Samuel S. Blyholder


SAMUEL S. BLYHOLDER, a leading citizen of Bethel township, who has a thriving general merchandise business at Center Valley, has been identified with the activities of his part of Armstrong county in various relations, and is a man whose ability and sincere devotion to his responsibilities have won him a high place in the esteem of his fellow citizens. He has been prominently associated with the advancement of farming interests along the most modern lines, and has done excellent work in this connection. As the holder of various public offices he has given great satisfaction to all concerned.

Mr. Blyholder was born in Gilpin (then Allegheny) township, Armstrong county, April 30, 1849. His father, John George Blyholder, was born in 1806 in Wittenberg, Germany, and the family there is now almost extinct. He came to this country in 1831, settling in Greensburg,

Westmoreland Co., Pa., where he engaged in farming. In 1842 he moved to Gilpin township, Armstrong county, where he rented land for a number of years, in 1859 purchasing the farm later owned and occupied by his son Samuel. He became one of the substantial residents of the locality, held various township offices, and was a prominent member of the local Evangelical Church, in which he held office. In politics he was a Democrat. He died in 1883, when he was in his seventy-seventh year. He was married twice, first to Rosanna Bierer, by whom he had seven children, of whom three are living: A. B., a farmer, of Raymore, Mo., who has a family of nine children; J. B., a merchant, at Irwin station, Pa., who has seven children; and Dr. Caleb, of Pittsburgh, who has one son. His wife dying he married (second) Mrs. Rachel (Bouch) Conman, who was born in 1817 in Kittanning township, Armstrong county, and they had two children, Samuel S. and Maggie, the latter deceased. Mrs. Blyholder died Aug. 30, 1890, at the age of seventy-three. She was a daughter of Isaac Bouch, a native of Armstrong county, whose parents were pioneers of this county.

Samuel S. Blyholder grew to manhood on his father�s farm in Gilpin township, meantime attending the elementary schools of the neighborhood and the Irwin high school. He made a specialty of vocal music, which he afterward taught for ten years. He did not devote all his time to that, however, having commenced farming, in which he has always maintained the deepest interest. In 1881 he embarked in the hardware business at Leechburg, after his father�s death, in 1883, disposing of that and purchasing the homestead farm, where he settled and devoted himself to farming. This place comprises 165 acres of valuable, highly improved land, well equipped with the most approved appliances for the conduct of general farming; a steam chopping mill and other advanced machinery have long been included among his implements. He has been identified with the most advanced movements for raising agriculture to the level of the most scientific pursuits, has represented Armstrong county for sixteen years on the Pennsylvania State board of agriculture, is manager of the Armstrong County Farmers� Institute, and has for many years been a prominent member of the Patrons of Husbandry, belonging to Mount Joy Grange, No. 537. He has held many county and State offices in the Grange, and is at present overseer of the State organization, and he has organized many granges, in his own and other counties. He is a recognized authority on agricultural questions.

Mr. Blyholder has from early manhood been actively interested in the success of the Democratic party in this region, and his efficient work has been appreciated not only in the organization, but by his fellow citizens generally, who have supported him for various offices regardless of party lines. He has served his township as school director and auditor and is still holding the former position, also acting as justice of the peace, which office he has filled for eighteen years in Bethel and Gilpin townships. In 1878 he received the nomination of his party for State Legislature, and although the county was then Republican by a thousand majority he was beaten by only fifty-four votes. He was the first Progressive candidate for Congress in 1896, when he was nominated to run for representative of the then Twenty-first Congressional district. His nomination was unsolicited on his part, and though defeated, as was expected in a strong Republican district, he ran ahead of his ticket. He is one of those Progressives who believe in exercising, perpetuating and guarding the principles of government of the people, by the people, and for all the people, and is recognized as a sincere worker toward the betterment of conditions not only in his home community but all over the country.

In religious matters Mr. Blyholder is a Lutheran, and he has been an earnest worker in the local church and in the denomination generally, where as in every other relation of life he has been called upon for various important services. He has been deacon and trustee of the Evangelical Lutheran Church at Leechburg, which he has represented in the Synod and General Council, has been a member of the committee on missions of the Pittsburgh Synod, and a member of the board of trusteees of Thiel College, at Greenville, Mercer Co., Pa. Socially he belongs to Leechburg Lodge, No. 377, B.P.O. Elks.

On Dec. 30, 1880, Mr. Blyholder was married to Anna D. Sweeney, daughter of William and Margaret (Johnston) Sweeney, of Westmoreland county, Pa., and member of an old family of Westmoreland county, Pa. They have had a family of six children: Orrin C., Elma M. (deceased), Mary F., Samuel W., Adela A. and Eula I.

Source: Page(s) PAGES 347-348,
Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed July 1998 by Pat Godesky for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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