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African American Newspapers Forum

Re: Afro American Social Columns


Thanks for alerting us to the value and use of the social columns in AA Newspapers as we research our family and community histories. Although not from AA newspapers I would like to share with AfriGeneas some items collected on my Reno, pronounced Ray-No, family branch in the print media over the past 7 years or so.

Below are items from newspapers that were posted and shared on a website of one of my extended families "The Descandant Families of Lewis & Susan Adams".

I guess the lesson is to "leave no stone unturned", especially the printed word, wherever it may be found, in the quest of our family research.



Art Thomas - Mar 9, 2005 View | Edit | Delete | Viewers
Categories: Reno Research "Tidbits"
Hello All,

We're starting to get a handle on the children/descendants of Frank and Rachel Reno, mother and step-father of Susan (Reid) Adams.

We've come from ONLY the interview of Rachel in the Draper Manuscript (1862) & her Obituary (1876)in the St.Paul A.M.E. Church bulletin.

Her children have NOW been located in marriage and census records in OH, IN, IL, MI and Iowa.

Her son, Joseph, (1812-1872) is of course, documented as being in Medina, OH, where Rachel died. We have a copy of his marrige record (11 Aug 1830) in Springfield, Ohio.1850-1870 Census records for him and his family. And newspaper clippings from the Medina County, Gazette. We're still searching for his burial location. AS well as Rachel's burial site....Medina or Urbana ??

Rachel's Obit mentioned sons, Abram and Lewis, as living in Saginaw, MI.

Abram/Abraham is found in Census, newspaper articles, court records and city directories for Saginaw from 1850 to the 1880's.

Francis, Jr. and Rosanna Reno, along with their mother Martha "Patsy" (Ford) Reno are located in Iowa City, Johnson County, Iowa from the 1850's thru the 1890's. We have them on Census, marriage & burial records from the Iowa City, IA area.

Edwin from his marriage in 1838 to Eliza Redman in Shelby County, OH to his migration to Saginaw, MI.

There are many other "bits & pieces" we're putting together, this is just a quick update as promised.

Art Thomas

Read what others had to say:

Art Thomas - Apr 30, 2005 Edit | Delete | Viewers | Reply to this item
Update on Joseph Reno.......Musings from the Medina County Gazette.

1) 22 May 1855 "Alex McClure has purchased the lot on which the barbershop of Joseph Rena (sp) stands, and intends to erect a new building on the site".

I don't know if the lot was owned and/or purchased from Joseph Reno.
The first is found in "History of Medina County" 1881-editon by Baskin & Batty. It involves a court action and is found on page 248. The story involves Joseph and a Judge Dean.

Ca 1858 - Baskins & Batty "History of Medina County, Ohio (1880)

"At another time a larceny had been committed in Medina, and Joseph Reno, a colored man, had ferreted out the thief and arrested him, and fearing he might not be able to testify on account of his color, so induced the criminal to confess in the presence of a white witness as to effect his conviction. Reno was offered to show that he was more than half white, but Judge Dean would not hear of any such proof and decided that, by "inspection" Reno was a "negro," and refused to allow him to testify. At that time, by the laws of Ohio, "negroes and mulattoes" were not competent witnesses where a white man was a party".

2) 1870........."At the election in the village this last Monday, Joseph Reno, colored, (everybody knows "Joe") cast his first vote. Sixty years old and a tax-payer for many years, he comes into the exercise of a right which all now are bound to respect. It is needless to say that Joseph voted the straight Republican ticket"

3) 1872........"Following upon the heels of the Chatham murder we have to report another attempt to take human life, this time in Medina. On Thursday evening June 25, Joseph Reno, a colored man known far and wide as the Attache of the American House, was shot by Erastus Hitchock, a lad about 19 years of age. The cause in the affair was an attempt by Joe to quiet two boys who were firing a pistol in the neighborhood of his home, thereby disturbing a sick child. He requested them to stop which they refused to do. He had in his hand a broom handle used as a cane with which he struck young Hitchcock. At this, Hitchcock, who afterwards said the blow did not hurt him, only made him mad, fires on Joe, but missed. He fired again, and Joe fell. After lingering for a few days he died. During his sickness he was the recipient of the best care and kindest attention of Mr. and Mrs. Warren at the American House, the most comfortable quarters being provided for him. The funeral was largely attended."

4) 1875....."Erastus Hitchcock, who was sentenced to the Penitentiary for six years for shooting Joe Reno, was pardoned last week."

Art Thomas - Jul 23, 2005 Edit | Delete | Viewers | Reply to this item

More Reno information from an Associate Professor of History located at The Univ. of Iowa

The Rewards of Placing Your Research Information On-Line

Below is a communication from the Univ. of Iowa concerning some of OUR Reno ancestors. The "informative postings" were found on my personal website "Families of Arthur Lee Thomas.....Springfield, Ohio".

