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Daniel Riner's Story


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Daniel Riner, an American Pioneer, born in 1796 in Berkeley County, Virginia [now WV] and died in Burr Oak, Kansas in 1885.

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Daniel Riner's Story

  1. 1. Daniel Riner, an American Pioneer 1796-1885 Virginia to Indiana to Illinois to Kansas
  2. 2. When I was a girl, my grandmother Hazel Lewis Parsons told me stories of her family’s pioneer days in Kansas. Hazel, born in 1895, was the second to youngest daughter of Calvin and Belle Hunt Lewis, themselves children of pioneers. All my childhood, in my imagination I walked the streets of Burr Oak and the roads of Jewell County as my grandmother told and retold the family stories. Hazel’s lifetime spanned Conestoga wagons to space rockets, 1895-1993. But, though she filled my mind and heart with the Kansas of her youth, I realized the thread of the family journey had been lost. One summer afternoon in 2001, I decided to clean the upstairs closets, repository of old clothing from college, Christmas ornaments, boxes saved from my mother’s files, more recent old clothing, and odd items. Hauling several cardboard boxes of my mother’s papers out into the room, I began sorting and reading. I knew before I started that I would throw none of these things away, but perhaps I could organize and sort. Half way through the second box, I found a large manila envelope with a return address from my deceased great aunt Mattie Lewis Grubbs who lived in Burr Oak, Kansas, dated 1974. Wondering what my mother had saved from 25 years ago, I gingerly drew out five large sheets of cardboard, pasted front and back with yellowed obituaries, old poems, and old sayings.
  3. 3. Puzzled, I read through some of the names; only one was familiar, “Grubbs,” my great-aunt’s married name. The afternoon sun streamed through the west window, the room was quiet, waiting, as I stared at this unexpected look into the past. Scanning the dates, I saw that all these people had been dead for over a century. In the middle of one page was an obituary for “Father Riner,” who was born in Virginia in 1796 and died in Kansas in 1885. Down in the corner of the right side was an obituary for “Mary Riner Clayton,” who died in 1889. Riner, Riner…..who were these people? The answer hovered at the edge of my consciousness. I walked downstairs and pulled boxes of pictures from the bedroom closet, rummaging until I found the 1992 Kansas trip pictures. My mother had taken me to the Burr Oak Cemetery and had shown me her grandmother’s grave, as well as her great-grandmother’s nearby. And I had taken pictures of the gravestones. There it was, “Mary Riner Clayton,” 1838-1889. Picking up the picture, I ran back upstairs to the cardboard sheets. Stunned, I saw in front of me the yellowed obituaries of my grandmother’s grandmother and my great- great-grandmother’s father. Six generations. Unknown. Unnamed. Their story untold.
  4. 4. Daniel Riner’s Obituary: 1796-1885
  5. 5. Father Riner’s obituary • Died---At the home of his son-in-law, R. R. Skeels, four miles southwest of Burr Oak, on May 5th, 1885, Daniel Riner, aged 88 years, 6 months, and 26 days. • Father Riner was born in Berkley County, Virginia, October 19, 1796. He married December 31, 1826 to Miss May Starry. In 1829 he moved from Virginia to Indiana where he resided until 1850, when he moved to Illinois. There on November 8, 1862, his wife died. On May 11, 1863 he was married to Miss Rhoda Starry, who died May 11, 1867. In the spring of 1883, he came to Kansas, and lived here with his children until his death. He leaves five children. William Riner, Mrs. Jesse Drake, Mrs. Cyrus Pangborn, Mrs. R.R. Skeels, of Burr Oak, and Mrs. William (sic--Benjamin) Clayton of Yates Center, Kansas; four children having preceded him to the better land. He embraced religion in early life, ever true to his convictions, possessed of practical business sagacity and unbending integrity, performing all his duties with promptness, efficiency, and faithfulness. As long as his health permitted, he was regular in his attendance at church and always a liberal supporter of the Gospel and every good enterprise. To his family he was devoted, doing all he could to promote their happiness, not only in this life, but in the next. • His funeral took place at the M. E. Church in that place on Wednesday, May 6th at 2:00 p.m., and was largely attended. On Thursday, surviving relatives started with his remains for Onarga, Illinois, where they will be laid to rest beside his wife.
