MARTIN A. TREI, a leading and successful merchant of Forreston, came to this country in 1866 and has here spent one-third of a century. He was born in the village of Nuttermoor, Cantor Leer, Germany, October 10, 1852, and is the son of Aldirk and Anna (Brandt) Trei, both natives of Germany. In his native village he received his education and there remained until he was thirteen years old, when the family emigrated to the United States and settled in Forreston Township, Ogle County, where the father was engaged in farming. From 1866 until 1879 our subject remained on the farm and assisted in the farm work becoming a thorough and scientific farmer. He has yet living one brother and five sisters. Hilka is the wife of John Geisman, living near Shannon. Renskea is the wife of T. Buisker, a farmer of Lincoln Township. Gerhardina is the wife of T. Tempel, a farmer residing near Shannon. John resides two miles west of Baileyville, in Stephenson County. Lena is the wife of Henry Van Deest, a farmer of Forreston Township. Margaret is the wife of L. Pammer, residing at Ashton, Iowa. An older brother, Frederick, preceded the family to the United States. During the Civil War he offered his services to his adopted country, and dying while yet in the service was buried at Monterey, Tennessee. The father of this family died August 18, 1870, and the mother, August 26, 1877.
On the 27th of November, 1877, Mr. Trei was united in marriage with Miss Annie DeGrote, daughter of F. and Tina DeGrote. She was born in Woquard, Emden, Germany, and came to America in 1866 in company with her parents, who settled in Ridott. By this union four children have been born - Ollie J., Tina, Fred, and Henry F. Of these, Ollie and Fred are assisting their father in the store. The family are well known and highly esteemed.
In 1879, Mr. Trei left the farm and went to Freeport, where he engaged in the mercantile business, remaining there until 1885, when he came to Forreston and started a general dry goods and grocery business, in which he has since continued with gratifying success. He cast his first presidential vote for Rutherford B. Hayes, and has since been a staunch and uncompromising Republican. He has been town trustee for more than six years, and has been on the school board for three terms, and is the present secretarypf that body. He is the secretary of the Retail Merchants Association, and has held different offices of the community. A member of the German Reformed Church, he has been superintendent of its Sunday School for the past six years, and has been a worker of the Sunday School since 1885. He is a self-made and successful business man, affable and courteous in address, and interests in all improvements and is a factor in the development of his adopted city and county along all lines. He is popular and influential, and his friends are many throughout Stephenson and Ogle Counties.
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