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Below is a sample of a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Clay, Ray, Carroll, Chariton, and Linn Counties Missouri and published by Chapman Bros. in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details in a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

JROBERT W. RENICK. The name of Renick is a familiar one in Ray County, not only because there are many of the family, but also because that name is synonymous with energy, thrift and moral qualities. As a neighbor truthfully said in speaking of the family, "It is real good stock all around." Robert W. Renick is no exception to the rule and is an honest, straight-forward, industrious tend enterprising man. He resides in township 52, range 27, Ray County, and is a native of Missouri, having been born in La Fayette County in 1847.

The father of our subject, James W. Renick, was a son of Robert, who in turn was a son of Thomas Renick. The latter was probably born in Greenbrier County, Va., and was of Welsh ancestry. By occupation he was a farmer, as were nearly all of the first families of Virginia. In 1812 he and his family and two sisters were captured by the Indians, but all of them escaped except one son, who was carried off and reared by the Indians. In time he married and became one of their tribe and so thoroughly had he become accustomed to the wild life of the forest that although he was induced to return home for a time he soon wearied of the restraints of civilization and returned to his dusky wife and ended his days among his adopted people. It was especially lonely for him when he returned to his parents from the fact that he could converse only in the language of the tribe with which he had remained so many years.

Thomas Renick participated in the War of 1812 and afterward removed his family to Kentucky, being one of the pioneers of that State. He resided on the frontier and was twice captured by the Indians. Robert, the grandfather of our subject, was born in Virginia, where he grew to manhood on a farm and married Mary Hamilton. After his marriage he emigrated to Clarke County, Ohio, where he purchased land and followed farming and milling. Eight children were born to himself and wife, namely: Sarah, William, Isabella, Henry, John, James (father of our subject), Andrew and Robert, all of whom are now deceased. The grandfather was a devoted member of the Presbyterian Church. James W. Renick, the father of our subject, was born in 1816. His father died when he was yet quite young and he made his home with an older sister. When she became a widow he accompanied her to La Fayette County, Mo., making the trip in 1830.

Unlike many of his neighbors, the above named gentleman had money enough to buy one hundred acres of land, which he cultivated. Nine years after his advent into the county he married Willie Warden, who was born in Boone County, Ky., and was the daughter of Rev. John Warden, a Baptist preacher, who migrated to La Fayette County, Mo. In 1844 the father of our subject began freighting for the Government to Western points, embracing Salt Lake City, Colorado, New Mexico and California, and continued in this business for sixteen years, during which time he was also engaged in conducting his farm. He was very successful and twelve hundred acres of land, to which he devoted his entire attention after he retired from the freighting business. The war deprived him of everything he possessed except his land, and that was greatly depreciated in value owing to the ravages of both armies. In 1869 he came to Ray County, Mo., where he bought six hundred and forty acres of land and remained here his death, which occurred in 1892. Politically, he was a Whig before the war, but after that great struggle he became a Democrat. Like many others in his section his sympathies were with the South during the late war. He was appointed Stock Inspector of Texas cattle in La Fayette County, which position he filled with credit.

Our subject was one of seven children, namely: Sarah, Mrs. J. Hill; Mary R., Mrs. L. B. Wright; Robert, our subject; John H., who married Emma Spurlock; James M., who died at the age of three years; William R., and Fannie, who married Cyrus Wright. Our subject received a common-school education and remained with his parents until their death. When twenty-seven years of age he married Susan J., daughter of Franklin T. and Louisa M. (Mitchel) Yates, all natives of Kentucky, although Mrs. Renick was reared in Missouri. One son has blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Renick and they have given him the name of James F. Our subject grew to manhood upon the farm and has always followed the occupation of a farmer. He is now the owner of two hundred acres which he purchased in 1881 and on which he resides. He also has an interest in the old homestead. Like his father before him, he is a member of the Democratic party, in the doctrines of which he is a firm believer.

This family biography is one of 555 biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Clay, Ray, Carroll, Chariton, and Linn Counties Missouri published in 1893.  For the complete description, click here: Ray County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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