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Page 44 of 433

Descendants of Louis Reynaud


Notes for E
She was mentioned in her grandfather Reno's will of 1822. They were in Prince William County, Virginia, in 1850.
Children of E
605. i.   JAKIN N.8 ROBINSON, b. 20 Apr 1832, Prince William County, Virginia; d. 24 Jan 1903, Schuyler County, IL.

192. LEWIS7 RENO (WILLIAM6, DAVID5, LEWIS4, LEWIS3, LOUIS2 REYNAUD, LOUIS1) was born 18 Nov 1805 in Prince William City, VA, and died 26 May 1846 in Quachita Parish, LA. He married ELIZABETH RANEY 01 Apr 1829 in Jefferson County, MS, by J. C. Johnson706. She was born 30 May 1812 in Jefferson City (Fayette County), MS, and died 29 May 1842 in Jackson (Hinds County), MS.

Notes for L
      [Steve Fancy research] "There is no proof that this Lewis Reno is the son of William Reno, but he is being placed here in order to get the information on his line of the family out where people can see it, and if someone has any documentation as to who his father is, they should contact Sue Damewood. From later records, we know that Lewis Reno was born in Prince William County, Virginia in 1805. There are at least three Reno households living in Prince William County in 1810 for which the census record shows they had 1 or 2 boys under 10 years of age in the household, and yet we don't know who these sons were. Lewis Reno could have been a son of Madden Reno, Scarlet Reno, this William Reno, or perhaps even some other Reno family living in Prince William County, but so far no records can be found to indicate who Lewis' father was, or who the sons of Madden, Scarlet, or William were."
Child of L
606. i.   JOSEPH LOUIS8 RENO, b. 29 Sep 1830, Jefferson City (Fayette County), MS; d. 12 Apr 1865, High Point, North Carolina, in the Civil War.

193. GEORGE W.7 RENO (BENJAMIN6, ZELEY5, LEWIS4, LEWIS3, LOUIS2 REYNAUD, LOUIS1)707,708 was born 1816 in Bourbon County, KY, and died Bef. 05 Sep 1853 in Louisville (Jefferson County), KY. He married (1) ELIZABETH TRUCILLA LUGENE Bet. 1836 - 1837. She was born 12 Mar 1822 in Kentucky, and died 20 Jul 1903 in St. Louis, MO. He married (2) HESTER H. CRUTCHFIELD 03 Oct 1847 in New Albany (Floyd Co.), IN709. She was born 1826 in Tennessee, and died Sep 1860 in Louisville (Jefferson County), KY.

