Updated, 7 Dec 2005

Jacob Renner, Sr.

Born: about 1766 in Virginia
Died: about 1832 in Rockcastle County, Kentucky

Jacob Renner was the first Renner in Rockcastle County and was among the first settlers in the Buffalo area. He moved from VA to KY between 1805 and 1808, probably about 1806, and lived in the part of Pulaski County that became Rockcastle, most likely on the Buffalo Branch of Line Creek. From tax records we know in 1826 his land was on Line Creek and came from a 150-acre grant in the name of J. Renner. This grant does not exist in any official records; presumably he passed away before completing the patenting process. Portions of the land was then claimed by William Warson/Warren in 1834 (50 acres) and Thomas B. Nichols in 1839 (100 acres). Those two grants joined each other and both made reference to the "old Renner cabin" (see map). From an analysis of these land grants, it appears the cabin was located just north of today's Buffalo Baptist Church.

Results from the Runner/Renner/Lauffer DNA Project, combined with considerable circumstantial evidence, strongly points Jacob being the son of Adam Runner/Renner of Montgomery/Wythe County, VA (he died in Wythe in 1796).

From a Wythe County court record, we know Adam Runner/Renner had a son named Jacob. Presumably this Jacob was in the Wythe tax lists from 1794 until 1805.

The first record that exists for Jacob in Kentucky is his appearance on the 1808 Lincoln County tax list. The second record is the 1809 Pulaski County marriage record between daughter Louisa and William Linville. Louisa's parents are listed as "Jacob and Maray Runner." Both families are listed as residents of Pulaski County. The name variations Renner, Runner, Ranner, Rener, and Reynor continue through the family at various times until at least 1910. The earliest records have it "Runner" as often as "Renner."

Jacob appears in the Rockcastle County tax lists from 1810 until 1831 and in the Rockcastle County census in 1810, 1820, and 1830. From the census data it appears he had at least ten children--five boys and five girls. Louisa is the only female whose name is known. We do believe the names of his sons are known: John, Sylvester, Jacob, Adam, and Elisha. The data for these five men fit the census data for Jacob's sons almost perfectly, although direct evidence to support this is lacking. An in-depth discussion of the connections between these men is not presented here; suffice it to say there is no evidence at all that would contradict them being brothers, and much to support the conclusion.

All five of these Renner men were born in VA and lived their adult lives in Rockcastle County, with the exception of Sylvester, who is believed to have moved to IN in the early 1830s.

At various times in both the tax list and census data, Jacob is listed as "Jacob Renner Sr."

There is no evidence to suggest Jacob lived anywhere in KY other than on Line Creek or that he was married more than once.

We do not know Mary's maiden name but I believe there is a chance she was an Ott. The Otts (Frederick), along with the Jacob Fredericks and Henry Meece families, moved to Pulaski/Rockcastle from Wythe County a few years before the Renners. From the Wythe tax lists we know they lived fairly near each other in that county. The connections between the Otts and Renners in VA, KY, and IN are numerous, but there are no marriages that I can find (notwithstanding the potential marriage between Jacob and Mary). Within the Ott family there is a Mary of appropriate age for whom no marriage is definitively known.

Jacob's final resting place is unknown. There are two cemeteries in the vicinity of his home, the Old Buffalo Church Cemetery and the Hibbard Cemetery, but neither of those seem to date to the 1830s. Much of the land near where he lived was strip-mined in the 1900s; it wouldn't be unreasonable to think a few small family cemeteries may have been destroyed.