Named After Lorenzo Dow


I’d wondered why my grandfather’s middle name was Lorenzo (Charles Lorenzo Martin).  We weren’t Italian and to my mind, Lorenzo was an Italian name. It didn’t intrigue me enough to search further. Later, as I started working on the family tree, I found his namesake must have been his grandfather, Lorenzo Dow Stone. If you are trying to follow along, that’s my great-great-grandfather who was born in 1833 in Elk Creek, Grayson County, Virginia. 

That name seemed unique enough that Google might find some information on him. Instead, I found hundreds, maybe thousands, of parents had named their child “Lorenzo Dow.” Who was this man that so many people in the early 1800s respected enough to perpetuate his name? I found three people on my family tree who were named after him.

ancestors named Lorenzo Dow

I have a Blair, a Babcock, and a Stone named after Lorenzo Dow. I found so many Lorenzo Dow Babcocks that I must revamp entirely my research on that fellow. Apparently, I mashed a bunch of them together in my zeal as a beginner.

You will notice that all these were born in the early 1800s. Here’s more about this rather odd but dedicated and charismatic man who drew large crowds as he traveled around the country. He preached in churches, schools and out in the open air, converting thousands to the Methodist Church.

lorenzo dow life story

Clipped from the Alexandria Gazette Alexandria, Virginia 28 Jun 1867, Fri • Page 1

There’s a Youtube video that’s quite entertaining and it tells about his style of preaching that drew such crowds. Take a look at your own family tree. Are there any named after Lorenzo Dow on it? Now you know where that originated.

Lorenzo_Dow_by_Lossing-Barrett from Wikipedia

Lorenzo Dow preaching, engraving by Lossing-Barrett, 1856 (Creative Commons – Wikipedia)

Related to a Historic Figure?


When you watch Genealogy Roadshow or Who Do You Think You Are? on television, the participants often hope to link to someone famous like George Washington or Charlemagne. A while back, my sister Karen and I, worked together tracing the Stone line.

As you can see, our father’s great-grandfather was Lorenzo Dow Stone. From there it follows back to a colonial Governor of Maryland. You can get more of the story of William Stone on Wikipedia, but here are a few of the details. Lord Baltimore appointed him governor on August 8, 1648.

One important bill that he signed into law was in 1649, the Religious Toleration Act, which permitted liberty to all Christian denominations.

Geni shows the line that runs from our generation back to Colonial Days.

Geni shows the line that runs from our generation back to Colonial Days.

Some descendants of William Stone have their own claim to fame. Thomas Stone was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. John Hoskins Stone became governor of Maryland in 1794. They don’t happen to be in our line, but still are distantly related to us.

Wandering around the Internet, you’ll find mentions of the home, Poynton Manor in Charles County, Maryland and quite a bit of family history (wills, marriages, etc.)