Select Klein Miscellany


Here are some Klein stories
accounts over the years:


Early Kleins in Germany

of Klein as a surname were:

  • Herolt
    der Kleine of Wurzburg in northern Bavaria in
  • Walthem
    der Kleine of Kassel in northern Hesse in 1209
  • and
    Kounrad Claineman
    of Upper Schwabia in Baden Wurttemberg in 1283.


Martinus Cline from the Mohawk Valley

made the following contribution to the History
of Montgomery County
which appeared in 1892.

tidings from the New
World reached them in that far-off land, I know little and that little
remember when over fifty years ago (that would be about 1840), as we
all set
around the big fireplace, of a long, stormy, winter evening, someone
would say,
‘Granny, tell us a story about the old country.”

Granny would say, ‘I never lived in the old country, but I did live
with my
grandfather Martinus Cline.  I went there
when I was about fifteen years old. They told me what they heard in
far-off land that freedom, peace and great wealth could be theirs if
they could
brave all dangers of that then mysterious great width of waters; and
then there
was something said which they could hardly believe — that much money
could be
gathered from many bushes, not knowing how to translate the English
German, which was that much money could be realized from bushels, not

Cline was the son of a well-to-do farmer in High
Germany.  When quite young the father
went from Germany to Holland to seek his fortune. There he married the
daughter of a wealthy lady.  Martinus was
about ten years old when they left their home in Holland; it was
months before they found a home in America, and it was nearly winter
when they
dug a place and covered it with boughs where they lived the first
winter, and
they afterwards chose that place as a burial lot.'”

parents of Martinus
Clyne were probably Johannes and Mary Christina Clyne of Mohawk on the
side of the Mohawk river. This seems to be borne out by the will of
Clyne, dated 1787, in which he mentions his Maria Catherine (not Mary
Christina) and sons Jacob and Martinu



Klein, Kline, and Cline in America in 1920


Numbers (000’s) Klein Kline Cline
New York    3.2    0.8    0.3
Pennsylvania    0.8    2.8    0.4
Ohio    0.9    1.0    0.8
Illinois    1.1    0.5    0.4
Elsewhere    4.5    3.7    4.8
Total   10.5    8.8    6.7



Stephan Klein’s Request for

Stephan Klein’s
request for emiigration to the Republic of Texas in 1844 ran as follows:


“The request of the
carpenter and
vine-dresser, Stephan Klein from Hattenheim, at the office of the Duchy
Eltville, for the release from the present trade for reasons of
immigration to
Texas, is granted for the asked for immigration for the petitioner and
his wife
and five children which shall emigrate with him and comprise his family.
Request granted in Wiesbaden on the 9th of
September, 1844, by the Government of the Duchy of Nassau.”


The Legend of
Mathias Klein

Klein was born in Worms in the Rhine Palatine in,
Germany in 1826.  Mathias was destined to
become a fine craftsman.  At the age of
22 he was given the opportunity of working with Simon Jossy, one of the
famous locksmith of his time.   Mathias
studied his work and became a master locksmith three years later.

in 1851
the prospect of adventure and excitement pulled him away from home.
boarded a ship to carry him to a new life in America. When he landed in
Philadelphia, he found that the need for a skilled locksmith was not
enough to
earn him a living. Mathias was then offered the position of blacksmith
on a
whaling ship.

a few years on the whaling circuit, Mathias was in need of
something else. He had heard of the city of Chicago and it seemed like
right place to go.  It proved a correct
decision.  Soon he had established his
own foundry and shop there.

was booming as Mathias became successful in
his business. As Chicago and America grew, so did the need for better
tools. As
the story goes – one day a telegraph linesman came into Mathias’s shop
with a
pair of broken linesman’s pliers. While the workman waited, Mathias
forged a replacement for the broken half of pliers. He then heat
treated and
riveted the old and new half together. One month later the same
brought the tool back, when the other half had broken. Again Mathias
forged the new half. This became the first pair of Klein linesman
pliers, ever
made.  From that day on, the Klein linesman pliers would be the
standard of the

were some ups and downs as his business progressed.
He lost everything in the Great Chicago Fire
of 1871.  But he was back in business
within two weeks at the same location and contributed substantially to
rebuilding of the city.

He was still working at the
company every day at the age of 91 in 1917.
He died the next year, passing the business onto his son John
Mathias.  The company operates today
great grandsons at the helm and great great grandsons in training

S. Klein in New York

immigrant Samuel Klein opened a small women’s dress shop in a second
floor loft
on Union Square.  Within twenty years,
that small store, which had begun with only 36 dresses on the racks,
grew into
a major shopping destination downtown.  For many years Klein’s was famously associated
with Union
Square and was immortalized in song.

Miss Adelaide sang in Guys and Dolls:

“At Wanamaker’s and Saks and Klein’s
A lesson I’ve
been taught
You can’t get alterations
On a dress you haven’t bought.”

Judy Holiday’s song Drop That Name in
The Bells are Ringing contained the
phrase: “things with great lines….like things from Klein’s.”

Klein died in 1942 and his family sold the business four years later.  The chain did continue under different owners
until 1975
.  Then the famous “S. Klein” sign in
Union Square came down.


King Ralph of

The defining moment for Ralph Klein’s political
style was set in the early 1980’s and began with an inebriated Mr.
shooting from the lip.

He had barely draped the chain of office around his neck
as mayor of Calgary in 1980 when Pierre Trudeau’s Liberal government
the National Energy Program.  The NEP
effectively imposed revenue-sharing burdens on oil and gas revenues in
to ameliorate the effects of higher gas prices in other parts of the
Animosity registered deep and fast in the province, giving rise to the
bumper sticker: “Let the eastern bastards freeze in the dark.”

That was the
atmosphere when Mr. Klein agreed to speak at an evening event in
January 1982,
welcoming newcomers to his city, many of them from east of the Manitoba
Already well oiled, Mr. Klein lashed out at the “creeps” who arrived
skills or resources, bumped up Calgary’s welfare rolls, stretched
lines and boosted crime rates.

“Stay away, Bums Told,” blared a headline in the Calgary Herald the next morning,
inciting angry responses from coast to coast.
But condemnation soon gave way to a grudging admiration for “a
personable mayor who delivered the straight goods in the face of



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