Notes for G
      [Steve Fancy research] George W. Reno was born in Kentucky in 1816, as documented by the 1850 census where he was listed in Muhlenberg Co., KY as an engineer. His father Benjamin was born in Bourbon Co., KY and later moved to Jefferson Co. and Louisville, and George was probably born in Bourbon or Jefferson counties. The earliest known document for George W. Reno is a marriage certificate in Louisville dated March 2, 1835 between Thomas J. Pierce and Martha Jane Reno, where Benjamin Reno is listed as Martha's father and George W. Reno is her bondsman. The marriage was performed by minister William Holman (Jefferson Co., KY marriage Bk. 2, p. 148). George's father Benjamin and a John Rheno are listed as carpenters in the 1836 Louisville city directory, and Benjamin Reno appears in the 1840 census in Jefferson Co., KY as described later. The Louisville city directory was searched for George Reno for the years 1832, 1836, 1838-39, 1841, 1843-44, 1844-45, 1846, 1848, or 1848-49 without finding him; he first appears in the city directory in 1850, the same year that he is also listed with his second wife and son Hester Taylor in Muhlenberg County.
      Evidence from numerous sources suggest that George Reno worked on riverboats that traveled between Louisville, St. Louis, and places such as Muhlenberg County that were served by riverboats. His occupation was listed as "engineer" in the 1850 census, and two of his sons later had the occupation of "river" and "engineer" in their listings in the St. Louis City directory in the 1870s. It is assumed that George married Elizabeth, whose maiden name was probably Elizabeth Trucilla Lugene or Elizabeth Triscilla Lugene, about 1837, near Louisville or St. Louis, and that they had two daughters Mary Ellen and Issabella. William A. Champlin, a descendent of Mary Ellen Reno, conducted extensive research in the 1980s on mary Ellen and her mother Elizabeth and father George Reno, and most of the evidence is consistent with the theory that Elizabeth was George's first wife. The 1840 census in the 4th ward of the City of St. Louis has a listing for George Reno with a household of 3 males 20-30, 2 females under 5, and 1 female 20-30. (This is consistent with being George (age 24), his older brother and another man, Mary Ellen and Isabella who would both have been under 5 in 1840, and Elizabeth who would have been about 19). Later census records indicated tht Mary Ellen and Issabella were both born in Kentucky. The current theory is that sometime between 1841 and 1844, George and Elizabeth divorced or separated, with Elizabeth living in Louisville with the two girls, and George going off to work on the river for many years. In July 1844, perhaps thinking that George was dead, Elizabeth married Louisville businessman John Wright in Louisville, but apparently she was now married to two men. John Wright was a powerful businessman in Louisville, and on January 12, 1848 he petitioned the State Senate to pass a bill legitamizing his marriage to Elizabeth Reno. The Senate Journal for January 12 has an entry "Mr Hobbs presents a petition from John Wright, praying for passage of a law legitimizing their marriage". A bill was initiated by the Senate and passed to the House, and on January 19, 1848, the governor of Kentucky signed an act by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky: "Chapter 71, An act for the benefit of John Wright and Elizabeth, his wife. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, That the marriage heretofore celebrated between John Wright and Elizabeth, his wife (formerly Elizabeth Reno), shall be and is hereby legalized, and declared to be to all intents and purposes a valid marriage, and the said John Wright and Elizabeth his wife are hereby released and exonorated from all the pains and penalties they may have incurred by reason of said marriage." The marriage license and other documentation for John Wright's marriage to Elizabeth appears to be in order, and it is assumed that this Act was passed because Elizabeth or George were charged with bigomy. Jefferson County court records are currently being searched for any charges against Elizabeth or George that may explain why this act was enacted. Additional information on Elizabeth and the two daughters Mary Ellen and Isabella Reno are listed in the note for Elizabeth Lugene.
      On October 3, 1847, George W. Reno married Hester H. Crutchfield in the Methodist Episcopal Church in New Albany, Floyd Co., IN, across the river from Louisville. In 1850, George is listed in the Louisville city directory as Reno, Geo. W., carpenter, east side of Floyd between Main and Market. However, that same year, he is also listed in the 1850 census for Muhlenberg Co., Kentucky, as an engineer, age 34, born in KY. Also listed is Hester H. C. Reno, 24, born in TN, and their son Hester T. C. Reno, 1 year old, who went by the name of Taylor in all subsequent documentation. Muhlenberg County is on the Green River, and the area near Kincheloe's Bluff (Lewisburg) where Lewis Reno settled in 1799 became an important shipping point for the riverboat traffic. It is known that Edward Reno of Muhlenberg County also worked on riverboats, and one theory is that George W. Reno met one of his cousins while working the riverboats on the Ohio, Mississippi and Green rivers and took his wife Hester and newborn baby Taylor to Muhlenberg County to meet his many Reno cousins living in that county in 1850. This would explain why he was living in Louisville in 1847-1849, then shows up in Muhlenberg County for the 1850 census with his wife and 1-year-old baby, and then is back in Louisville the following year where his son Benjamin was born.
      In 1851, George and Hester had a second son, Benjamin F. Reno who was probably born in New Albany based on later census records that show his birthplace as Indiana. Their third son, George Pirtle Reno, was born April 22, 1853 in Louisville. In 1853, George Reno died of unknown causes. This is supported by an entry in the Jefferson County Court Order Minutes Book 20, p. 551, in an entry on September 5, 1853, stating that "Mary Ellen Reno, an infant orphan of George Reno, decd, and over the age of fourteen years, this day came into court and chose Joseph Mayo as her guardian..."
      On April 1, 1856, Hester Reno married James R. Johnson in Jefferson Co., KY. The certificate states "widow of George W. Reno, decd." In 1856, the "new addition" section of the 1856 city directory includes a listing for Mrs. Johnson, dressmaker, corner of Preston and Main (p. 277). The 1858-59 Louisville city directory includes several listings for James Johnson, and it is not known whether one of these was Hester's second husband. In the 1859-1960 directory, however, Esther Reno is listed as the widow of George W. Reno, and the 1860 census also lists her as the head of the family and a widow of George W. Reno: Hester Reno, 31, dressmaker born in TN, and sons Taylor 11, Frank 9, and George 8 (New Albany, 4w, Floyd Co., IN 1860 census). No record of Hester can be found after 1860, and the three boys ended up in the Shakertown orphanage. Additional details are found in the notes for each of the boys.
      The 1850 Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, census lists George W. Reno, 34 b. KY, engineer; Hester H., 24 b. TN; and Hester T. C, male, 1 b. KY.

