Tombstone Tuesday – October 30, 2018 – Herman Rehnen


Herman Rehnen was the son of Ulrick and Mary Ann (Hutker) Rehnen. He was born in 1856 in Indiana. Ulrick and Mary Ann had eight children; Bernard (1847), Henry (1849), Maria (1851 – 1855), Joseph (1853-1856), Herman (1856), Johann (1858-1860), Martin (1862), Elizabeth(1866).

In the 1870 Federal Census, Herman is a 14 year old who is still attending school and living at home with his parents in the Third Ward of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He can also be found in several Fort Wayne City Directory entries for the years of 1877, and 1879. In the 1880 Census, Herman is a Saloon Keeper in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is single and living alone on West Main Street. The census was recorded on October 25, 1880.

One hundred and thirty-eight years ago today, on October 30, 1880, Herman died. It was five days after being recorded in the 1880 Federal Census and three days before the November 2, 1880 presidential election between James A. Garfield and Winfield S. Hancock. Based on the newspaper article quoted below, it appears that Herman was a Hancock supporter. It make me think that there must have been lively debates about the presidential race in the saloon which Herman ran.

In the Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel on November 3, 1880, there was the following article about Herman’s Funeral.

Gentlemen Everyone

It is a pleasant note amid the animosities engendered by the campaign, the harmony existing between the democratic and republican organizations of this city. It has been demonstrated that blood is thicker than water, and that brotherly love far outshines any jealousies that a political campaign may have cause. The funeral of Herman Rehnen, yesterday afternoon was a piece of genuine sorrow rarely witnessed and never equaled. The deceased was captain of the Hancock and English guards, but was well known among the members of the Garfield’s Legion, who attended the funeral in a body, as in his own Party ranks. And be it said to the credit of those composing the followers of General Garfield may it rebound to their credit as gentlemen and Politicians, that they occupied a position in the procession which no discrimination selected, which no motives but esteem and love for a departed friend made valuable and which they filled with gentlemanly deportment characteristic of such an occasion General Garfield may be proud of such followers, Fort Wayne of such citizens.

Herman is buried in the Rehnen Family plot in the Catholic Cemetery in Fort Wayne, Indiana according to the cemetery records. No tombstone is available.

Henry Rehnen2

Herman, just so you know, nothing much has changed in politics. Elections are still very hot topics with the Democrats and the Republicans severely divided along party lines. While we are not voting on a president this year, the election is no less heated!

Rest in peace. Herman!

Love, Jan

Herman was the Brother-in-law to my 2nd Grand Aunt. I can’t help but wonder why a seemingly health 25 year old saloon keeper died. Was it an act of violence?  There may be an interesting story here. I just might have to buy his death certificate. I sure wish Indiana and some of the other states would provide death certificates online like the state of Michigan does.

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