Summary

Zela Reno (aka Zeley or Zealous Reno) fought for Lafayette during the Revolutionary War. He also was a veteran of the Indian Wars and the War of 1812.

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Revolutionary War 1
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Zela Reno 1

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Cynthiana, Kentucky

Zeley or Zela Reno was the son of Major Lewis Reno lV and Elizabeth Whitledge.  He was born on April 3, 1757 in Prince William County, Virginia. He grew up on his father's plantation there. Zeley became engaged to Mary Lila Chinn, daughter of Charles Chinn and Scythia (Cynthia) "Seth" Davis of Middleburg Virginia, in 1774. The court records of Fauquier County, Virginia confirm that each of the couples' parents gave their consent to the marriage. Zeley's father, for example, wrote, "Sir please to grant marrage lizen between Zeley Reno and Moley Chinn and oblige your humble servant. Lew Reno gargin."Mary's father wrote: Zeley Reno and my daughter Mary Chinn is ingaged. I desire you will grant him licens for them to marrey in so doing you will oblige your humble servant."26 July 1775, Zeley Reno and his brother Thomas Reno posted a marriage bond of 50 pounds in Fauquier County for Zeley's marriage to Mary. Zeley had inherited a small portion of his fathers plantation, 140 acres, when his father died in 1774. On 16 March 1784 Zeley sold this land to Simon Luttrell and moved to Kentucky, claiming land in return for his service during the Revolutionary War. His home was located possibly along the Green River near Cypress Creek. Anyway, we know that he lived near present day Cynthiana in Harrison County, Kentucky though it was then Fayette County, which had been formed from Virginia in 1780 and became Bourbon County in 1785. The state of Kentucky was formed from Fayette, Jefferson and Lincoln County, Virginia in 1792. In 1787 Zeley and Mary, sold their land in Bourbon County to Thomas Whiteledge who was undoubtedly a relative through his mother Elizabeth Whiteledge. He evidently obtained other land in the county, because he appears in the 1810 Census of Bourbon County and the tax records of that year state that he owned 50 acres.

Revolutionary War Service

Prince William County, Virginia

A Soldier of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Pension records confirm that Zeley Reno enlisted in March of 1775 as a Sergeant. in the minute service serving under Colonel Jesse Ewell, Captain Cuthbert Harrison and Ensign Lewis Reno, his brother.  Zeley served 26 1/2 months in all. His uniform was a purple shirt with "Libberty or Death" written on the chest, a macaroni hat buck tail. He also served in Captain Moses Demmit's Co. of KY Mounted Militia during the War of 1812.

He Was A Warrior

Genealogy of the Reno/Reneau Family in America, 1600-1930 website Zeley Reno served as a sergeant in the Minute Men from Prince William County under LaFayette in the campaign around Williamsburg and Yorktown in the Revolutionary War and received a pension. He also served in the campaign against the Shawnee Indians under Col. Benjamin Logan. During the War of 1812 he served in Capt. Moses Demmitt's Company of the Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia. He made application for the pension on February 13, 1833, in Harrison County, Kentucky. He signed his name Zeley on his will written in 1834, and his Revolutionary War Pension has the spelling as Zely or Zela, although it often appears as Zealey in various documents. His father and Mary Chinn's father both wrote his name as Zeley. The fourth son of Lewis Reno and Elizabeth Whitledge, he inherited 140 acres (a part of the original Reno-Chevalle Grant of 1710) from his father, which he later sold to Simon Luttrell on March 16, 1784. In 1774 he became engaged to Mary Chinn, and the court records of Fauquier County, Virginia, contain notes from each of their parents authorizing the marriage. Charles Chinn wrote "Zeley Reno and my daughter Mary Chinn is engaged. I desire you will grant him licens for them to marrey in so doing you will oblige your humble servent." Lewis Reno (signed his name Reno) wrote "Sir please to grant marrage lizen between Zeley Reno and Moley Chinn and oblige your humble servant. Lewis Reno gargin." On July 26, 1775, Zeley Renoe and his brother Thomas Renoe posted a marriage bond in Fauquier County of 50 pounds for his marriage to Mary Chinn. Zeley's Revolution War pension file says that his uniform was a purple hunting shirt marked on the front with larger letters "Liberty or Death", and that he wore a macaroni hat with a bucktail in it. After the war, he lived in Prince William and Loudon counties in Virginia until 1784, when he sold his land and moved to Fayette County, KY (now Bourbon County), possibly with his nephews Lewis Reno, John B. Reno, and Jesse Reno, sons of his brother Lewis. He appears on the 1787 tax list for Bourbon Co. when it was still part of Virginia. On March 20, 1787, Zeley Reno sold land in Bourbon County to Thomas Whitledge (Bourbon County Deed Book A-1, p. 41-43). He was on Bourbon County, Kentucky, tax lists from 1787 through 1799. They lived 8 miles from Paris, Kentucky. He was mustered into Capt. Moses Demitt's Company, Kentucky Mounted Volunteers on August 13, 1813, at Newport. It was commanded by Col. John Page. He witnessed the will of John Whitledge on October 5, 1788, in Bourbon County, Kentucky. He witnessed the will of Haden Edwards in August 1803. He was baptized at the Cooper's Run Baptist Church in Bourbon County in 1790, and was granted a letter by the Silas Run Baptist Church in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1819 (Kentucky State Historical Society, v. 27, p. 1929). Some of his family admitted to the Silas Run Church are as follows: Mary Reno, admitted by letter from Cooper's Run, Sept. 3, 1802; Charles, baptized August 13, 1811; Lucy, baptized August 18, 1811; Lewis Reno and wife Polly, baptized September 28, 1811; Penelope, admitted by letter from Mill Creek, August 7, 1813; Christopher Reno, baptized July 1818; and Cynthia Reno and margaret Reno. The list of names of his children is incomplete, being based entirely on baptismal records between 1811 and 1818 and his will, which does not mention all of his children. Older children, such as sons born before 1810, might have moved away before the family joined these churches, as indicated by the 1810 census record for Benjamin Rennoe next door to Zele Rennoe in Bourbon Co. The 1810 Kentucky census indicates 1 son and 4 daughters. His will dated June 10, 1834 (Harrison County Will Book D, p. 16) reads "In the name of God Amen, knowing that it is appointed once for all men to die and I being now frail in body but of perfect mind and memory I do hereby constitute this to be my last will and testament. In the first place it is my will and desire that all my just and lawful debts be paid out of my estate. Item I thus will and bequeath to my son Christopher Reno four hundred dollars which I have here tofore lent him for his own proper use. Item I will and bequeath all the balance of my estate to my beloved wife Mary Reno her life time and at her death all the balance of my estate to be equally divided amongst all my children towit Charles Reno, Lewis Reno, Sytha Jones, Polly Jones, Pernelepy Calbert, Margaret Lewis, Terissa Reno my granddaughter. Christopher having got his part is to get none of the last divide. In testimony whereof I have hereto set my hand and my seal in the presence of these witnesses on the 10th day of June 1834." Zeley Reno. His will was witnessed by Benjamin Bradon and William Simpson, and was probated February 17, 1837. William L. Reno, Jr. (1975, "The Reno Family," addendum 2) argues based on pre-1850 census records, the ages of individuals involved, and geographical opportunity that Zeley Reno probably had two or three additional sons born between 1775 and 1790: James, John, and Benjamin, who apear later in records of Kentucky and Indiana. In the 1810 census, he is listed as Zele Rennoe of Bourbon County (p. 105: ages 01001-02201-00; 1 boy 10-15 (probably Christopher); 1 man 45 and up; 2 girls 10-15; 2 girls 16-25; 1 woman 45 and up). A Benjamin Rennoe is also listed in Bourbon County in 1810 on the same page, with 1001-00100-00; one boy under 10, 1 man 26-44, and one woman 16-25, and his son Charles has a listing as Charles Runnoe. There is no listing for Zeley in 1820, but in the 1830 census Zele Reno of Bourbon County has 1 male 30-39, 1 male 70-79, 2 girls uner 5, and 1 woman 20-29 (probably one of his daughters and her husband and two girls; his wife is not listed yet she didn't die until 1839). Here are portions of Zeley Reno's pension file W8545 from the National Archives: Harrison Co., KY: "On this 13th day of February 1833 before me Joel Frazer a justice of the peace and member of Harrison County Court, Kentucky, which is a court of record, appeared Zela Reno a resident of Harrison County Kentucky age nearly seventy six years, having been born in Prince William County Virginia on the 3rd day of April 1757. Who being first duly sworn according to law doth, on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the law of Congress passed June 7th 1832. That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served hereinafter stated. That in March of 1775 as well as he recollects he entered the said service as Sargeant in the Minute Service and Marched from home in Prince William County, Virginia, to Williamsburg to counteract Governor Dunmore who had taken the Magazines runaway negroes. That declarants uniform was a purple hunting shirt marked in the breast with large letters with the words "Liberty or Death" with a Macarone hat and bucktail. That his captain's name was Cuthbert Harrison, George Madden was Lieutenant and Lewis Reno Ensign in Col. Jesse Ewell and Major James Ewells regiment. That as near as he recalleth after services rendered by him during the Revolution were as follows vis: He marched from home in the above specified town in Prince William County to Fredericksburg, thense to Williamsburg. And Dunsmore having escaped on board a vessel, he returned home having been absent in service two months. And again during the same year, in the fall, he marched from home in said service and under the same officers, except Capt. Harrison, who had died, and Henry Hoe, or Haugh, acting as Capt. to Newgate in Fairfax County, Virginia, where he was stationed three months - thense to Dumfries where he was stationed three months - thense to Little York where he was stationed three months - thense to Williamsburg where he was stationed four months. From this place the British drove the Americans - who retreated to Richmond and where this declarent staid three weeks, thense home where he spent the balance of this year 1776 and is going thru little tours of three weeks each to guard the country on the Potomac at Tripletts Landing and near Dumfries. That in the spring of 1781 he marched under Capt. Simon Hancock from home to Williamsburg where he was stationed two months. Thense to Little York and here he staid two months. Thense to Richmond wher he staid two months - thense home on patrol a short time - thense to Little York to the siege and capture of Cornwallis under Capt. Simon Hancock who had been his Captain in all said tours for three years preceeding at various places... He assisted in guarding British prisoners at Fredericksburg and served nine months. That he has no record of his age. He was christianed in the Church of England in Prince William County Virginia as he has been informed, and he has been informed verbally of his age by his parents, and believes what he has stated about is true. That he lived after the Revolution in Prince William and Loudon counties Virginia until the year 1784, when he moved to Fayette County KY where he resided some years and has resided in Bourbon and Harrison counties ever since and now resides in Harrison County Kentucky. That there is no person by whom he can prove his service that he knows of. He hereby relinquishes every claim that everts to a pension or a warranty except of the present and declares his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state or territory." Signed the 13th day of February 1833 by Joel Frazier. Also in his pension file is a document dated August 8, 1839, Book A, Vol. 2, p. 179, saying, "Mary Reno, widow of Zela Reno due a pension act 7 June 1832 who died on the 30 January 1837 of Bourbon Co. in the State of Kentucky ... who was in the company commanded by Captain Hough of the regiment commanded by Col. Ewell in the Virginia Militia. Inscribed on this roll of Kentucky at the rate of 83 dollars and 33 cents per annum to commence on 30th day of January 1837." In his wife's application for his pension after his death, she says that they lived in Prince William County and that "shortly after their marriage he entered the service as a soldier in the company of Captain Burr Harrison ...". Also in Zela Reno's file is a document dated December 11, 1840 stating that Mary Reno died on 17 May 1839 and that Zela Reno's pension was thereafter unclaimed and paid to the treasury of the United States. He is on the 1787 Bourbon County, Kentucky, census listing he had no males between the ages of 16 and 21, had 1 horse, mares, colts, and mules; and 1 cattle. He is also listed in the 1799 tax lists for Bourbon County, Kentucky. The 1810 Bourbon County, Kentucky, census lists Zele Rennoe, 1 male 10 to 16, 1 male over 45, 2 females 10 to 16, 2 females 16 to 26, and 1 female over 45. The 1830 Bourbon County, Kentucky, census lists Zello Renno, 1 male 30 to 40, 1 male 70 to 80, 2 females under 5, 1 female 20 to 30, 1 female 70 to 80, and 2 slaves. ?References ↑ Zila Reno in Will of Charles Chinn, in Fauquier, Virginia, United States. Fauquier County Will Book 2 (1783-1796). [see Complete Transcript .... I direct my son ELIJAH CHINN to hire out and that he lay out the money arising therefrom for the support of my daughter MARY RENO and her children until the death of ZILA RENO her husband ... ----- [Identifies him as husband to Mary (Chinn) Reno.] ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Zeley Reno, in Genealogy of the Reno/Reneau Family in America, 1600-1930 website. [last accessed 21 Nov 2012] Categories: Reno surname | Reno in Virginia | Reno in Kentucky

More Background

Zeley Reno, fought in the Revolutionary War at Yorktown and moved in 1784 to the wilderness of what is now Harrison County, Kentucky, at a time when few whites lived there and Indian raids were commonplace.

Zeley Reno, was a Sergeant in the Minute Men from Prince William County under Lafayette during the Revolutionary War, and served in the campaign against the Shawnee Indians under Col. Benjamin Logan. During the War of 1812 he served in Capt. Moses Demmitt's Company of the Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia. He signed his name Zeley on his will written in 1834, and his Revolutionary War Pension File has the spelling as Zely or Zela, although it often appears as Zealey in various documents. His father and Mary Chinn's father both wrote his name as Zeley.

The fourth son of Lewis Reno and Elizabeth Whitledge, he inherited 140 acres on the north side of Broad Run from his father in 1774, which he later sold to Simon Luttrell on March 16, 1784. In 1774 he became engaged to Mary Chinn, and the court records of Fauquier Co., Virginia contain notes from each of their parents authorizing the marriage. Charles Chinn wrote "Zeley Reno and my daughter Mary Chinn is ingaged. I desire you will grant him licens for them to marrey in so doing you will oblige your humble servent". His father Lewis Reno wrote "Sir please to grant marrage lizen between Zeley Reno and Moley Chinn and oblige your humble servant. Lewis Reno gargin." On July 26, 1775, Zeley Renoe and his brother Thomas Renoe posted a marriage bond in Fauquier County of 50 pounds for his marriage to Mary Chinn. On October 14, 1779, he signed a petition to the Virginia Legislature to move from the Prince William County seat from Dumfries to a place nearer the center of the county.

Zeley's Revolution War pension file says that his uniform was a purple hunting shirt marked on the front with large letters "Liberty or Death", and that he wore a macaroni hat with a bucktail in it. After the war, he lived in Prince William and Loudon counties in Virginia until 1784, when he sold his land and moved to the area near what is now Cynthiana in Harrison County, Kentucky, which at that time was part of Fayette County and in 1785 became part of Bourbon County. He was allowed to claim land in Kentucky for his service in the Revolutionary War. He appears on the 1787 tax list for Bourbon Co. when it was still part of Virginia, and on March 20, 1787 there is a record where Zeley Reno sold land in Bourbon Co. to Thomas Whitledge (Bourbon Co. Deed Book A-1, p.41-43). The 1788 Tax Assessment Book for Bourbon County (p. 9) lists Zealous Reno with 2 horse and mules and himself as the only male over 21 years of age, and also lists John Reno and Thomas Reno. This John Reno, who also appears on the 1789 and 1790 tax lists, is probably his nephew John Bayliss Reno, son of his brother Lewis, but it could be another son. It is not certain who the Thomas Reno is that moved to Fayette Co. with him.

