George Van Renschler was born in 1839 in Germany, the son of Jacob (b. 1810) and Catherine (b. 1816).
George’s family immigrated to the United States sometime before their twin sons Jacob and John were born in 1842). By 1850 George , the eldest, was attending school with his younger siblings and living with his family in Bleecker, