A Piece of the Past: Part I

Just because you may not know of your family history before your grandparents or great grandparents doesn’t mean it’s not out there. I didn’t know anything about the Lawrentz side of my family before my interest was peaked in 2003 by accidently reading an obituary that happened to have a Lawrentz in it whom I’d never heard of. That got me asking my grandma lots of questions and many late nights online searching and searching. I felt a little like Nancy Drew.

Only I discovered things quicker cause I had the internet. Take that, Nancy.

Over the years I’ve used ancestry.com to my advantage as well as a handful of Lawrentz cousins I never knew I had, generously offering me their findings and helping me put the puzzle pieces together.

Just yesterday, I received a large packet in the mail from my 3rd cousin (once removed) Jeff Lawrentz, who lives in West Virginia. That’s where much of the Lawrentz family got started. We’re trying to figure out if it was Germany or not that they initially came over, but all we know is Samuel Lorentz was born in Virginia in the mid 1700’s and moved west with his family to what is now West Virginia and the family grew around that area, some moving to the Akron area (my branch) and some stayed put. Obviously since then they’ve spread out all over the country, but I can’t keep track of everyone!

Anyway, to the point, Allison. Yes, the point. The point is that Jeff sent me a letter, a newspaper clipping, a couple pictures and a CD full of photos. These photos are of my 3rd great grandfather, Noah Lawrentz’s, log cabin he built around 1857. How amazing for an average person like me to be able to see  my  great-great-great grandpa’s house he built for his family! The cooler thing yet, was that after I discovered it was for sale in 2007, and another cousin told me it was the old Lawrentz homestead, I decided I was going to go down there and see it in person. That got my dad’s curiosity going too, and before I knew it all 5 Lawrentz’s were headed down to the Spencer Genealogical Fair in Roane, County, West Virginia. The fair was okay, not much info on the Lawrentz’ clan but we made our way by back roads to the church cemetery many of them were buried in, and further down the road, we saw it: the old cabin.

Some people had bought it and were there taking the siding off of it- they said they wanted to use the old logs as part of their new big log cabin they were building on the property. We had come just in time. We got to see the inside and outside of the old place and get a feel for what it must have looked like when Noah and his family lived there.

Now, three years later, little did I know, the owners decided it was too much work or something and were just going to tear it down and that was it. So my brave cousin Jeff stepped in and they allowed him to salvage it. He took it apart piece by piece, labeling and documenting everything so when he gets resources he will put it back together  just as it was! That is one big honkin’ puzzle.



6 thoughts on “A Piece of the Past: Part I

  1. Ernest H. Lawrence Jr. says:

    It is great to know some of the Lawrence history. Perry Columbus Lawrence was my grandfather. They lived at Leatherbark and moved to a house on Bunnel Run in Harrisville where they raised 9 kids. My Aunt Nellie moved them to Parkersburg about 1950 when the Hughes river took the barn out which was right next to the river. They are buried there. My father settled in Winchester Va. where we were raised.
    Ernest H Lawrence Jr.

    • allisonraebarnhart says:

      Hello distant cousin Ernest! Thanks for your comment! That’s so interesting that your branch is spelled with the “ce”! Do you know when they did that? I understand that it was Lorentz, then the family split up a bit moving west and some because Lawrence and others Lawrentz. It makes it a real challenge for us family historians, doesn’t it!? 🙂

  2. Ernest H. Lawrence Jr. says:

    Hi cousin Allison. Nice to hear from you. I have no idea when the spelling of the name was changed. I was only about 9 when we had our last contact with our grandparents. I never heard grandpa speak of any of his family. I was born in Winchester Va in 1941 and am currently living in Williamsburg Va.

    • allisonraebarnhart says:

      I bet it is beautiful in Williamsburg! We’ve visited a couple of times and have really enjoyed it:)
      Ernest, do you know if Noah Lawrentz/Lawrence is Perry Columbus’s father? I do have recorded a Columbus b. in 1864 as a son of Noah and Elizabeth (Allman) Lawrentz but didn’t know if maybe this Columbus also had a son and named him Perry Columbus Lawrence.

      Columbus Lorentz is listed in the Roane, Spencer, WV in the 1870 census. Head of house hold is Noah and Elizabeth and then some other siblings I recognize (i.e. Jacob M. Lorentz) Columbus is 6 years younger than the last sibling listed (12 year old Eliza M.) and the oldest is George W. (19). It doesn’t say “son” or “daughter” or other relations in this particular year of the census.

      In an 1880 census it says that Perry C. is the grandson of Elizabeth (head of household and widowed) and (Jacob) Madison also lives there. I know he is a son of Noah and Elizabeth, but I was surprised to see “grandson” and not “son” listed for Perry C.

      Maybe you can shed light on that even though you said your grandfather never really spoke of his family! I can relate to that, we knew nothing about my grandfather’s family so I went digging and found all these wonderful Lawrentz/Lawrence cousins that all of us were cut off from over generations because of bad situations with a few “bad eggs”!
      Thanks for sharing with me, hope you have a wonderful day:)

  3. Ernest H. Lawrence Jr. says:

    Hi Allison, I think I have heard recently, probably what Jeff has said or written that Noah was the father but Perry was raised by Madison his brother. I think my aunt Nellie put on Perry’s death certificate that Madison was the father of Perry because he raised Perry. That may have been a misunderstanding on her part. I know there were 9 children born to Perry and Dollie Ann Ireland Lawrence. There is about 10 or 12 of the Ireland family buried in Morgantown W Va. My sister Kay has been in contact with some of the remaining Ireland family who live there.

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