Among the prominent farmers of Macoupin County none has been more successful in his life vocation than has our subject, whose name heads this sketch. He was born in Shipman township, Macoupin County, Illinois, in 1850, and is a son of William S. and Martha (Haycraft) Reno.
William S. Reno was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1810, and came to Illinois about 1843, locating in Shipman township, Macoupin County, in the neighborhood where our subject now lives. He purchased a tract of school property and immediately began the cultivation of the land. Mr. Reno became widely known throughout the county as an honest and upright citizen and became the friend of everyone who came in contact with him. Mr. Reno was married to Martha Haycraft in Kentucky, February 22, 1832, and ten years later removed to Illinois. Mrs. Reno was born in Hardin County, Kentucky, September 29, 1815. They were the parents of six children, namely: Beauford; Lucy, who died at the age of 18 years; Samuel H., who died in Kansas in September, 1890; Mary Elizabeth, who married William Forwood; James William, the subject of this sketch, and Granville G. Mr. Reno died in 1882 while in his 72nd year.
James William Reno received his education in Shipman township, Macoupin County, and worked on his father's farm until 27 years of age, when he married Mary Jane Mitchell, a daughter of William W. Mitchell, a prominent farmer of Shipman township who up to the time of his death resided on a farm in section 16. Mr. Mitchell died in 1885, leaving his wife and four children, of whom our subject's wife was the youngest. At the death of Mr. Mitchell our subject purchased the former's farm of 160 acres, which he has since cultivated. The mother of our subject's wife died in 1897 while residing with Mr. Reno. Mr. Reno and wife are the parents of seven children, namely: Sankey, born August 30, 1878, who married Elizabeth Travers, a daughter of Joseph Travers, a prominent farmer of Shipman township; Frederick, born March 13, 1880; Eulalia, born November 1, 1881; Rosa, born March 19, 1883; William Sidney, born May 30, 1885; Newton, born March 7, 1888, and Paul, born September 1, 1890. Mr. Reno purchased his first farm in partnership with his brother in 1877. In 1892 when the partnership was dissolved, they were the owners of 440 acres of finely tilled soil in Shipman township. When they dissolved partnership, our subject took as his interest an 80-acre farm in section 16, where he now resides, and 140 acres in section 9. Mr. Reno is engaged in general farming and produces some of the best grain produced in his county.
Mr. Reno's political views are Democratic. He has never aspired to any local office and in voting picks his candidates carefully. In fraternal circles he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and the Mutual Protective League. Religiously he is a member of the Baptist Church.