The History of Wellington, Colorado and The Boxelder Valley 1864-1996
By Arlene Ahlbrandt
David and Helen Sinnard, parents of five girls and four boys lived on a small farm in Nebraska in 1899. They could scarcely raise enough food to keep their family alive. Consequently, at the age of thirteen, Lawrence, the oldest child, hopped on a train in Lincoln and rode to the end of the tracks - Wellington, Colorado.He was small for thirteen year old, but he was hired immediately onto the crew laying tracks north to Cheyenne, WY.
At first opportunity, he walked west of town, drove his stakes in the ground and walked back tot he assay office to register his homestead. As required by law, he began clearing his land, uprooting each sagebrush with a pick-ax after a twelve hour work day. With his pay, he bought lumber and donkeys. In two years, the land was partially cleared, a two room house built and a small herd of donkeys corralled. He rented to the railroad bosses for hauling. He now sent for his family.
Undoubtedly, Lawrence suffered blizzards, illness, hunger, and loneliness during those two years, but never condidered it important enough to mention.
The big barn the Sinnard boys built in 1904 painted on the front just below the father's name. Then they built a house - three bedrooms on the main floor, two in the basement, a fireplace flanked with bookcases (enclosed with bueutiful leaded glass doors).
The house was always full. The boys took in a niece, Goldie McCandless, raised her and sent her off to college. Later, they took in two nephews, Mike and Jack Fisher, and raised them.
When Wellington enjoyed an oil boom, the boys farmed all day and went to town each evening to a lodge meeting, a band rehearsal or an ice cream social. Lawrence married in the twenties and helped his brothers get homes of their own. He and his wife May, adopted two girls, Myrna and Nelda, and took in two boys, Bill and Glen Thorne, who were orphaned.
Nelda Jane Sinnard. Born in Denver, 1929. Parents Lawrence and May Sinnard. Graduated from Wellington High School in 1946, Colorado State College in 1950. Choir Director, Denver Public Schools 1951-1986. Englewood, Colorado.
Myrna Jean Sinnard Keplinger, Born in Denver, 1930. Parents Lawrence and May Sinnard. Graduated from Wellington High School 1948, Denver University School of Nursing in 1952. Married Ronald Keplinger in 1953 and had two sons, Craig Warren (1955) and Paul Cameron (1963). Worked as a nurse at Denver Presbyterian Hospital and for the Houston Public Schools.
The farm work alone was enough to keep two or three men busy. The family could easily have used another pair of hands. The civic responsibilities Lawrence shouldered often required full days away from the crops. Never complaining, Lawrence did it all just as most ofther Wellington farmers did.
Jack Fisher died young. Mike Fisher married, had two daughters and worked as a mechanic in Denver where he still lives. Glen Thorne, married with one son, spent most of his life on the Hertsel ranch as a cowboy. Bill Thorne, married with three children, spent most of his life in Jefferson County politics. Both Thorne boys died in 1980.
The farm that Lawrence worked was beautiful. The life he provided his family was good. He once said he thought he was in the fourth grade reader when he quite school. He wanted his "kids" to do better. It didn't occur to him - that wasn't possible.
By N. June Sinnard, Englewood, Colorado.