Martin Dies was born on November 5, 1900, in Colorado, Texas. He was the son of Olive M. Cline and Martin Dies, a legislator. Shortly after Dies's birth, he and his family moved to east Texas, where, in 1908, the elder Dies was elected to the United States House of Representatives. Dies's parents were divorced during his father's first term in Congress. Dies spent time with both his mother and his father, attending public schools in Beaumont, Texas; Washington, District of Columbia; and Greenville, Texas.