A.E. Renard, of the firm of Choquette & Renard, furniture dealers, and also a member of Renard Brothers' New York Grocery, is a native of France, born near Paris in 1867. He is a son of John B. and Zella (Neveux) Renard, also natives of France. Mr. Renard's father was a telegraph dispatcher; he emigrated to Saline county, Kansas, in 1871, where the family resided until 1895, when they came to Concordia, since which time he has lived a retired life. John B. Renard served seven years in the army of France as a musician, which took him over various parts of Africa, South America and the West India Islands. He visited his native country in 1889 and again, accompanied by his wife, in 1898. The venerable father of the Renard brothers, when a soldier with the French army, was stationed from 1851-4 at St. Pierre, the seaport recently destroyed by the eruption of Mount Pelee. He, together with other soldiers of his company, climbed to the summit and reported finding the ground hot like an oven. Many of the company could not reach the top and fell back overcome with the intense heat. With this experience Mr. Renard naturally feels much interest in the volcanic eruption of Mount Pelee.
A.E. Renard's paternal grandparents came to America in 1851 and were thirty-two days crossing the water. They settled in Indianapolis, Indiana, and in 1878 came to Kansas, where they both died in 1885, at the age of eighty-four years. Mr. Renard, the subject of this sketch, was educated at the Salina Normal School, where he took a commercial course and graduated in 1891. In his early life he worked on his father's farm (which he still retains), but after finishing school clerked two years in a grocery store and then accepted the position of cashier in the Ellsworth County Bank, where he remained three years. In 1895 he came to Concordia, forming a partnership with his two brothers, Aurore and Jule V., and established the popular grocery known as the New York Grocery. They carry one of the largest stocks in the city and control, in connection with this business, the entire ice trade in the city, doing a business of six thousand dollars annually in the ice trade, and from twenty-five thousand to thirty thousand dollars in the grocery, and employ nine men.
In 1898 the Renard brothers formed a partnership with N.J. Choquette in the furniture business, with a capital stock of about four thousand dollars. They have, in connection, an undertaking department and make a specialty of this line. Mr. Renard is a licensed embalmer of the state of Kansas, a student of the Champion Embalming College of Kansas City. Although a comparatively new firm, they do an annual business of from twenty thousand to thirty thousand dollars and are steadily increasing.
A.E. Renard is one of four sons: Aurore, Jule V. and Emile, the latter living on a farm in Saline county, Kansas. The Renard brothers own eight hundred acres of fine bottom land in the heart of the wheat belt in Saline county and raise on an average eight thousand bushels annually.
Mr. Renard was married in 1895 to Virginia Serrault, who was born and reared on a farm in Saline county, Kansas. To this union three children have been born, viz: Lewis, the eldest child, and a pair of twins, a boy and girl, Marcellus and Marcella, aged two years. Mr. Renard is something of an inventive genius; he has patented an extensible iron bedstead, which can be changed from three-quarter to full size, and is destined to become a popular piece of furniture adapted to small rooms, etc. He has patented it in the United States and has applied for same in Canada and Belgium. He has refused twenty thousand dollars for the right in the United States. He is also patenting a buckle and a revolver. Mr. Burger is interested in the latter. The gun will shoot sixteen shots and has no cylinder. A magazine is supplied instead and acts by motion of the trigger throwing the cartridge into the magazine.
Mr. Renard is a member of various lodges and insurance companies, among them the Woodmen of the World, Catholic Foresters, Home Forum, Modern Tontines, has been past commander of the Maccabees and has been through most of the chairs of the orders of which he is a member. Politically he is a Populist, though not radical in politics. Himself and family are members of the Catholic church, of which he is a trustee. Mr. Renard is considered one of the reliable business men of Concordia, being industrious, enterprising and public spirited. In the summer of 1902 the Renard Brothers purchased the interest of N.J. Choquette and continue business at the same place.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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