Samuel Greenblatt, a successful general merchant of North English and one of the foremost business men of that
town, was born in Russia on the 15th of July, 1873, a son of Jacob and Ethel (Hirschman) Greenblatt, both of whom
passed away in Russia. Our subject was reared at home and acquired his education largely under private German tutors,
for he lived near the German line and learned only the German language.
When seventeen years of age he sailed for the United States, arriving in New York in the spring of 1890, but after
spending two or three weeks in that metropolis he came west, locating at Muscatine, Iowa. For two years he traveled
throughout the country districts as a dry goods peddler, selling his goods from house to house. He thus became
acquainted with the customs of the country and familiarized himself with the English language, of which he was
entirely ignorant when he arrived in the United States. His next business venture was in a somewhat different line,
as, in partnership with his brother Jacob, who had followed him to this country, he engaged in the junk business
in Muscatine. At length he sold his interest in the business and went to Oxford, Iowa, where he established himself
as a general merchant. In the five years that he remained there he built up a good trade and prospered financially.
The year 1900 witnessed his arrival in North English and the general store which he opened has become one of the
leading mercantile establishments of the town. He adheres consistently to strict business methods in his dealings
with the public and has found that policy a very satisfactory one. He carries the largest stock of merchandise
in Iowa county, being valued at thirty five thousand dollars or more; his goods are modern and up to date and selected
with reference to the needs of the community which he serves; and, as the store is well appointed and as everything
possible is done to facilitate the transaction of business, it compares favorably with the stores of cities of
When he came to this country Mr. Greenblatt was not only empty handed but also labored under the disadvantage of
speaking only a foreign tongue and he has just cause to be proud of his achievements, as he has gained financial
independence and has also educated himself in English by study and observation so that he has a thorough command
of the language. About 1905 Mr. Greenblatt employed a young man by the name of Bruce Thomas, who soon manifested
an interest in the business and applied himself so diligently that Mr. Greenblatt admitted him to partnership on
the 1st of February, 1915, the firm name becoming Greenblatt & Thomas
On the 5th of September, 1905, Mr. Greenblatt was united in marriage to Miss Leona Oransky, of Des Moines, Iowa,
and they have a son and daughter, Ethelyn and Jerald J. Mr. Greenblatt has supported the republican party since
becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States and for four years was a member of the city council, using
his prerogatives as a member of that body to further the civic advancement of North English. Fraternally he belongs
to Triumph Lodge, No. 479, A. F. & A. M., of North English; North English Lodge, No. 256, K. P.; and North
English Lodge, No. 325, I. O. O. F. Both he and his wife are members of the Order of the Eastern Star and the Rebekahs.
Mr. Greenblatt has displayed marked business ability which has commanded the respect of those who know him and
in the conduct of his store has not only won gratifying prosperity for himself but has also been a factor in the
commercial expansion of his town. There has never been the slightest question as to his integrity and he is one
of the influential and valued citizens of his community.
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Iowa County, IA
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