In the 1810 census for Bourbon County there are listings for Zele Rennoe, Benjamin Rennoe and Charles Rennoe. The 1810 tax records show both Zeley and Charles Reno with 50 acres of land (records are badly water stained and many pages are illegible). The 1811 tax list has Benjamin Reno with 1 male (himself) over 21 and 2 horses, Zeley Reno with 50 acres, Charles Reno with 50 acres, and Lewis Reno over 21. Zeley and his son Lewis appear on the 1813 tax list and Zeley and Charles appear on the 1814 tax list.

The list of names of his children is incomplete, being based entirely on baptismal records between 1811 and 1818 and his will, which does not mention all of his children. Older children, such as sons James and Benjamin born before 1810, might have moved away before the family joined these churches. His son Benjamin does not appear in church records or his will, but is listed in the 1810 census next to Zele Rennoe and also on the 1811 tax assessment list with Zeley. Zeley Reno was baptized at the Cooper's Run Baptist Church in Bourbon Co. in 1790, and he was granted a letter by the Silas Run Baptist Church in Bourbon Co. in 1819 (Kentucky State Historical Society, v. 27, p. 1929). Some of his family admitted to the Silas Run Church are as follows: Mary Reno, admitted by letter from Cooper's Run, Sep. 3, 1802; Charles, bapt. Aug. 13, 1811; Lucy, bapt. Aug. 18, 1811; Lewis Reno and wife Polly, bapt. Sep. 28, 1811; Penelope, admitted by letter from Mill Creek, Aug. 7, 1813; Christopher Reno, bapt. July 1818; and Cynthia Reno and Margaret Reno. The following entry appears in church records for the Coopers Run church on June 15, 1792: "After Prayer proceeded to Business Brother Jesse Williams exibited a charge against Brother Zeley Renno, for being at a Logrolling at an unseasonable time, & with drinking to intoxication & swearing, & differing with a Certain Brothiers, & strikeing a Negro. The Church after hearing the Charge and Br. Rennos Defence, are of Opinion that he aught to be admonished and he is hereby Suspended from Communion of the Church until he gives Satisfaction. Done by order of the Church Jas Garrard Clk".

His will dated June 10, 1834 (Harrison County Will Bk. D, p. 16) reads "In the name of God Amen, knowing that it is appointed once for all men to die and I being now frail in body but of perfect mind and memory I do hereby constitute this to be my last will and testament. In the first place it is my will and desire that all my just and lawful debts be paid out of my estate. Item I thus will and bequeath to my son Christopher Reno four hundred dollars which I have here tofore lent him for his own proper use. Item I will and bequeath all the balance of my estate to my beloved wife Mary Reno her life time and at her death all the balance of my estate to be equally divided amongst all my children towit Charles Reno, Lewis Reno, Sytha Jones, Polly Jones, Pernelepy Calbert, Margaret Lewis, Terissa Reno my grandaughter. Christopher having got his part is to get none of the last divide. In testimony whereof I have hereto set my hand and my seal in the presence of these witnesses on the 10th day of June 1834." Zeley Reno. His will was witnessed by Benjamin Bradon and William Simpson, and was probated February 17, 1837.

William L. Reno, Jr. (1975, "The Reno Family", addendum 2) argues based on pre-1850 census records, the ages of individuals involved, and geographical opportunity that Zeley Reno probably had two or three additional sons born between 1775 and 1790: James, John, and Benjamin, who appear later in records of Kentucky and Indiana. In the 1810 census, he is listed as Zele Rennoe of Bourbon Co. (p. 105: ages 01001- 02201-00; 1 boy 10-15 (probably Christopher); 1 man 45 and up; 2 girls 10-15; 2 girls 16-25; 1 woman 45 and up;). Benjamin Rennoe is listed in Bourbon Co. in 1810 on the same page, with 1001-00100-00; one boy under 10, 1 man 26-44, and one woman 16-25, and his son Charles has a listing as Charles Runnoe. There is no listing for Zeley in 1820, but in the 1830 census Zele Reno of Bourbon County has 1 male 30-39, 1 male 70-79, 2 girls under 5, and 1 woman 20-29 (probably one of his daughters and her husband and two girls), and his wife 70-79.

