollars.

    • To The Milwaukee Protestant Home for the Aged the sum of five hundred.

    All of said sums to be paid as soon as convenient but not later than one year after my death.

    In witness whereof I set my hand and seal to this my last will and testament, written on this and six like sheets of paper this 17th day of February 1894.

    Valentin Blatz

    The foregoing instrument written on seven sheets of paper like this all in the handwriting of Mr. F. C. Winkler of Milwaukee, was on this 17th day of February 1894 in our presence executed by said Valentin Blatz and then and there by him declared to be his last will and testament, and we at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other subscribe our names as witnesses thereto.

    F. C. Winkler of Milwaukee Wis

    AAL Smith of Milwaukee, Wis.

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