Notes for E
      (Note: The source of almost all information on Elizabeth Lugene and her descendents is William A. Champlin of Maryland. During the 1980s, he hired several professional genealogists, wrote dozens of letters, and collected a huge volume of documentation on Elizabeth Lugene/Reno/Wright/Blinn/Warfield, and her descendents in search of his family history.]
      On July 18, 1844, John Wright of Louisville married a woman whose name was recorded in full as Elizabeth Trucilla Lugene in the marriage record of the Methodist Episcopal Church in New Albany, Floyd Co., IN. On January 13, 1848, the Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Kentucky included the following: "Mr. Boyd, from the committee on religion, reported a bill for the benefit of John Wright and Elizabeth his wife, which was read the first time, and ordered to be read a second time. The constitutional rule as to the second and third readings of said bill being dispenses with, and the same being engrossed, Resolved, That the said bill do pass, and that the title thereof be as aforesaid." On January 19 a committee of the Senate presented the bill, which meanwhile had been approved by the House of Representatives, to the Governor, by whom it was approved, becoming "Chapter 71, An act for the benefit of John Wright and Elizabeth, his wife. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, that the marriage heretofore celebrated between John Wright and Elizabeth, his wife (formerly Elizabeth Reno), shall be and is hereby legalized, and declared to be to all intents and purposes a valid marriage, and the said John Wright and Elizabeth his wife are hereby released and exonorated from all the pains and penalties they may have incurred by reason of said marriage."
      "John Wright owned D & J Wright and Co., proprietors of stove and grate foundry and tin and copper ware manufacturers. The 1850 census for John Wright's household (p. 338B, Louisville, KY 44/49 of 4th district, 7th ward) lists John Wright 34 Copper Smith PA, Elizabeth Wright 29 KY, Elizabeth Wright 14 KY, Mary Jane wright 12 KY, Mary Anne Reno 12 IL, Issabella Reno 10 MO, and George K. Steel 4 MO. (Later records indicate that his stepdaughter was actually Mary Ellen Reno, born in MO.) A deed of August 13, 1852, p. 525, Book 83 of Jefferson Co., KY deeds, includes "David Wright and John Wright and Elizabeth Triscilla, his wife. John Wright's will, dated September 18, 1852, states "I give to my wife Elizabeth T. Wright the house and lot now occupied as my residence on the south side of Market Street..." and "I give to my said wife in money the sum of five thousand dollars." "I give to my daughter Elizabeth Wright ten thousand dollars in money. I give to my daughter Mary Jane Wright ten thousand dollars in money. I give to my stepdaughter Mary Ellen Reno two thousand dollars in money. I give to my adopted son George K. Steele two thousand dollars in money." He went on to give his father, Joseph Wright, a house and lot on Ninth Street. A codicil to the will, signed the same day, named Nicholas L. Montgomery as the guardian for Elizabeth, Mary Jane, and George Steele, but had no mention of Mary Ellen's guardian, suggesting that Elizabeth was Mary Ellen's mother, as later supported by a court document by Joseph Mayo.
      After John Wright died, Elizabeth put Mary Ellen in a boarding school in Louisville and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where she married Byron Blinn. The following appears on page 262 of Book 6 in the office of the St. Louis recorder of deeds: "I certify that I have this day joined in the holy bonds of matrimony Mr. Byron Blinn of St. Louis, MO and Mrs. Elizabeth T. Wright of Louisville, Kentucky. Certified by me this 17th Nov. 1853. Robt. A. Young (Methodist Church).
      On September 4, 1848, the courts of Jefferson County, Kentucky, appointed John Wright as guardian of George Kelly Steele. He was born in 1847 in Missouri. He was the son of a George Steele who died April 11, 1848, in the Mexican War. His wife died before he did and he was their only child.
      The 1850 Jefferson County, Kentucky, census (7th Ward, City of Louisville) lists John Wright, 34 b. PA, coppersmith; Elizabeth, 29 b. KY; Elizabeth 14 b. KY; mary Jane Wright, 12 b. KY; Mary Ann Reno, 12 b. IL; Isabella Reno, 10 b. MO; and George K. Steel, 4 b. MO.
      On July 28, 1854, Joseph Mayo, as guardian of Mary Ellen Reno, petitioned the Jefferson Co. court for permission to use some of the principal of her money to pay for the child's board: "That said Mary Ellen Reno your petitioner's ward was placed at a boarding school in Bardstown by the widow of said Wright (who is the mother of the said ward) shortly before your petitioner became her guardian for the term of one year which has now expired and that he has been furnished with a bill for board and tuition amounting to $188.50 or thereabouts." John Wright gets the pension as guardian of Steele.
      In 1900 Elizabeth says she never borne any children. On June 22, 1854, Blinn mortgages the house in Louise that was left to Elizabeth by John Wright - mortgage was $460. On May 31, 1856, Joseph Mayo was listed as guardian of Mary Ellen on her marriage application. On April 1, 1867, Joseph Mayo was released as guardian of Steele since Steele was over 21.
      The 1860 census for St. Louis (p. 87, 10th ward, 652/673) has Byron Blinn 36 MO, Elizabeth T. 34 KY, Mary E. Shank 22 KY, Daniel Shank 30 MD, Mary E. Shank 3 MO, William H. Shank 1 MO and George K. Steele 14 MO.
      Byron Blinn died in 1873, and in 1877 Elizabeth married again, to Daniel B. Warfield. Elizabeth signed her will on May 23, 1903. It reads "In the name of God amen. I Elizabeth T. Warfield of Fox Creek, in the County of St. Louis and State of Missouri, being of sound mind, and disposing memory, but mindful of my mortality, do make, publish and declare this as and for my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me made. 1st, I direct that all my just debts, my funeral expenses by first paid; and lastly as to all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, consisting of promissary notes, money, and other personl property, Whatsoever, I give and bequesth the same, to Mrs. Rosa Nazzer of Fox Creek Missouri; who has already rendered to me valuable services in attending and waiting upon me in my affliction, and sickness. And I hereby appoint F. V. Steines my sold executor of this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of May A.D. 1903. Elizabeth T. Warfield."
      Elizabeth had a 12-grave plot in Bethel Cemetery. Buried there is Mary Ellen Shank, Mary Elizabeth Shank (d. 1876), John Beverly O'Neill, Elizabeth Warfield, Daniel Warfield, George K. Steele, Sophia Steele, Mary Eunice Steele, and Edith Steele.
      George Kelly Steele married Margaret Radforth on February 22, 1872 in St. Louis, Missouri, and had 5 children: Daisy, George R., Sophis, Mary Eunice, and Edith.

More About E
Burial: Bethel United Methodist Church Cemetery, St. Louis, MO
Divorced: 19 Jun 1848, John Wright

Notes for H
      The 1860 Floyd County, Indiana, census (4th Ward, New Albany, p. 335) lists Hester Reno, 31 b. TN, dressmaker; Taylor, male, 11 b. KY; Frank, male, 9 b. IN; George, male, 8 b. KY; and Mary Ann Francis, female, 19 b. LA, seamstress.
Children of G
607. i.   MARY ELLEN8 RENO, b. 18 Jan 1838, Kentucky; d. 04 May 1892, St. Louis, MO.
  ii.   ISABELLA RENO, b. 1840, Kentucky or Missouri; d. Bet. 1850 - 1852, Jefferson County, KY.
  Notes for ISABELLA RENO:
      The 1850 Jefferson County, Kentucky, census (7th Ward, City of Louisville) lists John Wright, 34 b. PA, coppersmith; Elizabeth, 29 b. KY; Elizabeth 14 b. KY; Mary Jane Wright, 12 b. KY; Mary Ann Reno, 12 b. IL; Isabella Reno, 10 b. MO; and George K. Steel, 4 b. MO.

608. iii.   TAYLOR C.8 RENO, b. 1849, Louisville (Jefferson County), KY; d. Bef. 1900, Louisiana.
609. iv.   BENJAMIN FRANKLIN RENO, b. 04 Feb 1851, Kentucky; d. 23 Jun 1935, St. Louis County, MO.
610. v.   GEORGE PIRTLE RENO, b. 22 Apr 1853, Louisville (Jefferson County), KY; d. 11 Feb 1926, Indianapolis, IN.

194. JAMES7 RENO, JR. (JAMES6, ZELEY5, LEWIS4, LEWIS3, LOUIS2 REYNAUD, LOUIS1) was born Bet. 1800 - 1810 in Salt River area of what is presently Bullitt County, KY, and died Abt. 1855 in Seymour (Jackson Co.), IN. He married MARIA "MARY" KESTER710. She was born 16 Aug 1797 in Kentucky, and died 17 Jan 1881 in Rockford (Jackson Co.), IN711.

Notes for J
      James Reno Jr. was born in Kentucky near the mouth of the Salt River and moved with his parents to Jackson County in 1813.
      In the 1820 census for Jackson County there is a listing for James Reno's household 000100 001010 or 1 man 16-25, 1 woman 16-25, and 1 woman 45 and up. Based on the ages of his and Maria Kester's children, he probably did not marry Maria until around 1830, and the older woman in his household is probably his mother. There is no listing for the older James Reno.
      There are no Renos listed in the 1830 census for Jackson County, which is a mystery since they appeared in county records there in the years before and after 1830.
      In the 1840 Jackson County, Indiana, census, p. 35, James Reno is listed next to Wilkinson Reno with 2 boys under 5, 1 boy 15-19; 1 man 30-39; 2 girls 5-9; 2 girls 10-14; 1 girl 15-19; and 1 woman 30-39.
      In the 1850 census (p. 129) Mary Reno is the head of household with Emaline 20, Eliza 18, Harrison 15, and Samuel 14.
      In 1860, p. 673, Maria Reno, age 63 is a seamstress, with Harrison age 25 a clerk, and Floyd Able age 9 born in Indiana, all in Rockford (Jackson County), IN.
      In August 1825, James was charged in Jackson County for assault and battery (Book B, p. 31), and twice in 1835 he was charged with arson. James Reno appears as a co-defendant with Wilkison Reno in various civil actions in Jackson County, Indiana, records as early as 1839, including riot and malicious trespass. Many of these charges resulted from a long-lasting feud with his neighbor Meedy Shields. James Reno was officially charged with crimes including assault and battery, betting, arson, riot, malicious trespass, gaming, extortion, contempt of court, and debt. No records are found for him after 1855.
      Supposedly they had a son named "Trick". This could be a nickname for one or more persons who helped the Reno Gang.

Notes for M
      The 1860 Jackson County, Indiana, census (New Rockford, p. 673) lists Maria Reno, 63 b. KY, seamstress; Harrison, male, 25 b. IN, clerk; and Floyd Abel, male, 9 b. IN.      [New Rockford was where Frank Reno and the Reno gang are said to have burned many of the buildings and took over the town in the 1860s.]
      Maria's obituary in the Seymour Times dated January 10, 1861, says that she died at Rockford and was aged 63 years.
      The death notice for Mrs. J. J. "Maria" Kester, widow of the founder and own of most of Rockford, Indiana, says that "Her mother's sister married James Reno" (Seymour Weekly Times, March 22, 1875). Should this have read "her father's sister"?
      John J. Kester, 43 born Ohio had Mariah 25, Elizabeth 18, Hiram 9, Emily 7, George 3, and Ellen 3 months in his household in Redding Township in 1850.
      Mariah Kester appeared in the 1860 census with very large assets.
      [Steve Fancy research] Her tombstone in Old Seymour City cemetery says she died Jan. 17, 1881 at age 83 yrs, 5 mo, 1 day, but DAR has her death at Jan. 7, 1861.

More About M
Burial: Old Seymour City Cemetery, Jackson County, IN712
Children of J
611. i.   EMALINE8 RENO, b. 1830, Jackson County, IN.
  ii.   ELIZABETH RENO, b. 1832, Jackson County, Indiana713; m. BENJAMIN LAYNE714, 11 Nov 1853, Jackson County, IN714.
612. iii.   WILLIAM HARRISON RENO, b. 1835, Jackson County, Indiana.
  iv.   SAMUEL C. RENO, b. 1835, Jackson County, IN715; m. CORDIA ?.
  Notes for SAMUEL C. RENO:
      He sold his interest in property in Rockford, Indiana, to William H. Shields on September 16, 1887, for $10.

  v.   SARAH RENO, b. 1844, Kentucky716; m. THOMAS WASHINGTON, 04 Oct 1881, Jackson County, IN717; b. 1842, Virginia.

195. J. WILKISON7 RENO (JAMES6, ZELEY5, LEWIS4, LEWIS3, LOUIS2 REYNAUD, LOUIS1) was born 04 Mar 1802 in Present Bullitt County, KY, near the mouth of the Salt River718, and died 30 Jan 1877 in Seymour, IN719. He married JULIA ANN FRYHOOFER 05 Aug 1835 in Jackson County, IN720, daughter of HENRY FRYHOOFER. She was born 23 Jul 1813 in Switzerland721, and died 26 Aug 1868 in Seymour, Indiana722.

Notes for J
      Family tradition says they moved from Russell's Corner, Kentucky, about 15 miles southwest of Louisville, near the present location of West Point, Kentucky about 1813. Wilkinson inherited the farm when his parents died. In 1821 he purchased an additional almost 100 acres. By 1831 he had over 400 acres. Before he was age 25 (1823), he was one of Jackson County's largest taxpayers. By 1851 he was the largest land owner and taxpayer in Jackson County, Indiana. In 1835 he went to visit relatives in Kentucky where he met Julia who had come from Switzerland the year before. According to their son John, they were strict Methodists. On February 27, 1858, Julia filed for divorce. The suit was dismissed on March 2, 1859; however, they remained separated until their death. Their daughter, Laura Amanda, and son, Simeon, lived with their mother. The others lived with Wilkinson. Julia's will was probated in Jackson County, Indiana, court on October 2, 1868, having been dated August 26, 1868. Four of their children became the famed "Reno Gang." These Reno brothers organized America's first outlaw gang in Seymour, Indiana. Counterfeiting was a sideline. They performed their first robbery on February 13, 1866, taking $60,000 from a Liberty, Missouri, bank. On October 6, 1866, John and Simeon Reno and Franklin Sparks pulled America's first train robbery on the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad, taking some $12,000. It is thought the boys burned down the town of Rockford, Indiana. The Renos bought the entire town for $600.97
      [The following is research by Steve Fancy.] Father of the famous Reno Gang brothers, who were train robbers and safe-crackers in Indiana and adjacent states in the 1860s. His son John, in his 1879 book "The life of John Reno, the world's first train robber," write that "My mother was a highly educated woman, while my father who was reared in the backwoods of Kentucky, where there was no opportunity for education, was very illiterate. They lived together comparatively happy for about 28 years, but the last five years were very disagreeable to themselves, as well as to the rest of the family. I am satisfied that their troubles had a great deal to do with demoralizing my brothers and myself; and believe that if they had lived together peaceably and had not separted and squandered their properties, that the boys would have been living and been good citizens of society today." John complained that other boys were allowed to play on Sundays, but he and his brothers were compelled to read their Sunday School papers after church and could not play. "Our parents being so strict, and not allowing us the liberties we saw the other boys enjoy, made us rebellious, and we did not hesitate to deceive them whenever we were out of their sight." John says that his parents were "strict adherents to the Methodist faith," and they attended the Rockford Methodist Church.
      John Reno called his father "Wilkerson," and many records incorrectly spell his name as Wilkerson or Wilkinson, but it is likely that his actual name was John Wilkison Reno. In his 1948 Master's thesis on the Reno gang, which was actually written by Robert W. Shields based upon 12 years of research, Robert F. Volland wrote "Although his son, in his autobiography, calls his father "Wilkerson," a spelling employed by Dr. Rule as well as in other documents connected with the case, the official court and deed records of Jackson County, Indiana, his residence for more than forty-five years, use the spelling "Wilkison"; an occasional use of "Wilkinson" is noted, but rather infrequently. We use the form "Wilkison" because it is the spelling found in the only copy of his signature discovered. This copy, taken from the records of the Jackson County court, is the only known writing in his hand. There seems to be some letter or initial prefixing the first name...". Inspection of this initial shows it to be a "J", and he signed his name "J. Wilkison Reno." Wilkison's will, written in his own hand, clearly shows his name as Wilkison. Also, his obituary in the Seymour Times for Feb. 1, 1877, reads "J. Wilkes Reno died at Seymour Tuesday, age about 70 years."
      According to John Reno's book, Wilkison Reno was one of the largest taxpayers in Jackson County when the boys were growing up. John said that he came to Indiana in 1816. The first land recorded to Wilkison Reno in Jackson Co. was dated May 1, 1821, for 97.92 acres of White River bottom land. The Reno farm was northwest of Seymour between the White River and what is now highways 31 and 238. By the time Laura was born, Wilkison had become the largest landowner and taxpayer in Jackson County, and the town of Rockford where many of his lands were located had a population of 900 people. Wilkison played an important role in the early history of Jackson County and the competition between Rockford and Seymour to be the main commercial center, and the Renos and Shields were continually at odds over trespassing and land disputes as documented in Jackson County court records. The earliest court entry was on March 30, 1827, where Wilkison Reno filed charges against Meedy W. Shields for malicious trespass, and the State of Indiana fined both of them $6 for affray. By 1850, Rockford had become a major pork packing and flat boat stop on the White River. Shields persuaded the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad to cross the tracks of the Jeffersonville and Indianapolis Railroad on his land, and as part of the deal he named the town of Seymour that he laid out at this intersection of two major railroads in honor of the engineer that he had enticed, Henry C. Seymour. Then, as a State Senator, Shields had a law passed in the Indiana Legislature requiring all trains to stop whenever they reached an intersection. His town of Seymour grew rapidly as a result of this requirement for trains to stop there. Meanwhile, Rockford suffered from a series of fires set by arsonists, and John Reno was one of the main suspects for these fires. The Reno family purchased many of the burned buildings and land in Rockford at reduced prices, adding further suspicion, and Rockford became a hangout for many of the thieves and outlaws that preyed upon the locals and returning civil war soldiers during and after the civil war.
      John says that his mother came to America "in 1832"and married Wilkison in 1835. Her father was Henry Freyhafer. On Feb. 27, 1858, Julia Reno filed for divorce, but Julia dismissed the divorce case on March 2, 1859, but the couple apparently remained separated until their deaths. Julia lived in the farm house near the edge of Seymour, and Wilkison lived along the railroad on Indianapolis Avenue on one of his properties in the city of Seymour. In 1859 Wilkison sold the family farm and moved to Missouri, where he settled in East St. Louis, but then moved to Belleville, Illinois, for a month or two, before returning to Seymour, Indiana.
      John Reno ran away from home in 1855 when about 16 years old, and mentions two cousins: James Smith, who was at Frank Rose's tavern in Jeffersonville near Louisville; and Hiram Smith, a steamboat mate living in Mobile, Alabama. He said that he had never met Hiram Smith, "but had often heard my father speak of him." Steve Fancy has done considerable research trying to determine who these "Smith" cousins were, but has been unable to identify their family.
      The 1840 census for Jackson Co., p. 35, has Wilkinson Reno with 2 boys under 5; 1 male 30-39; 1 girl under 5; and 1 woman 20-29.
      The 1850 census for Redding Twp, Jackson Co., lists Wilkison Reno, 48, born KY; Julia A. 37, born Switzerland; Franklin 14, IN; John 12, IN; Clinton 9, IN; Simeon 7, IN; and William 2, IN; also Eliza Anderson 24, born IN.
      The 1860 Jackson County census, p. 66 (or p. 708), has Wilk Reno 58, farmer, b. KY; Julia Ann 46, Switzerland; John 22, Simeon 17, William 12, Laura 9, and Sarah Reno 16. Sarah is listed last, although the others before her are listed by age, because she is Wilkison's niece, daughter of his brother James Reno, Jr. Frank Reno is listed in a separate household in 1860 in Old Rockford, age 23, working as a whiskey seller.
      At the time that his sons were robbing trains and committing other crimes, newspaper stories described Wilkison Reno as a wealthy and respected landowner in Jackson County.
      The 1870 census for Redding Township has Wilkinson Reno 69, retired farmer, real estate valued at $6,610, Clinton 28, farmer with real estate valued at $11,000, Annie 22, Leon A. 6 months (Feb.), and Laura 19 w/o occupation with real estate valued at $3,500.
      His last will and testament reads "I Wilkison Reno being now in good health and of sound mind and disposing memory but mindful of the uncertainty of life and being desirous of settling my world affairs to my own satisfaction do make and publish this my last will and testament to wit. Item First: I direct that as soon after my decease as is suitable and proper my body be respectiable intered according to my station and rank in life. Item Second: I further direct that as soon after my decease as possible my executor herein after named pay all funeral expenses the expense of my last sickness and also all my just debts. Item Third: I hereby give and bequeath to my daughter Laura Goudy, wife of Elishu Goudy five acres of land to be taken out of the Sixth West corner of the West half of the SE quarter of Section Seven Township Six North Range Six East situated in Jackson County in the State of Indiana. Item Fourth: I give and bequeath to my sons Clinton Reno and John Reno the said west half of the SE quarter of Section Seven Township Six North Range Six East except the said five acres herein before to wit in the third item above given to Laura Goudy to have and to hold the same to them their heirs and assigns forever as tenants in common each to have and own. One equal undivided one half in value thereof. Item Fifth: I give and bequeath to my said sons Clinton and John all the residue of my estate both personal and real that may remain undisposed of after the payment of my last sickness and my just debts herein before provided for each of said legatees Clinton Reno and John Reno to have and to hold half one half of said residue. Item Sixth: I do not give Sarah V. Reno widow of my son Frank decreased nor Appaleno Reno daughter of my said son Frank Reno dec'd any portion of my estate. I mention these names only in this my last will and testament to show that I have not forgotten them and to avoid any claim on their part that their names were left out of this will through accident or mistake. Item Seventh: I have appointed my son Clinton Reno executor of this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 12th day of October 1875." Wilkison Reno. His will was probated before the Jackson Circuit Court on Feb. 16, 1877 (Probate Book 3, p. 169). It should be remembered that Julia Reno, Wilkison's wife, died in 1868 and because Sarah V. Reno and her daughter Appalina were not mentioned in Julia's will, Sarah sued Julia's estate. Wilkison made sure in his will that it was clear he did not want to leave Sarah V. Reno anything.
      In a letter dated August 16, 1936 from Effie Goudy Dorsey to Minnie Babcock regarding the family history, Effie said that Wilkison (she spelled it Wilkerson) and Julia were married on August 8, 1835. She wrote "Grandfather lived on the farm and then came to our house with his cow and lived there until he died Jan. 29, 1877. I just know that grandmother came from Switzerland with her father, mother, and a sister. I do not even know where grandfather was born..." "The Reno children were all born on the farm west of Seymour on the road to Brownstown (the house has been replaced) and they sold that some time before the war and went traveling looking for a location but came back and bought the Gimesor grocery store. The fortune of the family seemed to have had a sad ending. Mother said grandfather broke himself up trying to keep his boys out of trouble. I think the divided family must have done something to them. Mother said she known her father to call his boys in on Sunday afternoons to read the Bible but it didn't seem to have the desired effect"... "I told Appa there was a daughter Emmeline who died in infancy and she never knew that."