I had most of the information shared, but was unaware of the "legal" battles of Martha "Patsy" Reno who was the wife of a 3rd great-granduncle, Francis Reno, Jr.
Francis Reno, Jr. married Martha Ford, 11 Apr 1833, in Greene Co., OH, probably Xenia and they migrated to Johnson Co., IA, Iowa City around 1841. Their last two children Henry & Nancy J. Reno were born in Iowa......1843 & 1846 respectively.

The below mentioned Joseph Reno and Francis Reno, Jr. are brothers and they are sons of OUR Francis & Rachel (McKee) Reno (Grandma Reno) who came from Essex County, Ontario, Canada and settled in Champaign Co., OH,.... Urbana, ca 1815.

So, I guess the lesson is to make your research efforts available to as wide an audience as possible. There is no telling what additional information you may receive in return,

Dear Mr. Thomas:

I found some of your very informative postings online on various websites, and
am writing to inquire if you know anything of Joseph Reno's descendants who
migrated out of Ohio. There are two African American Reno households in Iowa
City, Iowa in the antebellum era, tracing their parentage to Ohio. My interest-
-as a historian of Midwest African Americans--is primarily in Martha Reno. She
was the first black Iowan to challenge racial inequalities in the law.

I copy below the information I have gathered.


Maria and Francis Reno, co-signed by Walter Butler [built first hotel in Iowa
City, housed first legisl. assembly in 1841], post $500 bond in Oct. 1841 to
meet legal requirement of free blacks emigrating to the terriorty (SHS, BL 160
(Efforts to track down the bond itself were unsuccesful). Bond requires them
not to become county charges and to conduct and behave themselves in an orderly
and lawful fashion. Walter Butler appears in 1840 census for Johnson Co., Iowa
Territory, with 54 residents (assuming this includes employees) in his hotel.

Walter Butler in IC at least since 1839, when he obtained a license to keep a
tavern. By 1841, he had erected a building to accomodate members of the
upcoming legislative assembly; it was the first IC hotel. Butler also helped
build the first Coralville dam and died while serving as sheriff. (Proceedings
of the Old Settlers Association, 1921-1922, reproduced by the Johnson Co.
Histor. Soc.; Proceedings, 1921-22, pp. 12, 17-18; Proceedings 1924-25, p. 25.

December 17, 1855: Iowa City City Council meeting, City Marshal "represented
that Mrs. Reno (colored) refused to pay School Tax on the ground that she was
debarred the benefit of said fund, and asked the instruction of the City
Council." (Ms., minutes, Iowa City City Council Meeting, Iowa City City Clerk's
Office). The question was apparently referred to the committee on finance and
possibly buried there, as there was no further mention until the jurisdiction
of the schools passed out of the hands of the city council (Charles Ray Aurner,
Leading Events in Johnson County Iowa History (Cedar Rapids, 1912), p. 252)
[Note that the city school district was first organ. in July, 1853; that
2/1/55, the city council levied a tax of one per cent on all taxable propoerty
for school purposes; in 6/56, the council authorized construction of schools in
each of the city's 3 wards; in 5/58, the city council turned control over
schools to a board of school directors; and May 7, 1858, the school board
passed a resolution to establish a school as soon as practicable for the city's
colored youth; and 6/2/58, resolved that colored children should attend schools
in their subdistricts "until objections be urged by the white families sending
to said schools; and that the secretary be instructed to inform such colored
families of this arrangement" [ History of Johnson County, Iowa (Iowa City,
1882), p. 647]

7/15/56: in Johnson Co., IA, William C. Trevan (AME minister, Muscatine, Iowa)
marries Rosanna Reno

1840 census for Medina, Ohio: a Joseph Reno's household includes 2 blacks: a
male, 24-35; and a female, 10-24. Only OH Reno recorded with blacks in hh.
1850, same Joseph entered as a mulatto; in Medina; 36; b. OH; barber; 1600,
wealth; Rhoda, 34, b. OH, race not indicated; Abram, 27, barber, 800/wealth.

1850 census, Iowa City: Patsy Reno, 36, B. OH, 1500 pers. wealth; Francis, 16,
a barber, b. OH; Rosan, 16, b. OH, can't read; Robert, 12, b. OH, can't read;
Nancy, 10, b. OH, can't read.

1854 city census: Martha Reno HH head, 2 males, 3 females in hh.

1860: Martha, 45, b. OH, dau. Nancy, 18, b. OH; Henry, 26, barber, b. OH.

1870, Martha, 54, $3500 real, $125 pers., b. OH; Nancy, 24, b. OH, at home.

1880: Iowa City, Martha, widowed, 65, keeping house, b. OH, father b. OH,
mother b. DEL; daughter Nancy Vanatworth, ladies hairdresser, she and parents
born OH.

DOD: 2/9/81, Martha Reno buried at Oakland cemetery, IC


Any information or inklings you might have would be warmly appreciated.


Leslie Schwalm

Leslie A. Schwalm
Associate Professor of History
University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Messages In This Thread

Afro American Social Columns
Re: Afro American Social Columns
Re: Afro American Social Columns

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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