Zeley Reno's pension file W8545 from the National Archives: Harrison Co., KY reads as follows: "On this 13th day of February 1833 before me Joel Frazer a justice of the peace and member of Harrison County Court, Kentucky, which is a court of record, appeared Zela Reno a resident of Harrison County Kentucky age nearly seventy six years, having been born in Prince William County Virginia on the 3rd day of April 1757. Who being first duly sworn according to law doth, on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the law of Congress passed June 7th 1832. That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served hereinafter stated. That in March of 1775 as well as he recollects he entered the said service as Sargeant in the Minute Service and marched from home in Prince William Co. Virginia to Williamsburg to counteract Governor Dunmore who had taken the Magazines runaway negroes. This declarants uniform was a purple hunting shirt marked in the breast with large letters with the words "Liberty or Death" with a Macarone hat and bucktail. That his captain's name was Cuthbert Harrison, George Madden was Lieutenant and Lewis Reno Ensign in Col. Jesse Ewell and Major James Ewell's regiment. That as near as he recalleth after services rendered by him during the Revolution were as follows viz: He marched from home in the above specified town in Prince William County to Fredericksburg, thense to Williamsburg. And Dunsmore having escaped on board a vessel, he returned home having been absent in service two months. And again during the same year, in the fall, he marched from home in said service and under the same officers, except Capt. Harrison, who had died, and Henry Hoe, or Haugh, acting as Capt. to Newgate in Fairfax County, Virginia, where he was stationed three months - thense to Dumfries where he was stationed three months - thense to Little York where he was stationed three months - thense to Williamsburg where he was stationed four months. From this place the British drove the Americans - who retreated to Richmond and where this declarent staid three weeks, thense home where he spent the balance of this year 1776 and is going thru little tours of three weeks each to guard the country on the Potomac at Tripletts Landing and near Dumfries. That in the spring of 1781 he marched under Capt. Simon Hancock from home to Williamsburg where he was stationed two months. Thense to Little York and here he staid two months. Thense to Richmond where he staid two months - thense home on patrol a short time - thense to Little York to the siege and capture of Cornwallis under Capt. Simon Hancock who had been his Captain in all said tours for three years preceeding at various places. --- Marks was Lieutenant and Major Saml. Cox, and during the siege he was in Col. Mathews regiment and under General Weedin, as he thinks. He recollects Capt. Francis Colman at the siege. That after the siege he assisted in guarding the British prisoners to Fredericksburg and served nine months. That he asserts and verily believes that he served the United States in said service as a minute man full twenty six months and a half certain. That he received final discharge but it has been long since lost or destroyed. That he has no record of his age. He was christianed in the Church of England in Prince William County Virginia as he has been informed, and he has been informed verbally of his age by his parents, and believes what he has stated about is true. That he lived after the revolution in Prince William and Loudon counties Virginia until the year 1784, when he moved to Fayette County KY where he resided some years and has resided in Bourbon and Harrison counties ever since and now resides in Harrison County Kentucky. That there is no person by whom he can prove his service that he knows of. He hereby relinquishes every claim that everts to a pension or a warranty except of the present and declares his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state or territory whatever." Signed the 13th day of February 1833 by Joel Frazier.

Also in his pension file is a document dated August 8, 1839, Book A, Vol. 2, p. 179, saying "Mary Reno, widow of Zela Reno due a pension act 7 June 1832 who died on the 30 January 1837 of Bourbon Co. in the State of Kentucky ... who was in the company commanded by Captain Hough of the regiment commanded by Col. Ewell in the Virginia militia. Inscribed on this roll of Kentucky at the rate of 83 dollars and 33 cents per annum to commence on 30th day of January 1837."
In his wife's application for his pension after his death, she says that they lived in Prince William Co. and that "shortly after their marriage he entered the service as a soldier in the company of Captain Burr Harrison...". Also in Zela Reno's file is a document dated December 11, 1840 stating that Mary Reno died on 17 May 1839 and that Zela Reno's pension was thereafter unclaimed and paid to the treasury of the United States.

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