Biography of Martin H. Streit

Martin H. Streit, of Parachute, Colorado, who has during the last nine years faithfully and capably discharged the duties of postmaster of this progressive and enterprising little town, is a native of Erie county, New York, and was born in 1845. He is the son of Michael and Magdalena (Ley) Streit, natives of Lorraine, one of the provinces wrested by fortunes of war, from France by Germany, who came to the United States about the year 1840 and settled in New York, where they remained until 1852, then moved to Indiana. There the father was a prosperous farmer and died in 1872, at the age of fifty-seven. The mother is still living in that state and is past ninety years of age. Her father was a soldier under Bonaparte and her childish fancies were kindled with his stirring accounts of the battles and marches in which he took part under that great commander. The family numbered eleven children, of whom Martin was the third. He began to earn his own livelihood at the age of eleven, being then employed in a furniture factory at North Vernon, Indiana. In 1859 he left that town and took up his residence at Louisville, Kentucky, where he learned the trade of a shoemaker, and where he remained until the beginning of the Civil war. He then returned home and enlisted in Company E, Twenty-second Indiana Infantry, for a term of three years. His regiment was soon in active field service, and he saw much of the horror of the mighty conflict until he participated in the battle of Pea Ridge. There he received three wounds, being shot in the leg and the right wrist and injured in one of his eyes. He was soon afterward discharged on account of the disabilities thus incurred, and sent home. After drifting around a few years at various occupations, he located at Fort Scott, Kansas, where he was engaged in the boot and shoe business during the next ten years. In 1879 he came to Colorado and settled at Gunnison. Here he remained four years prospecting and mining, then went to work for the Denver & Rio Grande Express Company as a messenger on trains. He remained in the employ of this company three years and a half, and at the end of that time, late in 1887, moved to Parachute in Garfield county, Colorado, and started an enterprise in ranching and raising cattle which he afterward abandoned and turned his attention to dealing in real estate, in which he is now successfully occupied. In 1894 he was appointed postmaster at Parachute, and he has held the office continuously since that time, giving general satisfaction in the discharge of his official duties. He was the first Republican, and for a number of years the only one, in this locality. In the development and improvement of the section he has taken an active part, having been one of the originators of what is now called the Wilcox Ditch and Grand Valley Improving Company, and a forceful factor in other works of public utility. In 1870 he was married to Miss Sadie B. Powell, a native of Davis county, Iowa. Mr. Streit is one of the founders of the town of Parachute, he having helped to lay out the town site and start the village on its way of progress and vitality. This prosperous village has since changed its name to Grand Valley. He is at present one of its leading and representative citizens, and manifests a warm and serviceable interest in every element of its welfare.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.

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