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My Grandfather
Lorenzo Dow Gold

by Lucille (Williams) Wright
Submitted by Donna Hunter

My Grandpa Lorenzo Dow Gold was born in Christian Co., Missouri, February 14, 1861, the seventh child of the eleven children born to Thomas and Mary Jane (Cavener) Gold. On April 12, 1861 the Civil War started, in which grandpa's father served.

I used to think that Grandpa's name was unusual but I then found many Lorenzo Dows back in history, thought to have been named for Lorenzo Dow, the itinerant preacher (1777 - 1834) who made a great impact on the people of the frontier with his preaching style and his war on sin and Satan. This Lorenzo Dow covered a lot of territory in the United States, Canada and England. He died during a trip to visit President Andrew Jackson. It is possible that the family of my great-great grandparents, Jonathan and Sarah (Ryalls) Gold, along with their son Thomas, heard Lorenzo Dow preach in Tennessee and so it might have been that Grandpa Lorenzo was named in memory of him.

At age 19, Lorenzo Dow Gold married pretty 17 year old Campcedell West, daughter of Samuel and Rebecca (Henderson) West. Rebecca was a sister to Mary Wright, wife of George Wright and they were the parents of the Wright family of Union City, Missouri. One of their thirteen children was Mollie Wright. The Wright Cemetery was started about 1882 when their five year old daughter, Sylvania, died.

Grandpa Lorenzo was a very religious man which was a source or strength and comfort to him throughout his tragic life. At about the age of 31 he had to have his right foot amputated below the knee. The foot was buried in the White Cemetery. A story still told is that he suffered with intense phantom pain and said that it felt like his foot was still there but twisted and his toes filled with gravel. Some of the neighborhood men, two of them were Dick Hanafin and Oliver Stowe, went to the cemetery and dug up the foot, cleaned and straightened it and buried it again. It is said that what they did helped the pain immensely. There was a stone made which pictured a foot with four toes in the cemetery when I visited there in 1945 but the next time I was there it was gone. Grandpa Lorenzo had to have been a very strong man to have climbed up on the kitchen table and allowed his leg to be cut off. This happened before my mother was born. He mostly wore a peg leg but had an artificial foot and leg that he wore on special occasions. His saddle stirrup was made to fit his peg and so was his car pedals.

Renze and Campie, as they were known to friends and relatives, had ten children and raised eight of them to adulthood. In 1887 they lost a baby boy, Wilbern, and then in 1890, they lost two year old Jonah Ernest.

Grandpa often said, "Work is Salvation " and I don't think he let his handicap slow him down if he could help it. Years ago, I inquired of my Aunt Susie about her growing up years in the Gold family. She said, "Father always had something going that kept us all occupied. Everybody that could get out of bed of a morning under their own power was at the table when breakfast was served. When the days were short, the chores were done by lantern light and when father wanted something done he wanted it done in a hurry." Grandpa's canning factory also kept everyone busy in season.

My mother spoke of all the good food from the garden, apple orchard, tomato and strawberry patches, and the wild grapes, blackberries and hickory nuts in the wooded area of the farm. She also remembered her mother's good cooking and said that most of the time there was at least 10 people around the table at meal time counting the hired man and the school teacher who boarded with them during the school year. Grandpa's Nephew, Orus Lent, also lived with the family.

One of my mother's jobs was bringing in the sheep. After shearing time, Grandma had the wool carded and then she spun it into yarn on her spinning wheel and even made wool blankets for the family using Aunt Mary Wright's loom.

My mom also told of the visiting of relatives and neighbors and how the young folks would gather at Uncle George and Aunt Mary Wright's house on Sunday to visit and play the organ and sing. She spoke of church and the Brush-Arbor Meetings and always of her happy school days at Union City (School), Missouri.

Aunt Susie said that Grandpa had a habit of reading aloud and so they all knew what was happening by his doing so. She said that at times he didn't sleep well and he would get up and read by lamp light.

