Occupation: “Tailor,” con man
Martin Weitz’s life prior to his arrival in Leadville is not known, perhaps in part due to his pursuit of illegal activities while in the city. The only clue as to his previous residence is dubious at best in its truthfulness. Upon his arrival in the city, Martin advertised his newly opened “tailoring” business in The Herald Democrat newspaper in which he described himself as an alumni of the Redfern & Sons tailoring firm.  At the time, and up until 1940, Redfern was a well-known couture business with branches in the United Kingdom, France, and in the United states. Martin advertised himself in particular as being “late of Redfern’s, New York” likely for the purpose of attracting a more discerning, and wealthier, clientele. Whether he ever truly worked for Redfern is not verifiable.
Martin remained in Leadville for only a few weeks in September 1899. Upon his arrival he rented rooms from Mrs. John Kennedy at 132 West 4th Street where he began to accept tailoring commissions from local women.  Advertisements for his business were only published in local newspapers over five days, between September 18  and September 22.  On September 26 it came to the attention of the Leadville community that Martin had fled town with a large number of expensive textiles and tailoring supplies provided by his clients.  Among his victims were Mrs. Will Evans and Mrs. Kate Larson, who reported that he had not even taken their measurements prior to accepting the materials they purchased for him. The Herald Democrat article reporting Martin’s thievery concluded that his destination after taking flight was unknown. No update on the theft or Martin’s capture exists in Leadville’s local newspapers, indicating that he succeeded in escaping consequences.
The sole proof of Martin being Jewish was provided by his landlord, Mrs. Kennedy, who reported that he planned to work on Sunday “as he was a Jew.”  His excuse entailed packing up the expensive tailoring supplies for the purpose of working at a friend’s home so as not to disturb the “gentiles” on their Sabbath. Instead, he promptly departed Leadville and was never seen or heard from again.
Though Martin was never seen again in Leadville, an unrelated Weitz visited Leadville decades later. Martin Mishli Weitz was a student rabbi of the Hebrew Union College of Ohio on a tour to “stimulate religious activities” in a variety of Colorado cities during the High Holy Days of 1930. Leadville was one of those stops.
1 M. Weitz Ladies’ Tailor (Leadville, CO: Herald Democrat), September 18, 1899, P6.
2 Wanted Mr. Weitz (Leadville, CO: Herald Democrat), September 26, 1899, P8.
3 M. Weitz Ladies’ Tailor, September 18, 1899, P6.
4 M. Weitz Ladies’ Tailor (Leadville, CO: Herald Democrat), September 22, 1899, P8.
5 Wanted Mr. Weitz, September 26, 1899, P8.
6 Wanted Mr. Weitz, September 26, 1899, P8.
M. Weitz Ladies’ Tailor. Leadville, CO: Herald Democrat. September 18, 1899.
M. Weitz Ladies’ Tailor. Leadville, CO: Herald Democrat. September 22, 1899.
Wanted Mr. Weitz. Leadville, CO: Herald Democrat. September 26, 1899.
To cite any of the information in this biography, please use the following reference.
AUTHOR: Quinn Whittington
CONTRIBUTOR: Trevor Mark
EDITOR: William Korn
SOURCE: Jewish Surnames/Weitz
PUBLISHED BY: Temple Israel Foundation. Leadville, CO; USA. 2020
STABLE URL: http://www.jewishleadville.org/weitz.html