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Known Life Events of William Reno, Born 1819 in Tennessee
Posted by: F. Keenan (ID *****4329) Date: January 08, 2004 at 14:25:54
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Aug. 20, 1819 to Dec. 31, 1819: Between these dates, William Reno (aka Renno/Rhina) is born in Tennessee.

1831: About this time, when William Reno was twelve years of age, he left his home. [Unproven report of Daryl Craig. The claim was made in a book about Grayson County, Kentucky, by Craig. Craig also stated that William Reno had been a Mason. Further, and unproven, Craig stated that there were two children of William Reno and Elvina Rhodus who did not survive childhood: their names were reported as “Eliza” and “Virgil”. A copy of this book about Grayson County is in the possession of Fay (Kiper) Bohaning, mother-in-law of Perry T. Ryan. Their particulars are available from the writer of this message.]

May 28, 1840: William Renno marries Elvina Rhodus in Fentress County, Tennessee, at the “Squair (sic: Square) Reformed Church.” (?) [I am yet attempting to identify the location and tenure of this church.]

April, 1840: Mary Melissa “Polly” Reno is born in Tennessee.

1848: Louisa J. Reno is born in Tennessee. (Tombstone. The 1850 U.S. Census for Casey County, KY suggests that Louisa may have been born in 1846.)

1849: Adam C. Reno (Rhina in 1850 Casey Co., KY census) is born in Kentucky. William Rhina (sic...Reno) is living in Casey County, Kentucky with his family. Also living with him is an 80 year old woman listed as Jan Rhand, born in Kentucky. Elvina, William’s wife, is listed as ‘Vina.’ and her age is 29 years and she was born in Tennessee according to this census.

Aug. 12, 1853, Emily Elizabeth Reno is born in Tennessee.

1856: Malinda Dorinda Reno is born in Kentucky.

1857: Matilda “Tildy” Reno is born.

1858: William Reno [hereinafter, simply WR] moves his family from near Liberty in Casey County, Kentucky, to the farm of Milton Board in Duncan Valley about four miles from Custer in Breckinridge County, Kentucky.

May 1859: WR moves his family to George Duncan’s farm in the same Duncan Valley.

Spring 1860: WR moved again, this time north of Constantine in Breckinridge County, Kentucky. Shortly thereafter, he moved to the widow Lanham’s place.

1860 U.S. Census for Breckinridge County, Kentucky: William Reno and family now living near the community of Big Spring.

1861: WR moves to a place near Custer in Breckinridge County, Kentucky.

May 28, 1862: Sarah Margaret Reno is born in Hardinsburg, Breckinridge County, Kentucky. She is the final of 7 issue of WR and Elvina; 6 females and 1 male who died in his youth.

Spring, 1862: WR moves his family to a farm near Custer in Breckinridge County, Kentucky.

July 6, 1863: While living close to Custer in Breckinridge County, Kentucky, where he had lived since 1961, William Reno enlisted for one year in Co. K, 48th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry Regiment,USA, at Hudsonville, Breckinridge County, Kentucky.While in the service of the United States during the Civil War, he was a farrier who who shoed horses and fought as a mounted soldier.

Fall, 1863: William Reno suffers his first major choking spell at Princeton, Kentucky.

Fall, 1864: He notices the first major signs of rheumatism at Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

December 17, 1864, William Renno (Reno) is discharged from military service to the United States at Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky. He returned to the house in which he had lived at the time of his enlistment, near Hudsonville and Custer in Breckinridge County, Kentucky. He stayed for a few days and then left and moved up to “the neighbor of Jimmy Tucker on Calamisio (?) Creek between McDaniels and Hardinsburg and staid (sic...stayed) two years.”

1866: WR moved to Pleasant Tucker’s farm on the North Fork (of Rough Creek).

1867: WR moved 300-400 yards down the hill to the Jim Smith farm.

1868: WR moved to the Kellogg Basham farm on the North Fork of Rough Creek.

1870: WR moved across the North Fork of Rough Creek to the farm of Harvey Roberts.

Spring, 1872: WR moves, this time to a farm near McDaniels in Breckinridge County, Kentucky.

1874: WR moves to the farm of the widow Frank on Big Rough Creek.

Spring, 1877: WR moved to the Short Creek area of Grayson County, Kentucky, where he first lived near the Post Office at Duff. He subsequently moved a few miles further from Duff into the country to farm.

1880 U.S. Census for Grayson County, Kentucky, Short Creek District, Line 44, Unit 3944, p. 5. WR and family are listed. William and Elvina (Rhodus) Reno are both listed as age 61 and born in Tennessee. Louisa and Sara M. are yet living with their parents. Note that in this census, WR reports that he does not know the state of birth of his father or mother. Elvina reports that her father was born in Kentucky, and her mother’s birthplace is unknown to her.

1884: WR loses sight in his right eye. He is also indigent.

July 16, 1888: WR files an application for a pension the result of his military service and disabilities. His Claim No. is 518.879. At this time, he was living in the community of Tar Fork near Mattingly in Breckinridge County, Kentucky. This application pursuant to and under an act of Congress approved July 4, 1884 (Armistice Day).       