Grandpa was also a story teller. He spoke of people and things that I was too young to know about and so I didn't really listen. The one thing I remember is that he often said, "Let me go back" meaning that he wanted to back up and add to the first part of his story.

Three of the Gold daughters were school teachers. Mina, Linnie and Ella all taught school in Missouri. Grandpa decided that teaching school was a hard life for a woman so Aunt Susie and my mother, Ada, were not educated to teach. It has been said in the family that all of the Gold sisters were raised to be able to take charge of any situation and did.

My Aunt Mina left home about 1902 and went to Upland, California where Grandma Campcedell's brother George West lived. She found work as a Harvey Girl and first worked in the Harvey House at Needles, California and then in the one in San Bernardino, California. While in Needles she met her future husband, Fred Pierce, who worked for the railroad.

Aunt Linnie's death at age 22 must have been devastating to my grandparents. I have often wondered if it was the hope of leaving behind all the sad memories that pushed them into going to Colorado to homestead in 1912. They had first checked out land in Texas in 1909.

They had a comfortable and well established farm in Missouri and they were loved and respected members of the community and yet, at age 52, Grandpa Lorenzo, left it all behind to start over again on the plains of Baca Co., Colorado. That meant drilling a well, building fences and a house of some kind. Theirs was a dug-out as were most of the first homes built by the homesteaders. They plowed the ground for the first time in its history. The weather was also a drastic change from what they were used to in Missouri.

Grandpa chartered an emmigrant boxcar and shipped his and other family member's stock and household goods by railroad from Clever, Missouri to Lamar, Colorado. Some of the men folks rode with the stock and the other family members were passengers. From Lamar they traveled forty or more miles south by horses and wagons with an over-night stop at Clay Creek Campground. My mother said that there was one bed available for women and children and they slept six in the bed with three people at the head and three people at the foot with everyone's feet meeting in the middle.

It came to pass that all of the children of Lorenzo and Campcedell, except Mina, moved to Colorado and filed homestead claims close to them. They were: Robert and Allie (Hudson) Gold, Roy and Myrtle (Hayes) Gold, Ella (Gold) Le Duc, Ira and Susie (Gold) Pruitt, and my parents Clyde and Ada (Gold) Williams.

Also homesteading nearby were Grandpa Lorenzo's nephew and, Fred Gold and Ada (Gold) Moore, children of Uncle Allen Gold and another niece, Ottie (Gold) Utke, daughter of Uncle Silas Gold.

There were sad happenings in Colorado too. Uncle Earl Gold was in Parsons, Kansas with Uncle Ira and Aunt Susie when the flu of 1918 swept the country and he died at the age of 19. He was buried in Parsons. Grandma Campsedell then died in 1924. Her body was shipped to Parsons and buried by Earl. She is just a shadow in my memory for I was four years old when she died.

My first memories of my Grandpa Lorenzo were the many times he came early Sunday mornings to take my brother Bud (Robert L.) and me to Sunday School and sometimes church which was held in one of the one-room school houses which dotted the prairie land. We bounced along in his old Ford and he sung church songs to us. He always carried a pocket full of hard candy to pass along to the little children who were crying for some reason. He was almost 60 years old when I was born and by that time, he was a "no nonsense" grandpa. t was a surprise to know that he used to challenge his kids to races around the house barefoot in the snow. However, we knew that he loved his family and he loved us. He often said, "God is Love." He died on February 5th, 1936 at the age of 75 and is buried by Grandma and Uncle Earl in Parsons.

My mother took Bud and me to California in 1935 so we were not there when Grandpa died. That last Christmas, I sent him some heavy sox like he wore. Being age fifteen, I picked the wildest color I could find. I thought no one would have to tell Grandpa who they were from. Aunt Susie told me that when they dressed him for burial, they put my sox on him. I thought of that when I visited his grave 34 years later.

As of May 1993, the house that Rinze and Campie built near Union City in about 1895 is still there. It has a new look with a red brick addition. The barn is still there too. We almost passed by without recognizing the place.

© 1996, 1997 Jo Dunne