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Jesse A. Bloch


Businessman and legislator Jesse A. Bloch (November 2, 1879-January 17, 1951) was born in Wheeling, the year his father and uncle founded Bloch Brothers Tobacco Company. He entered the family business in 1900 and succeeded his father as president in 1937. A progressive Republican, Bloch was active in civic and political affairs. He served as a member of the House of Delegates in the 1910s and the state Senate in the 1920s. His achievements included introducing workers’ compensation legislation and casting the decisive vote for ratification of the 19th Amendment (women’s suffrage). His civic commitments included the Wheeling Housing Authority, Ohio Valley General Hospital, and the Boy Scouts.

Bloch married Jessie Thornton Moffat in 1905, and the couple had two children. Son Thomas carried on the family business tradition, succeeding his father as tobacco company president in 1947. Although the Blochs were one of Wheeling’s original Jewish families, Jesse Bloch’s parents had withdrawn from the Eoff Street Temple, and the family later became active in the Vance Memorial Presbyterian Church. Jesse Bloch died in Wheeling.

Written by Deborah R. Weiner