  6. 6. Mattie Lewis Grubbs Bel Hunt Lewis 1935 Hazel Lewis Parsons Jennifer Drake Nabors 1972 Daniel Riner and his children 1884 Ben & Mary Riner Hunt Clayton 1880
  7. 7. Colonies in North America, 1763-1775
  8. 8. Rand McNally Road Atlas, 1997 Berkeley County, West Virginia
  9. 9. Back Creek Valley, Berkeley County, Virginia , home of Jacob Riner, father of Daniel.
  10. 10. My first genealogy program was Family Tree Maker. After several years, I upgraded to Roots Magic: Daniel Riner’s page after several years of detailed research.
  11. 11. Daniel Riner: Roots Magic, pedigree
  12. 12. Daniel Riner page on Soon, I discovered Ancestry. Com and created the Riner Family Tree
  13. 13. Daniel Riner continued
  14. 14. Bottom of Daniel Riner page
  15. 15. Daniel Riner and children 1884 Found in an 1880’s family album from Burr Oak, Kansas Front L-R: Susannah Riner Skeels, Daniel Riner, Roseanna Riner Pangbourn. Back L-R: Mary Riner Hunt Clayton, William Riner, Hannah Riner Drake
  16. 16. Daniel & Mary Starry Riner migrated to Indiana in 1828. They accompanied her parents, Daniel & Hannah Smith Starry, and her younger four brothers and four sisters. The Starry family settled near Marshfield in Steuben Township [X], while the Riner land was in Mound Township [->].
  17. 17. Daniel & Mary Riner homestead in Warren County in 1828, until leaving in 1850. They lived in Mound Township [blue circle], while her parents, the Starrys, and siblings lived in Steuben Township [red circle]. Due to their land patents being so close to the Wabash River, it is probable that they traveled west on the Ohio River from Virginia and then north on the Wabash River.
  18. 18. 1920 plat book of Warren County, Indiana---SW quarter of the NW quarter of Section 28
  19. 19.
  20. 20. SW quarter of the NW quarter of Section 28
  21. 21. In 1850, Daniel and his family moved to Iroquois County, Illinois, about fifty miles from Warren County, Indiana.
  22. 22. Daniel 53, Mary 51, Elizabeth 20, Daniel 18, Roseanna 16, Mary 12, William 10, Susanne 8. Samuel 14.
  23. 23.,_Illinois
  24. 24. Douglas Township, Iroquois County, Illinois, about 1850
  25. 25. Daniel Riner 63, Mary 60, William 19, Susan 17, Elizabeth Riner Kennison 28, Lawrence 8, Susannah 5 [Elizabeth is D & M’s widowed daughter] Robert Skeels 18 [future husband of Susan Riner] Value of real estate: $8,600; Value of personal estate: $1,600
  26. 26. Robert Richland Skeels, [1842-1931] Robert Richland Skeels, [1842-1931] husband of Susannah Riner Skeels [1842-1892] R.R. Skeels wrote Daniel’s obituary
  27. 27. Daniel & Mary’s oldest son Jacob Riner and his wife Eliza Jane Talbot Riner, along with their children, [about 1866]. They left Onarga, Illinois in 1869 and pioneered in Labette County, Kansas. By 1874, a few years after this photo was taken, both parents were dead and the older children raised the younger ones. Calista Anne, the only daughter, was the grandmother of Liannia Victorine, who did much of the Riner research and kindly shared stacks of information with me. Will Riner, George Riner, Frank Riner, John Riner The surviving sons, prosperous businessmen in Protection, Comanche, Kansas; they owned the Ford garage.
