Elizabeth Eyre Pellet
Elizabeth Eyre Pellet
Place of Birth
Date of Birth
01/15/1887 – April, 1976
Politics, Government & Military Service
Richard and Mary Lyn Ballantine – A personable and colorful advocate for the disadvantaged, workers and the environment in Southwest Colorado
Elizabeth (Betty) Eyre was born in Connecticut. After performing on Broadway and in a silent film, and marching in New York as a suffragist, Pellet moved to Colorado with her husband. They operated mines in Rico, where she overcame an entrenched power structure and was elected to the school board.
After serving as a member of Colorado’s Democratic delegation to the National Convention in 1940, Pellet ran for the State House campaigning on improving roads. She was elected, becoming a champion of transportation issues. One of her most important successes was saving the railroad and the Galloping Goose for the towns in southwestern Colorado, including Rico. These railroads became critical to the shipment of ores, in particular, uranium yellow cake, contributing to the Allies’ victory in World War II. Without the railroad, mineral supplies would have been out of reach, and Rico would have become a ghost town. Pellet also worked to create the “Navajo Trail,” the road across southern Colorado from Kansas to Arizona. She helped Colorado farmers sell their pinto bean surplus by promoting the bean as a nutritious food source for soldiers during World War II.
During Pellet’s career in the Colorado House of Representatives (1940-1942, 1948-1964), she blazed the trail for women – first woman House Minority Leader in 1955-1956, first woman in the nation to hold a major legislative leadership position, first woman in Colorado to run for Congress. While Pellet came to the Legislature from tiny Rico in southwest Colorado, her influence as Minority Leader benefited the entire state by championing legislation for education, children services, and the diagnosis and care of handicapped children. Her local congressman called her “The Woman with the Fighting Heart.” She received many awards, including Colorado Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Denver, the Hannah G. Solomon Award from the Denver Chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women, and Colorado Woman of Achievement by Columbia Savings and Loan.
Pellet became an author when she wrote her entertaining autobiography, That Pellet Woman!