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RG3928.AM:  Frederick Renner, 1830-1922

Papers:  1894-1929

Nebraska City, Otoe County and Omaha, Douglas County, Neb.:  Soldier, newspaperman, legislator, and politician

Size:  0.25 cu.ft.; 1 box


Frederick Renner was born June 16, 1930, in Speyer, Germany, the only son of a prominent physician. Renner graduated from college at Wurzburg. He was sent to the University of Munich in 1848 and then to Paris medical school, graduating from the latter in 1854. Renner came to the United States in 1855. He visited several eastern cities before settling in Nebraska City, Otoe County, Nebraska, the following year. He had decided to stay in Nebraska City because of the opportunity to join the surveying party of Col. Manners to establish the boundary between Nebraska and Kansas.

For 36 years, Renner was a practicing physician in Nebraska City. He became involved in Republican Party politics, also, serving on the Republican County Central Committee and as an officer in the local Republican Club. In 1860 he was elected Engrossing Clerk in Nebraska’s 7th Territorial Legislature. In 1862 he was appointed Assistant Assessor of Internal Revenue, a post he held through 1869. Renner was also a member of the 9th Territorial Legislature, 1864, and was also a delegate to that year’s constitutional convention.

In April of 1861 Renner began his career as a newspaperman, serving as editor of the Nebraska Deutsche Zeitung. This was the first German-language newspaper in the state and Renner ran it for thirty years. Renner was also a captain in the Otoe County Reserves, the company ordered into service in August of 1864, as Company A, 1st Regiment, 2nd Brigade, Nebraska Militia. This unit was involved in defensive maneuvers against Sioux and Cheyenne attacks against settlers. Other local activities that Renner was involved in included lectures, the city council, river improvements, the local immigration association, and the Nebraska Pioneers’ Association, of which he was the first president. He also served as Nebraska City’s postmaster in 1870. Renner moved to Omaha in 1892. Records show that he was employed by Douglas County in 1908, serving as Superintendent of the Douglas County Store. In 1915 Renner was left a widower for the third time. He died in February of 1922 at the age of 92.


This collection consists of one box of manuscript material containing four folders: 1) Correspondence, 1894-1929; 2) Reminiscences, ca. 1900; 3) Newspaper Clippings; and 4) Miscellany. The correspondence, 1894-1929, in folder 1, consists of letters received by Frederick Renner. Two letters, from Gilbert M. Hitchcock, discuss Renner’s hoped-for pension for his role in the Otoe County Reserves. The single letter written after Renner’s death, dated 1929, was written by his granddaughter to her aunt and uncle seeking information about Renner’s papers.

Folder 2 contains Renner’s reminiscence, probably recorded ca. 1900, which is entitled, “Last Assault of the Indian Upon Nebraska.” In it Renner describes events that took place while he was a member of the Otoe County Reserves, pursuing Indians in the Beatrice area in 1864. The newspaper clippings in folder 3 provide biographical information about Renner, a newspaper reminiscence about the Otoe County Reserves (Nebraska State Journal, December 24, 1905) and a picture showing Renner with President William Taft. Several clippings are in German and these are probably from the Nebraska Deutsche Zeitung, the German-language newspaper edited and managed by Renner. The miscellany in folder 4 consists of certificates conferring official appointments on Renner and a Report of Nebraska Territorial Pioneers, 1896.

Note: See the Nebraska History index for various references to Frederick Renner. See the Nebraska Deutsche Zeitung newspaper on microfilm in the Reference Room. The muster roll for Renner’s Otoe County Reserves can be found in Alvin Saunders’ gubernatorial papers [RG1, SG7, Series 3]. Correspondence of Frederick Renner can also be found in the Thomas Jefferson Majors collection [RG2189].


Box 1


  1. Correspondence, 1894-1929

  2. Reminiscences entitled, “Last Assault of the Indian Upon Nebraska,” ca. 1900

  3. Newspaper clippings

  4. Miscellany, including certificates (see also oversize) conferring official appointments upon Renner and a Report of the Nebraska Territorial Pioneers, 1896



Cheyenne Indians — Wars, 1864

Germans in Nebraska

Journalism — Nebraska

Militia — Nebraska — Otoe County

Nebraska City (Neb.) — History

Nebraska City (Neb.) — Newspapers

Otoe County (Neb.) — History

Renner, Frederick, 1830-1922

Sioux Indians — Wars, 1864


AIF   12-12-1979

Encoded TMM   06-10-2011