|A. M. STARTZELL.|
Among the old-time citizens of Rawlins there are none
better known than A. M. Startzell, whose identification with various
lines of business interests in and around that city extends through a
period of more than thirty-seven years. His life record is an example
of the transference of eastern enterprise to the field of western
opportunity, for he is a native son of Pennsylvania, his birth having
occurred in Ringgold township, Jefferson county, January 6, 1848, his
parents being Jacob and Katherine (Ware) Startzell. After acquiring
his education in the district schools of his home locality, which he
attended for not more than thirty months in all, in periods of three
months a year, he began learning the carpenter’s trade and was thus
employed until August 28, 1876.
It was on that date that M r. Startzell enlisted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for service, in the United States cavalry, becoming a member of Company E, Third United States Cavalry Regiment, with which he was first stationed at Fort Laramie, Wyoming. and later at Camp Robinson, Nebraska. From there, in the fall of 1877, he went with the troops that accompanied a number of Indians to Dakota. In December, 1878, the troops returned to Camp Robinson, where they remained until February, 1879, when they were transferred to Fort Steele, Wyoming. Mr. Startzell was honorably discharged from the service on the 27th of August, 1881. He had been on active duty in all the Indian campaigns during the period of his enlistment and was present at the Thornburg massacre on White River, Colorado, in September, 1879, when Major Thornburg was killed.
Almost immediately after his discharge from the army, Mr. Startzell went to Rawlins, Wyoming, and took up the work of carpentering. A rather unusual coincidence was that the first work which he did at his trade in Rawlins was on the construction of the Merrill home, which in later years became his residence. He had saved some money from his pay as a soldier, and while it was a modest sum, it constituted his total capital at that time. His first business venture was in the sheep industry, which he entered in partnership with John Mahoney in 1882, this marking the beginning of Mr. Startzell’s connection with sheep raising interests, which continued for more than a quarter of a century or until about 1907. In the meantime he had become interested in various other lines of business. He became president of the Smith-Startzell Company, dealers in general merchandise at Rawlins, and subsequently purchased the interest of his partner and developed a business which was the predecessor of that of the Rawlins Mercantile Company, which has for years controlled one of the leading business houses of the city. Mr. Startzell has been the president of this company since its organization in 1892. His activities have also extended into other fields. In 1895 he became vice president of the Ferris-Haggerty Mining Company and for a number of years was a member of its directorate. He became a director of the First National Bank of Rawlins soon after it was organized and he also became a director of the Rawlins State Bank. He was one of the original board of directors of the latter institution and after it became the Rawlins National Bank he continued to serve as a member of its board for a number of years. He is also president of the Wyoming Orchard Company, whose properties are at Loma, Colorado.
Mr. Startzell has been twice married. His present wife was formerly Mrs. Alta Holt, the widow of James Holt. She bore the maiden name of Alta Slosson and is a native of Williams county, Ohio. During her childhood days her parents removed west to Montana, in which state, as well as in Idaho and Wyoming, Mrs. Startzell saw real frontier life and experienced all the vicissitudes and discomforts as well as the dangers that befell the early settlers.
Mr. Startzell has been one of the most prominent members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Wyoming and has been called to many high positions in connection therewith. He has membership in Rawlins Lodge, No. 4, I. 0. 0. F., and was grand master of the grand lodge of Odd Fellows in Wyoming in 1897 and 1898. He was also grand representative to the sovereign grand lodge at Baltimore and again at San Francisco and was grand treasurer of the grand lodge of Wyoming from 1911 until 1914. He is a life member and past exalted ruler of Rawlins Lodge, No. 609, B. P. 0. E.
Mr. Startzell has been a successful man and for years has been numbered among Rawlins’ most substantial citizens. His record in business is a most honorable one, marked by practices that have gained for him the respect and confidence of all. He has likewise done his part as a progressive and public-spirited citizen and he was elected a member of the first state legislature after Wyoming was admitted to the Union. He has made material contribution to the development of his county and state as well as to his private exchequer. He has ever enjoyed life and does yet. While in his seventy-first year, he is well preserved and has the mental and physical strength of men ten years his junior. He has found pleasure in travel and has visited almost every state in the Union as well as various parts of Canada and Mexico. Motoring is one of his favorite recreations and his age in no manner handicaps him in driving his car, which he invariably does on cross country trips that few of his years would attempt.