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Grandmother's Stories

It was on the lawn of our Austin home that I first heard the story I was destined to write! The tale of a family member being captured by Indians on Shoal Creek. The story stayed with me as Fayette was nine. The age I was when I first heard the story.

Some tales were too far-fetched to believe. One was my gg grandfather Van Cleve built the Capitol.

On a Capitol fieldtrip. I mentioned to my seventh-grade teacher “my ancestor built the Capitol.” She said, “you should write an essay with resources for extra credit.” At the school library, I found a book about the Capitol. There was no mention of Van Cleve. It did mention that convict labor was used in construction. I decided not to research further.

The value of a library and documentation to back up a story was learned. I asked my father how he first heard the story of great grandfather Van Cleve building the Capitol. He said, “that’s what Momma always told me!”

Lorenzo Van Cleve’s death was recorded as 1858 in the family Bible. The Capitol was completed in 1888 three decades after his death. He couldn’t have worked on the current Capitol.

Years later, a voucher to Lorenzo Van Cleve, was found for a table for President Lamar’s office. He worked on buildings that included the 1839 Capitol, which was located at Eighth and Colorado. Read more stories at or 

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