A well known pioneer, a man of wide experience in the mines of Idaho and in frontier life in general, our subject is now one of the business men of Lewiston and a patriotic and worthy citizen. He was born in Buffalo, New York, on July 26, 1852, being the son of Jacob and Betsy Grostein. The father was born in 1792, in Poland, was with Napoleon in Russia and came to the United States in 1838 to escape punishment on account of having been allied with Napoleon. He settled in Albany, later was a clothier in Buffalo, and died in Lewiston in 1886. The mother was born in Poland in 1803, and died in Lewiston in 1888.

At the age of fifteen, our subject came west with his sister, landing in Lewiston on May 12, 1867, having come via Panama and San Francisco. He was educated in Buffalo and Lewiston and here went with his brother Robert to Clearwater Station, where he engaged in business in 1869 and then went to Newsome creek in 1872. He was in business with his brother Isaac there; then went to Elk City, where he entered into partnership with Mr. Bernard until 1875. After that we find him operating a store in Warren until 1880, then he came to Lewiston. On February 23, 1881, Mr. Grostein married Miss Clara J., daughter of William and Mary Writer, the father a farmer and pioneer from Iowa, his native state. Mrs. Grostein was born in Florence on August 30, 1863, being the first white child born there. She has brothers and sisters named as follows, Josephine, Walter, Carrie, Greer and Elbert. Mr. Grostein has two brothers and one sister, Robert, Rachel Bernard, Isaac. To Mr. and Mrs. Grostein have been born four children, as follows, Isaac C. twenty years of age on September 3, 1902, now in the fruit business in Lewiston: Eunice, seventeen, at home; Jacob M., thirteen, at home; Mary B., aged seven.

Mr. Grostein is a member of the Masonic fraternity, both the blue lodge and the chapter. He is a Democrat and active in politics, and while he always helps his friends to lie elected, he has never sought political preferment for himself. He is also a member of the Pioneer Association and is one of the real builders of the country. He was in the Sheepeater War and the Nez Perces war and his wife was one of the number shut up in the block house on Slate creek while the Indians had them surrounded. Mr. Grostein was one of sixteen that went out from Warren to get Frank Smith on the Salmon and bring him to Warren.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903