John had moved to Geneva in 1887 and had become well-respected member of the community. The Ohio native was a Civil War veteran. He served with the OVI 115 Co D for almost three years. He was a member of the Dr. John Porter GAR Post 83 in Geneva. This post was named in honor of Charles Porter's father. John was an active member and even served as the post's commandant. John would apply for a pension over twenty years after his service and he would receive it.
Charles and Gene Stratton-Porter though of John as a friend and one who they entrusted to care for their home, carriage house and their horses. Gene mentions John in "Moths of the Limberlost." After Raymond Miller brought her a female Modesta moth, she sent husband, Charles, and Brenner "drive with him to the Hirschy farm, and help secure a limb from one of the very few Lombardy poplars of this region."
After Charles and Gene sold the cabin to Dr. Corwin and Chloe Price in 1920, John stayed and worked for the Prices. He would pass away at the cabin on November 7 1921. He was attended by Dr. Corwin and Chloe, who was a nurse. John's obituary would be on page one of the "Geneva Herald" on November 10.
We are pleased that members of the Brenner family have visited the site and are happy with the interpretation of John.