More About J
Burial: Seymour Cemetery

Notes for J
      [Steve Fancy research] Julia Ann's last will and testament, dated August 26, 1868, just three days before her death, was brought up for execution on October 12, 1875. Clinton was appointed executor. In it she provided that Laura Amanda was to have her sewing machine and piano, 38.81 acres of land in Jackson County, and Lot 91 and the north half of Lot 92, Block W, in Seymour. The rest of her personal property went to Clinton, who was appointed guardian of Laura "until she arrives at twenty one years old". The will was not probated until September 31, 1890, 22 years after her death (Records of Jackson County, Book 29, p. 412) because Sarah V. Reno sued the estate because she was not mentioned in Julia's will.

More About J
Burial: Seymour Cemetery
Children of J
613. i.   FRANKLIN "FRANK"8 RENO, b. 27 Jun 1837, Jackson County, IN; d. 12 Dec 1868, New Albany, Floyd Co., IN, hanged in New Albanay jail by vigilantes.
  ii.   JOHN "JACK" RENO, b. 23 Jul 1838, Jackson County, IN723; d. 31 Jan 1895, Seymour, IN724; m. SARAH V. FORD724, 05 Aug 1880, Jackson County, IN725; b. 22 Jun 1844, Brownstown (Jackson Co.), IN726; d. 12 Nov 1930, Seymour, Indiana727.
  Notes for JOHN "JACK" RENO:
      One of the Reno Gang brothers, he was in the Missouri State Penitentiary in 1868 when his brothers were hanged in a New Albany, Indiana, jail. He wrote a book in 1879 entitled "The life of John Reno, the world's first train robber." In his autobiography, John Reno tells of running away from home at the age of 16 on a stolen horse, making his way to Louisville, and then boarding the "Fannie Ballet" riverboat to get to Mobile, Alabama where his cousin Hiram Smith lived. Upon finding hard times in Alabama and Mississippi, he eventually returned back upriver to Louisville and to the family farm near Seymour, Indiana.
      John Reno joined Captain Cockefair's company in the Civil War and fought in Maryland and Virginia for a total of 2 years and eight months. His enlistment record reads "Private, Co. H, 6th regiment, enlisted for three months. Enrolled April 22, 1861; mustered Nov. 24, 1861. Enrolled at Seymour by Fielder A. Jones. Mustered at Indianapolis by T. J. Wood. Age 24. Mustered out at Indianapolis, Aug. 2, 1861." He also enlisted as a corporal in Company A, 13th regiment. Mustered in June 19, 1861, at Indianapolis; deserted July 20, 1863, Norfolk, Virginia. In September 1866, John Reno, his brother Simon and Frank Sparks robbed their first train of $16,000. The well-told story about how Allen Pinkerton tricked him at the train depot in Seymour and kidnapped him is false. He was arrested for the Gallatin, MO robbery by Sheriff John Ballinger and Mr. Woodruff, in Indianapolis at 3 a.m., not by Allen Pinkerton. In January 1868, John pleaded guilty to robbing the treasury office in Gallatin, MO because he thought he would be lynched by an angry mob if he didn't. He was held in the Missouri State Prison for 10 years and 1 month before his sentence was commuted. As soon as he was released from prison, he was re-arrested for his first train robbery in Seymour. At his trial in February 1879, he was acquitted. After leaving prison, he lived in Chicao for awhile with his niece Appelena Reno and her husband. On February 6, 1879, the Prosecuting Attorney for Jackson County dismissed the remaining charges against John Reno, and said "It is therefore considered by the Court that the defendent go hence fully discharged." John Reno was a free man. On August 5, 1880, he married Sarah Ford Reno, widow of his brother Frank. Sarah divorced him on April 19, 1887, and took her maiden name of Ford back, although she used the name Sarah Reno until her death. A few years after he wrote his book, John Reno was arrested by federal agents at a saloon he owned in Seymour, and was found in the possession of a large amount of counterfeit notes that he had made and circulated. He was sent to the Michigan City Prison. He died of paralysis at his home(corner of 5th Street and Indianapolis Avenue) in Seymour on January 31, 1895 at the age of 56 (Jackson County Death Records, Vol. 1, p. 60). The story by Volland (1948) that he was losing badly in a card game, and after telling his opponent "I will beat you, damn it, or die doing it!", fell backwards to the floor, stricken unconscious and paralyzed, was fabricated, as were many other stories related to the Reno Gang.
      Loren Noblitt, the historian for Jackson County, claims that John Reno had an illegitimate son named John by Mollie Nagle of Rockford, whom he was seeing just before he enlisted in the Civil War. John and Mollie went to Clay Co., Indiana, and rented some farmland from a Dr. Leabolt, 2 miles west of Brazil, but they "sold out" and she returned to Rockford and John enlisted in the military.
      The following appeared under Daviess County in the MoSGA Journal, Spring 1997, pp. 91-92:
      "18/23: 1867 Dec. 10: John Ballinger, Daviess County Sheriff, Gallatin; Re: Arrest and incarceration of John Reno and Frank Sparks, Ref: Reno's robbery of the Daviess County Collector's office, confession to the crime. Vows to return the money if the Sheriff will "keep the people from hanging him, which we will do without any doubt." Request that if requested to extradite Reno to Indiana that Governor Fletcher refuse, "The feeling in reference to these men through out North West Missouri is intense & they desire that Missourians should try the cases."
      "18/23: 1868 Jun 17: Petition Re: Request for a pardon of John Reno, Gallatin, Ref: Burglary of the Daviess County Collector's office. John Reno and Franklin Sparks, accused, captured in Jackson Co., Ind. Mob threatened to remove Reno and Sparks from the official's custody. Sparks released; intimidation led Reno to plead guilty, refuse counsel, by sentenced to 25 years. Grand Jury failed to hand down indictment of Daniel Smith, Silas Smith, and Clifford on the same charge.
      "18/23: 1868 Dec. 26: Laura Reno, Jefferson City to Mr. Ballinger, Daviess County Sheriff; Re: Requesting help from Ballinger for her brother John Reno, "The money you offered to take is all ready whenever John is pardoned we want to keep every thing quiet as possible."
      "Note: There was also much correspondence from Cincinnati, Oh., and St. Louis, opposing any early release of John Reno."

