ELIAS B. RENNAKER. The commensurate reward for a life of industry and usefulness is an honorable retirement in which to enjoy the fruits of former years of toil, and the average Indiana farmer when he has reached the evening of life puts aside business cares and retires to a comfortable residence, content in the knowledge of a career well spent. In this connection it is not inappropriate to give a review of the life of Elias B. Rennaker, retired agriculturist and Civil War veteran, who is now living on a small property in the vicinity of Sweetser, Indiana.
Mr. Rennaker was born in Carroll county, Ohio, December 14, 1840, and is a son of Michael and Rebecca (Steffy) Rennaker. His parents, both of whom were born in Pennsylvania, near what was later to become the famous battlefield of Gettysburg, removed to Carroll county, Ohio, not long after their marriage, and in 1853 came to Indiana, purchasing 200 acres of land in Pleasant township, there spending the remainder of their lives. They had a family of ten sons and six daughters, and of these children twelve grew to maturity. The early education of Elias B. Rennaker was secured in the common schools of his native county, and this was supplemented by several terms in the district schools of Pleasant township, whence he had accompanied his parents as a lad of thirteen years. After completing his education, he settled down to agricultural pursuits on his father's farm, and was so engaged until the time of his enlistment, in August, 1862, in Company C, Twelfth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, which was connected with the Fourth Division of the Fifteenth Army Corps, commanded by Gen. John A. Logan He continued to serve with this organization until the close of hostilities in 1865, and during his military career participated in some of the fiercest engagements of the great struggle between he North and South, including Vicksburg, Missionary Ridge, Atlanta and Richmond, Kentucky, and took part in the famous campaign of General Sherman, in his "March to Sea." At Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Rennaker was seriously wounded in the left hand, still carrying the scar of the bullet wound, and at Richmond was captured by the Confederates, but was imprisoned only two months, when he received his parole. He was known as a brave and faithful soldier, ever performing ably and cheerfully the duties entrusted to him, and won the admiration of his comrades and the respect of his officers. For many years Mr. Rennaker was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, being connected with the post at Marion, Indiana.
After he had recuperated from the effects of army life, Mr. Rennaker resumed agricultural operations, and for many years was actively engaged therein, becoming one of the substantial men of his community, and owning an excellent property about three and one-half miles northeast of Converse. He was successful in his general farming operations, and also as a breeder of hogs and cattle, won an enviable reputation for his honorable business methods, and gained a wide circle of friends. In 1900 he retired from active life, and is now residing on a small property near Sweetser, Indiana, although he is still the owner of eighty acres of land in Richland township and four acres in Pleasant township.
In 1867 Mr. Rennaker was married to Miss Martha M. Julian, who was born, reared and educated in Pleasant township, Grant County, Indiana, and was a daughter of Louis and Sarah Julian. Mrs. Rennaker died in 1875, having been the mother of three children, of whom two died in infancy, while the third, Maggie, is still living and the wife of Jacob R. Fisher. In 1883, Mr. Rennaker was married to Miss Abigail Marks, daughter of Thomas and Mary Marks, Mr. Marks being said to have been the first blacksmith in Marion, Indiana.
From the time of attaining his majority until 1889, Mr. Rennaker was politically a Republican, but at that time transferred his allegiance to the Democratic party, and has since supported its candidates. He has never engaged prominently in political activities, but held the office of supervisor of Richland township for one term. He has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for many years, with his membership in Beacon Lodge No, 320, of Converse. Since his baptism as a young man in the Lutheran faith, his religious life has been with that denomination.
Centennial History of Grant County, Indiana 1812-1912, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1914