Biography - Samuel Renner

SAMUEL RENNER. How blessed and sweet is the rest that follows the labor of a long day spent in adjusting the work and management of one's duties, no matter in what calling. Even so is the rest in the evening of life that a man feels and enjoys after a career of which each day was a repetition of its predecessor in hard manual labor, and the worry of daily existence. This rest is now enjoyed by the gentleman who is the subject of this little biographical sketch in outline. An energetic, stirring man whose whole ambition and energies was to keep in the van of his affairs, and abreast with the time in advancement of all kinds, he has well-earned the pleasant retirement from active duties that he now enjoys.

Our subject, who is now a retired farmer, is a son of Tobias Renner, who was probably a native of Maryland. His mother was Cynthia Smith, who was born in New Jersey. They came to Shelby County, this State, from Belmont County, Ohio, in 1837, although after marriage they first settled in Pennsylvania, removing from there to Guernsey County, Ohio, whence they went to Belmont County. At their advent into this State and country, they settled in Richland Township, where they lived for some years. The father died about 1840. The mother survived her husband for several years, at last passing away in Richland Township. They were the parents of a large family of children, of whom our subject was the second in order of birth. He was probably born in Green County, Pa., his natal day being November 12, 1815.

Samuel Rentier made his advent into Shelby County with his parents in the fall of 1837. They at once settled upon a farm, and the lad was brought up to that calling, and has always followed it. He was married in Richland Township, November 8, 1838, to Miss Martha Balch, a daughter of Amos and Martha (Leach) Balch. The former was a native of Tennessee. The mother died when Mrs. Renner was quite young. The family went from Kentucky to Indiana, where the mother's death took place. After that sad event Mr. Balch came to Shelby County, this state, in 1836, settling in Richland Township, where he lived for about four years, at the expiration of which time he removed to Bond County, and there died. Mrs. Renner is one of a family of eleven children, there having been seven sons and four daughters, and of these the lady who became the wife of our subject, was the youngest. She was born in Indiana, September 30, 1821.

After the union of our subject and wife, they settled in Richland Township, on a farm located on section 27, where they lived upwards of fifty years, until March, 1889, when they removed to Strasburg, where they are now making their home. Their town residence is a cozy place, where they can enjoy the afternoon of life with its soft mellow sunset in serenity and peace. Some of their children live near at hand, and in them and the lives of their families they live again their own youthful experience. Mr. and Mrs. Renner are the parents of twelve children. Those living are Martha, John, Joseph, Emeline, James and Elizabeth. Martha is the wife of Joseph Rouse, and is distinguished for her matronly bearing, being a gentle and loving wife and helpmate; Emeline married James Turner; Elizabeth is the wife of Berry Barker. The eldest son, Stephen was a soldier in the War of the Rebellion, and died a victim of typhoid fever, at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., after having served for three months. The other deceased children passed away when young.

In his political preference Mr. Renner is a Republican having been in his youth, a follower of the old line Whig party. Religiously he and his wife are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, in which body they have done good service. Our subject and his wife have passed a long life in usefulness and devotion, not only to their own personal desires and aims, but for the elevation and help of their fellow-men. They have more than passed the scripturally allotted portion of life and approach the time when wearied with the cares of existence, each will be glad to say:

"Good night; now cometh gentle sleep,
"And dreams that fall like gentle rain;
"Good night! Oh holy, blessed and deep
"The rest that follows pain,
"How should we reach God's upper Light
"If life's long day had no good-night."

Extracted 13 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 436-439.

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