Early Residents of Monrovia

Charles Taylor Renaker

Birthdate: May 21, 1884

Birthplace: Cynthiana, Kentucky

Occupation: Undertaker/Funeral Director

Properties Owned: 101 E. Lime Avenue334 S. Myrtle Ave.

Charles Taylor Renaker was born on May 21, 1884, in Cynthiana, Kentucky to John James and Sarah Elizabeth (Stewart) Renaker.  He was three years old when he came to Monrovia on September 15, 1887.  He lived in Monrovia all his life except for 1892-1894 when he lived on a ranch in Duarte that his family owned.  Renaker’s grandfather, John Harrison Renaker, had been a well-to-do farmer in Harrison County, Kentucky, and was able to well-educate his four children [the 1860 Federal Census shows John H. Renaker with real estate valued $10, 000 and a personal estate of $3,300 amount of money for those days in rural Kentucky].

Renaker, who went by his middle name of “Taylor”, attended Throop Polytechnic Institute and then joined his father in the funeral parlor and furniture business, running it with his younger brother Leslie after his father died in 1903. The family business was originally located at the southeast corner of Colorado and Myrtle (the Badeau Block) and then at 627 S. Myrtle. 

Taylor's father died in 1903 (Davis 197), and around that same time, the funeral parlor burned down.   Taylor Renaker constructed a new building, located at the northeast corner of South Myrtle and East Lime, the address being listed over the years as 101 E. Lime, 103 1/2 E. Lime (likely Mrs. J.J. Renaker's address as she lived upstairs over the mortuary), 107 E. Lime, and 109 E. Lime because of new structures being built.  By the 1930's, the address for the mortuary is 334 S. Myrtle and Lot 15 still has that address today  Though Mrs. Renaker continued to live above the mortuary, Taylor Renaker moved out when he married. 

Taylor Renaker married the widow of A.P. Seymour, Emily, around 1913 or 1914. The Seymours, along with their son, had come to Monrovia around 1905, and Mr. Seymour had acquired several pieces of property as well as establishing the Monrovia Publishing Company.  He built the house at 205 E. Hillcrest around 1907. Taylor and Emily lived in this house until around 1925 when they moved to another house at 555 Norumbega.

C.T. Renaker was extremely active in community activities. He was elected the first Exalted Ruler of the BPOE in 1921, he was on the Board of Trustees of the Baptist Church, he was a mason and a member of the Kiwanis Club.  In 1936, the year before he died, he was the general chairman for the Monrovia Day on its 50th anniversary. According to the book History of Monrovia (Davis 197), Taylor Renaker was a staunch promoter of Monrovia, which accounts for his membership in so many civic organizations.

Taylor Renaker's mother died in 1936, and he died on July 23, 1937. Charles Taylor Renaker, his wife, mother, and his father are all buried in the Live Oak Cemetery in Monrovia.  Taylor and Emily had no children together.

Sources:

  1.  Baker, Stephen.  Monrovia City Historian
  2. Davis, Charles F. ed.  Monrovia History.  Monrovia, California, 1957.
  3.  Wiley, John L.  History of Monrovia.  Press of Pasadena Star-News, 1927.