Zenas Crane Rennie,
born October 27, 1836 at Pittsfield, Massachusetts. His
occupation before the war is shown as that of a merchant and
on the breakout of the war, he became involved in military
recruiting duties in his home state.
At the Time of Rennie’s
enlistment on October 28, 1862, at twenty-six years of age, he
was recorded as being a residence of Pittsfield,
Massachusetts. On October 28, 1862, Rennie was elected
Captain of Company I, 49th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, a
nine month militia organization recruited at Pittsfield,
Massachusetts. He was mustered out on September 1, 1863 and
shortly after went to Providence, Rhode Island, where the
governor of the state appointed him as
Allotment Commissioner for the state of Rhode Island.
Rennie enlisted in the 49th
Massachusetts Infantry and was commissioned into Company I
as a Captain. Rennie fought for the Union in conflicts at
Baton Rogue, Louisiana in 1862. Rennie was mustered
out of service at Pittsfield, Massachusetts on September
1, 1863. After the War Zenus C.
Rennie lived in Springfield, Massachusetts for a time and
first appeared in the Providence Rhode Island Directory, 1865
edition, as a store cashier and clerk at 42 Weybosset Street;
home 215 Friendship. The Census of Rhode Island for June 1, 1865
records that his family was in fact located at that address
in Ward VI. It was recorded as household # 220 and included Zenath Rennie, age 28, born in New Hampshire and was then
serving as State Commissioner.
It further recorded Margaret
Rennie, age 25, born New Hampshire; Margaret Ross his wife,
age 65, born in New Hampshire and one Margaret Lenihan, age
18, a servant who was born in Ireland. He is at that time
listed as being a bank cashier. A son is also documented as
being born at 215 Friendship Street in Providence, Rhode
Island on Oct. 1, 1864; Harry Norwood Rennie, 2nd child. His
parents were recirded as Zeno C. Rennie, age 28, born
Pittsfield, Massachusetts & Margart J., age 29, born at Dover,
Another son, Edwin Smith Rennie
is documented as having died at 189 Frendship Street at 6 years of age, 4
months, 5 days; born at Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Rennie’s
father owned a patent medicine manufacturing business and
after leaving the military, Zenas went to work with him in the
MAGIC PAIN KILLING OIL”,
one of many patent medicines manufactured and sold in small bottles
during that period and often referred to by many as “Snake Oil”.
They also produced “RENNE'S NERVINE”,
but the Magic Pain Killing Oil was their major product.
Their caption was “It Works Like A Charm” and was
recommended for both medical and dental uses.
Advertisements listed ten different “ailments” it was
sure to cure. Rennie’s competition at the time was “A. D. Elmer's
Pain Killing Balm” with the caption “It Cures Like a Charm”. A. D.
Elmer of Northfield, Mass, like Zenas C. Rennie, manufactured the
elixir which promised to cure everything from diphtheria to humors,
from cramps to cricks in the back, from toothache to wounds by
glass, scythe and rusty nails. Renne
advertisements included billboards, large colourful metal signs that
were nailed to walls and fences and metamorphic cards that when
folded shows a man/woman in grim, crippled, painful condition and
after using Renne's they appear young and happy as shown when card
unfolded. There were also comical cartoon advertisements of a
salesman juggling bottles of the elixir with claims that it cured
all internal and external pains and was available for 25 cents, 50
cents or $1 a bottle. Then there was the hand bills that were passed
out to people on the street, stating it was “safe, clean and
delicious to use”.
It to claimed it was a
cure for “rheumatism, colic pains, cramps, dirrhcea, sour
stomach, headache, toothache, neuralgia and ectera; IT HAS NO
EQUAL”. On the flyers it stated it could be purchased at all
drug stores and country stores and bore the name of L.W.
