Abe (Abraham) Blieden (05/21/1881 – 09/30/1949)
Abe was born to Hannah Wolfson and Aron Itzak Bliden. We are not sure if he was born in Zagare, Lithuania, or in the Riga, Latvia, area. However, he did grow up in the family house which was attached to their sawmill and was possibly also a grain mill. There was a stream on the property and Abe and his siblings loved to go log rolling down it. This was a story that my aunt, Mildred Blieden Rich, heard from her grandmother, Hannah Wolfson Blieden.
His father died in 1883. For many years, the family remained at the mill. However, one by one, the children started leaving to carve out their own path. In 1902, Abe decided it was his turn to leave.
Abe and his younger brother, Meyer, are listed in the New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924 Event Date: 06 Oct 1902. Abraham Blieden born 1881 aged 21 and his brother Michel born 1885 aged 17 came from Winden. They travelled from Antwerp on the ship Vaderland to New York. Their contact was their uncle, Berel Blumberg. Berel was the husband of Yetta Blumberg, their mother’s half-sister.
They were listed as watchmakers. (Page Number: 93 Affiliate Line Number: 000)
In 1904, Abe was listed with his brother as a jeweler in a 1904 Brooklyn Directory. It appears that the 2 brothers had started a business: Blieden Brothers Jewelry.
By 1910, brothers, Abe and Meyer, moved out to Kansas City, Missouri. Abe is listed as a watchmaker, while Meyer’s occupation is now list as “cigars”.
Abe was naturalized in Kansas City, Missouri, on December 12, 1910. However, at first, his naturalization was denied. Why? We stll need to discover the reason for that.
In 1911, he received a patent for a stamp moisturer.
From the Jeweler’s Circular, dated August 7, 1918, we learn that Abe purhased his own store. The store was located in what is now the historic Scarritt Building in Kansas City, Missouri.
The Scarritt Building was bulit as a fire-proof building in 1906 for $750,000. It was designed by Root & Siemens and is located at 818 Grand Ave. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since March 9, 1971, and was restored in 1985.
From his WWII draft card, we see that Abe, although he lived in Missouri, listed his sister Reve who lived in Brooklyn, NY,, as the person who would always know his address. We also see that he was self-employed and that he was a small man being only 5′ 2″ tall. He is described as having hazel eyes, gray hair (he was older by then) and a sallow complexion.
At some point in 1949, Abe must have decided to retire. He moved to Brooklyn, NY, and moved in with his sister, Reve, and her family. He had his jeweler’s tool box shipped to her apartment at 305 Linden Blvd. in Brooklyn, according to a shipping label found in the toolbox.
Somehow my brother, Ira, acquired his tools and toolbox. Ira told me that the hand clamp. the wooden case of jeweler’s files and the Stanley Tools Marker are kept in his own tool box and he uses them all the time. Probably Ira acquired the tools because he is the handy one in the family!
In the toolbox, Ira found an invoice for Bleaden’s Jewelry Shop in Chicago. For years, we wondered if Abe could have be doing business with relatives. In 2019, we found out he was, and we virtually met 2 of the descendants of the Jewelry Shop!
Ira also found that the Bleaden Jewelry label was list in Jeweler’s Index in 1922.
According to his nephew, Jud Bricker, Reve’s son, Abe came to live with them a few months before he died.
He loved to play chess and found a chess club in Brooklyn where he would go to play. On September 30, 1949, he went there to play and collasped and died of a heart attack.
Abe is buried in Mount Judah Cemetery in Ridgewood, Queens County, New York, in the Blieden-Bricker plot. He was pre-deceased by his nephew, Arnold Bricker, Jud’s brother. Arnold was a young doctor who died on August 23, 194 9,from polio while helping out during the polio epidemic at a boys’ camp.
His sister, Reve, was granted access to his estate by the Surrogate Court of New York.
According to the Inflation Calculator, in 2022, $14,000 would be equivalent to $174, 280.