Sept. 15, 1888: William Reno signed the Articles of Agreement in his pension application with his surname spelled with two letter “N’s,” or, RENNO. All of his military files have his name spelled as “Renno.” He was only partly literate.

May 5, 1889: The claim for pension by WR is denied.

July 21, 1890: WR is pensioned for $12 per month under the July 21, 1890 Act of Congress legislation.

Ca 1891: WR received treatment by a doctor in Big Clifty for hemorrhage of the bowels.

April 7, 1892: Wife, Elvina (Rhodus) Reno dies near Duff, Grayson County, Kentucky. She is buried in Reno Cemetery of that county on the farm where the Renos lived.

March 8, 1893: WR marries for the 2nd time to Artemesia Johnson, widow of Philip Johnson, in Grayson County, Kentucky. The records for this marriage were subsequently destroyed by a fire at the Courthouse in Leitchfield, Grayson County, Kentucky.

May 16, 1893: WR was living at Duff, Grayson County, Kentucky.
1895: WR begins to lose sight in his left eye while living at Tar Fork.
December, 1896: WR moved to Tar Fork, Breckinridge County, Kentucky, where he lived with his daughter Emily Elizabeth who had married Patrick Henry Keenan. He lived here until he died.

March 1, 1898: In deposition, Charles F. Nugent who served in the Army with him, stated that WR had the Measles while at Princeton, Kentucky. He also stated that William Renno was always ‘puney.’

April 28, 1898: WR was living at Tar Fork in Breckinridge County, Kentucky. He was 78 years of age. He provides a sworn deposition as part of his re-application for pension under the first Act of Congress which was previously denied.

April 28, 1898: In deposition, Emily E. (Reno) Keenan, wife of Patrick Henry "Pad"Keenan, stated that her father, WR, was in fairly good health from about 1865 to 1879. She also stated that his strangling spells began about 1877. Further, she stated that her father had left his 2nd wife because “she was a woman who turned out to be of bad character.”

July 7, 1897: In deposition, Madison M. Chapel, who served in the same military unit with WR, stated that WR was crippled by a horse while serving in the Army.

July 18, 1898: William Reno resubmits his application for pension under the newly approved Act of Congress dated June 27, 1890. A reevaluation of his previous denial is also pending.

July 27, 1898: In sworn deposition, WR’s daughter Malinda (Reno) Kiper, said that her father had become very ill in 1865-66 and had been treated by either Dr. LeGrand or Dr. White. She did not know the nature of his illness. Both doctors were deceased at the time of the deposition.
She also stated that her father was a strong man able to do any kind of work when he went in the Army and never was very stout afterward.

July 27, 1898: Sarah M. Craig, the youngest daughter of WR was deposed. She said that her father for several years had a “pain like a knife slicing in his head and has laid for several days at a time like that.” Sarah said that “he often rubbed sulphur upon his limbs for the cramps and ate sulphur.” She also stated that WR had been nearly blind since the summer of 1886.

July 30, 1898: WR was living at the home of Mrs. John Milam, his daughter, near Barretts Ferry, Ohio County, Kentucky.

December 5, 1898: Levi Hudson is deposed among with others with knowledge of WR; these depositions are part of the reevaluation of WR’s application for pension under the first Act of Congress (July 4, 1884), which had been previously denied. Levi Hudson is a grandson of Joseph Hutchison/Hudson, the founder of the village of Hudson in Breckinridge County, Kentucky. Levi served in Co. K, 48th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry Regiment, USA, with WR and had intimate knowledge of his physical maladies.

1902–3: William Reno (Renno) died and was buried next to his first wife, Elvina Rhodus, on the farm they inhabited near the Community of Duff in Grayson County, Kentucky. The Cemetery is known as the Reno Cemetery.


It is obvious that William Reno was either a share cropper farmer or a hired hand farmer, or both, during most of his life. Of signal importance in his life was the fact that he enlisted to serve his country at age 44. Thereafter, he was never healthy and suffered greatly from many physical maladies that were not only painful but emotionally disturbing and frightening. His perseverance and attention to duty while in the Army kept him from attending the hospital when he should have done so. He was what one would call ‘a good soldier.’ His patriotic attention to duty when many were derelict, malingerers and shirkers, and deserters, did not permit the development of a record of his many physical problems which developed when he was serving the Union. The lack of a medical paper trail seriously hampered his applications for a pension later in life when he not only needed financial assistance but deserved it, as well, on the basis of his honorable service and the physical and mental disabilities he encountered resultant of his service to his country.

All claims in this chronology have been proven except where otherwise stated. Many proofs were taken from the Civil War military file of William Renno at the National Archives, Washington, D.C., as well as from census records, marriage certificates, birth announcements, death notices, and cemetery records.

The search for the parents of both William Reno and his wife, Elvina Rhodus continues. If you can be of any assistance in the search for the parents of either William Reno or Elvina Rhodus (likely ...Rhodes), I would enjoy having your assistance.

Prepared by:

Francis W. Keenan, Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor
111 Sherwood Drive
Brockport, New York

Telephone: (585) 637-2506

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