  28. 28. Onarga, Illinois, Daniel & Mary’s home on the Illinois/Indiana map.
  29. 29. 1870 Census Daniel, age 74, a wealthy man, surrounded by his children, is living on his farm with daughter Hannah Drake and her husband Jesse Drake, along with daughter Elizabeth Riner Kiser and grandson Jacob Kiser. His nephew, John Grubb, son of his sister Margaret Riner Grubb, lives next door. John Grubb, was the great-great-grandfather of Homer Lewis Grubbs, son of Mattie Lewis Grubbs and first cousin of Jeanne Parsons Shafer and Lindell Parsons Drake. Living on the farm is Calvin Lewis with his first wife Matilda and daughter Hattie. Also living with them is David Lewis, brother of Calvin. Calvin’s sister Mary Lewis Riner and her husband William Riner are at the bottom of the page. Value of real estate--$19,000; Value of personal estate --$2,600. 1870 US Federal Census for the Town of Onarga in Iroquois County in the State of Illinois. Enumerated 27 July 1870. Post Office: Onarga. [Page 34]
  30. 30. Jake Kiser Jake Kiser grandson of Daniel and Mary Starry Riner 1864-1931 * Photo taken in Burr Oak, Kansas
  31. 31. History of Iroquois County
  32. 32. The 1880 Census at HeritageQuest online. Daniel, age 83, is living with his granddaughter Mattie Drake Duncan and her husband Frank. Next door is granddaughter Julia Riner Danforth and her husband Dana.
  33. 33. Heritage Quest Online
  34. 34. In 1880, Daniel is living on his farm, with his granddaughter and her husband, Frank and Mattie Drake Duncan. Another granddaughter and her husband, Dana and Julia Riner Danforth, are next door. Sadly, he is listed as a “boarder” on his own farm.
  35. 35. Jewell County, Kansas By 1880, five of Daniel’s children had migrated to Jewell County, Kansas. Due to his increasingly frail health, his family moved him to Kansas to be with his surviving children.
  36. 36. Kansas prairie
  37. 37. Jewell County Kansas, townships By 1880, Daniel Riner’s children, Hannah Riner Drake, Roseanna Riner Pangbourn, Mary Riner Clayton, Susannah Riner Skeels, and William Riner, all lived in Burr Oak or Limestone townships in Jewell County, Kansas.
  38. 38. Burr Oak Township Jewell County, Kansas Cal, Thomas, and William Lewis, and their cousin Thomas Miller, along with William Riner, all served in the 9th Illinois Calvary, Company M. Cal married Daniel Riner’s granddaughter, Hannah Belle Hunt Fry. The Lewis farms and the farms of the Riner children are lined up in Burr Oak Township, Jewell County, Kansas in 1880.
  39. 39. Barn and pasture of the Cal Lewis homestead, Burr Oak, Kansas in 2010. Cal married Daniel & Mary’s granddaughter Belle Hunt Fry in 1886. Their daughter, Hazel Lewis Parsons, was the mother of Jeanne Parsons Shafer and Lindell Parsons Drake. Pictures by Brooks Drake great-great-grandson of Daniel & Mary Riner 2010
  40. 40. The Riner Family Website created and managed by Justin Harter
  41. 41. Jeanne Shafer Apple Bedwell’s genealogy website.
  42. 42. Mary Starry Riner
  43. 43. The Berkeley County Historical Society has provided a wealth of information on the Riner family, and its allied families.
  44. 44. The Iroquois County Genealogical Society has been a source of excellent information. I’ve contributed some research to this site.
  45. 45. Daniel Riner’s journey: 1796-1885
  46. 46. Onarga, Iroquois County, Illinois
  47. 47. Daniel Riner 1796-1885
  48. 48. The Riner Family The Blue Ridge Mountains