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Family history research can lead to interesting relatives

The Reno Gang
Photo courtesy of Genealogy Trails History Group

I am on a History Channel list that emails me a “This Day in History” tidbit every day. Today’s commemorates the first robbery of a moving train.  The robbery was committed on October 6, 1866 by the Reno gang. Click here for the story.

It caught my eye because my husband’s great-grandfather, Ovid Reno, was a distant relative of the Reno brothers. How Ovid got to York County and became the ancestor of many present day York countians, the majority of which are not named Reno today, is an interesting story in itself.

The Renos (Reynaud) were French Hugenots. Immigrants Lewis Reynaud/Reno came to Virginia about 1697. Lewis’s son John moved to Washington County, Pennsylvania, and Lewis’s son, the Reverend Francis Reno, was one of the first settlers of Rochester, now in Beaver County.

Francis’s grandson, Ovid, became a boatman on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and, along with some other northern boatmen, was in New Orleans when the Civil War broke out and was drafted into the Confederate Navy. Captured by Union forces, these young men explained their situation and promised to return home if they were released. Instead of going back to western Pennsylvania, Ovid Reno came along back here with one of the other men, Benjamin Lidy/Leighty. He enlisted in the Union Army from here and then returned to York County to raise a sizable family. (Thanks to Richard Konkel and Olga Shaull Eveler for all their extensive genealogy research on the Renos.)

There are several other historically noted Renos who also descend from the early Reno generations. One is General Jesse Reno who was mortally wounded at the Battle of South Mountain, near Boonesboro, Maryland in 1862. Reno, Nevada is named for him.

Another member of the clan is Major Marcus Reno, accused of cowardice at the Battle of Little Big Horn, but later exonerated.

You just never know who might pop up in your family tree.