Jonathan Rodgers Reinoehl


Written by Shirley Dunn. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”


Jonathan was one of the early pioneer residents of Starkville, and Sopris, Co. He was born November 8, 1841, in Tulpehocken Township, Berks County. Pa. Joseph and Sarah were the parents of : John Henry, Isabella, Sarah, Catherine Gushard, William Franklin, Albert, and Hiram. Five of his family, and his mother, moved westward to Naperville, IL. after his parents separated. Joseph was an Evangelical Lutheran and Sarah, a Dunkard. Joseph moved to Wisconsin and remarried.

Jonathan was baptized into Christ Lutheran Church at Stouchsburg, PA. November 8, 1842. He started to work in the mines in Schuylkill County PA. when he was only eight years of age at $1.25 per week. He attended school sporadically. At the age of seventeen he attended a few miles outside of Naperville, IL. where Jack Gross, a german schoolmaster taught. One day he licked the schoolmaster which ended his schooling. He was 5’8″ tall, blue eyes, dark hair and light complexion.

In Pennsylvania he was an inside supt. at the colliery at Donaldson, Schuylkill, County PA. in later years. He served in the Union Army Rebellion, and according to his Civil War Pension; he was a Private Colonel, 1st PA. Calvary; and Private Company G, 2nd PA. Provisional Calvary and 48th Regiment Emergency Troops, Lebanon, PA. Company B. He was disabled by rheumatism, a scalp wound and being thrown from a horse. He left home early, but returned at much urging, to find his family ill with dyspepsia. Baby Albert died after his arrival. He was given the middle initial of W., but adopted the Rodgers as a middle name after he went West. He married Catherine Heffelfinger June 26, 1862, and they were the parents of nine children: Franklin, Ben, Theodore, Amanda, Louisa, John Henry, Sarah, Agnes, and Molly.

They lived in Lower Rausch Creek, after Jonathan was born. His uncle Joseph lived with them. Four of their children were buried in Temont, Schuylkill County, PA. He moved to Tremont, PA. from Mount Aetna, Myerstown 1866. In February 1885, June, he moved to Iowa, Kansas, and to Colorado January 1886. They lived at Jerryville, Co. and owned a livery stable. At one time a robbery was committed, and his family bible was stolen.

Their first store in Sopris was named “The Live and Let Live, Cash Store, J.R. Reinoehl, Proprietor.” The second was Reinoehl Grocery. His brothers moved to various places, other than Colorado. John to Iowa, Isabella to Paris , Texas, Catherine to Missouri, Bill to Iowa, Hiram to California. He never met his brother Hiram’s family.

Catherine died October 15, 1918, of kidney disease. Buried in the IOOf Cemetery in Trinidad, CO. A marker was recently (1988) erected on her grave by her three great grand children: Shirley Dunn, Logen, Utah; Bill Brown, La Mesa, California; and Don Wigal, Prescott, Arizona.

Jonathan belonged to the Swatara Lodge #267, AFrand AM of Tremont, PA. and Oriental Commandandery No. 18, Knights of Templar of Trinidad. Also the GAR and Knights of Pythias.

He married again November 22, 1919 to Lenora Lauer of Nashville, IL. She died June 13, 1929 in Kansas City, Kansas. Jonathan died August 4, 1924 in Sopris, CO. at age 83 after a long illness. His funeral was conducted by the Masonic Lodge at the GAR Section of the Masonic Cemetery, Trinidad, CO.

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