Warner & Co., Proprietors. The business was sold in 1877 and
Zenas then went to work as an insurance agent in Springfield,
Massachusetts. In 1869, 1870 and 1871, the last entry,
Zenas C. Rennie is noted as an insurance agent in Providence,
Rhode Island on Weybosset Street; his home recorded as 146
A search of the State Census
index revealed no record of the family in Rhode Island in 1875,
indicating by that time they may have removed back to Massachusetts. Rennie’s wife passed away
in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1884, leaving him with his son
Harry, born in 1865 and Richard, born in 1873. Two years later
he married Mary Eunius
Warner. Records reveal that Zenas in 1886, arrived in Sydney,
New South Wales, Australia.Zenas applied
for a military pension while in Massachusetts, before migrating to
Australia, under pension Application number 1329207, Certificate
He came to Australia on
October 27, 1886, as an insurance agent in the city of Sydney,
for the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York. He was
retired in 1904 and returned to the US, settling in San
Francisco, California but an earthquake a couple of years later
destroyed his possessions. He then
decided to return to Australia and became a member of the Military
Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, as well as a Knight
Templar. Rennie passed away in Sydney but his legacy lives on in the
Rennie Trophy which is awarded at a Rowing Regatta on the Hawkesbury
River, each year.
Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (A.A.G.P.S)
was the forerunner, and the outcome of a meeting held at Gunsler’s
Café on new Circular Quay, on 30 March 1892. The schools
represented at the initial meeting were The King’s School, St
Ignatius’ College, St Joseph’s College, All Saints College, Bathurst
and the North Shore Grammar School (SCEGS).
On April 12,
1892 delegates from Sydney Grammar School, Newington College and
Cooerwull Academy joined those who attended the first meeting. At a
third meeting held on April 28, 1892, membership of the AAGPS was
clarified and St Patrick’s College Goulburn, St Stanislaus College
Bathurst and The Scots College joined those schools who attended the
earlier meetings. Sydney High School applied for membership in
March 1894 but were not admitted until February 14, 1906 and the
Armidale School entered the Association on May 7, 1897. It was then
that official rowing competition began; in 1893.
In June 1893,
Major Rennie came up with his silver trophy to be used for the major
event at the Sydney Rowing Regatta, which began that year and
continued until 1935, on the Parramatta River.
In 1936 the
race was transferred to the Nepean River and remained there until
1996, when it was moved to the Olympic course. From 1993 until 1909
the race was contested by four-oared boats and by eight-oared boats
since then. Since 1996 the race has been contested over 2000 meters;
all previous events were over a mile and a half, except in 1946 and
1947 when the race was over a mile and a quarter. Trophies
were allotted to winners of the rowing competition with 1st VIII in
1910 and onwards, the original “Major Rennie Trophy”, presented by
Rennie himself as a prize to the regatta in 1894 that has since
become known as the “Head of the River”. Until 1910 the Major
Rennie Trophy, donated in 1894, was awarded for the First Four race
there being no First Eight race until 1910.
“Renne's Magic Pain Killing Oil”, one of many
patent medicines manufactured and sold and often referred to as
RENNE'S NERVINE (also produced by Zenas C.
Trading Card inscriptiom: Card # BAE01;
Advertises: Renne's Pain Killing Magic Oil; Caption: It Works
Like A Charm;
Categories: Before and After, Medical &
Dental; Printer: H. & C. Koevoets, N.Y.; Reverse: Lists 10
ailments cured by Renne's Pain Killing Magic Oil.; Size: 5-7/16"
x 3-9/16"; Rare; Salesman is selling bottles of the product to
sick people who walk out the door cured. An unpaneled with &
Renne's Pain Killing Magic Oil utilized the slogan
it Works Like A Charm. The twin to this bottle
shape, height, and appearance is A. D. Elmer's Pain Killing Balm, “It
Cures Like A Charm”.
bottle is ten times harder to find and is thought to be the elder
brother of the two. A. D. Elmer of Northfield, Mass, like Zenas C.
Rennie, manufactured the elixir which promised to cure everything from
diphtheria to humors, from cramps to cricks in the back, from
toothache to wounds by glass, scythe and rusty nails.
Metamorphic card that when folded shows man/woman
in grim, crippled, painful condition. After using Renne's they appear
young and happy as shown when card unfolded.
Zenas Crane Rennie died on April 24, 1923 in
New South Wales, Australia and was buried
in the South Head Cemetery, Waverly, New
South Wales, Australia in allotment 84, section
Zenus Rennie donated the original
“Major Rennie Trophy” as a prize in 1894 to the regatta
that has since become known as the “Head of
George Maple, Department of Mass, SUV
Historical Data Systems, Inc
Carlson, Reference Archivist
“Life With the
49th Massachusetts Volunteers”, Henry T. Johns, Washington,
Ramsey & Bisbee,1890
Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Civil War
Register of the
Commandery of the State of Massachusetts MOLLUS
History of MOLLUS