  More About JOHN "JACK" RENO:
Burial: buried secretly next to his brothers in Seymour City Cemetery

  Notes for SARAH V. FORD:
      [Research by Steve Fancy] Sarah Ford was the daughter of John L. Ford, a member of the Indiana State Legislature from Jackson Co., and the granddaughter of Captain Lemuel Ford, warden of the State Prison at Jeffersonville (New Albany Daily Ledger, Dec. 12, 1868, p. 2). She is listed in the 1850 census for John L. Ford as Sarah V., age 5. She married Frank Reno on March 2, 1865, but became a widow when he was hung by vigilantes in a New Albany jail on December 12, 1868. They had one daughter, Appelina. In her second marriage to John Reno in 1880, she is listed as Sallie V. Reno (Book H, p. 310). She divorced John Reno on April 19, 1887, and had her maiden name of Ford restored (Order Book DD, April 19, 1887, p. 340), but in 1890 when John was released from prison, they remarried again i Columbus (Bartholomew County), Indiana. She was not mentioned in her mother-in-law Julia's will and sued Clinton Reno on behalf of herself and Appelina, with the result that Julia's will was not probated until 22 years after her death. Wilkison, in his will, made it very clear that he did not want to leave her and Appelina anything. Her tombstone in Seymour reads only "Sarah F. R." Her death record in Jackson County Death Records, Vol. 4, p. 34, lists her cause of death as paralysis and sinility at the age of 86.
      Robert W. Shields and various documents claim that she first married a Van Vrankin or Van Franklin before her marriage to Frank Reno when she was 20 years old, but there is no record of a prior marriage for her, and the facts don't support a previous marriage. An article in the Seymour Times dated Dec. 22, 1864, says that "Sarah Van Vrankin's house in Rockford has burned." Another article in that paper on May 11, 1865, says that "Mrs. Sarah Van Vrankin is a dressmaker and needleworker of Rockford;" however, the second article is after her marriage to Frank Reno in March 1865.

      The 1910 Jackson County, Indiana, census (First Ward, Jackson, p. 117) lists Sarah V. Reno, 65 b. IN, widow, had 1 child with 1 living, parents b. KY, had own income, living alone.
      The 1920 Jackson County, Indiana, census lists Sarah V. Reno, 75 b. IN, living alone.
      The 1930 Jackson County, Indiana, census (Seymour, ED8, p. 3B) lists Sarah V. Reno, 86 b. IN, widow, father b. Ky, mother b. IN; and Apple Leffingwell, daughter, 64 b. In, widow, parents b. IN.

  More About SARAH V. FORD:
Burial: Riverview Cemetery near Seymour, IN

614. iii.   CLINTON RENO, b. Sep 1842, Seymour, Jackson Co., IN; d. 01 Sep 1921, Topeka, KS.
  iv.   SIMEON RENO, b. 02 Aug 1843, Jackson County, IN728; d. 12 Dec 1868, New Albany, Floyd Co., IN, by hanging by Seymour vigilantes; buried in Seymour City Cemetery in Jackson Co., IN728.
  Notes for SIMEON RENO:
      [Steve Fancy research] He defrauded the government of enlistment and bounty money by falsely enlisting twice, which enabled him to obtain bounty money from the county as well. He enrolled March 22, 1865, in the 79th Regiment at Columbus, Indiana, but was mustered out at Indianapolis on May 19, 1865. On March 28, 1865, he again enrolled as a private in Company H, 13th Regiment, and was mustered the same day at Columbus, IN. His record indicates that he deserted on May 12, 1865 (Volland 1948).

  More About SIMEON RENO:
Burial: Seymour City Cemetery, Jackson County, IN729

  v.   WILLIAM H. RENO, b. 15 May 1848729; d. 12 Dec 1868, New Albany, Floyd Co., IN, by hanging by Seymour vigilantes729.
  Notes for WILLIAM H. RENO:
      He was in 50th Reg., Indiana Infantry in the Civil War (USA).
      [Steve Fancy research] William Reno enrolled as a private in the 50th regiment on August 18, 1864, for a term of three years. He said he was 18 whe he enrolled, and a farmer from Jackson Co., IN.
      Shortly after her three brothers were hanged in New Albany, William's sister Laura Reno arrived from Louisville where she was attending St. ursuline Academy, a Catholic school. It is said that her cries over her dead brothers were "piteous and heart-rending". She stooped over the body of William and exclaimed "Oh! my brother! my baby! my baby brother!" It is said that she then took her handkerchief and placed it over William's face, who had declared his innocence to the last, and with her left hand placed over his heart, raised her right hand toward heaven and said "Oh, my poor murdered brother, may God curse your sister if she avenge not your death terribly and fully. This I will do - so help me God!"
      It is said that on the day of his sons' funeral, Wilkison Reno said that perhaps John and Frank may have been guilty of some misdemeanors, but he knew that his two younger sons were entirely innocent, and that had the legal trial taken place, the evidence of that innocence would have been complete. It was learned after the hanging that on the night of the express car robbery, William Reno was in a public saloon in Seymour, playing billiards with Thomas Shepard, a well-known and credible citizen, until a little after ten o'clock, after which he went up the street and into his mother's house and went to bed. The robbery occurred at about eleven o'clock 20 miles away from Seymour, and it is doubtful that William Reno was involved in the crime.

  More About WILLIAM H. RENO:
Burial: Seymour City Cemetery, Jackson County, IN729

615. vi.   LAURA AMANDA "ELLEN" RENO, b. 16 Jan 1851, Seymour, Jackson Co., IN; d. 20 Jul 1919, Washington Co., IN.

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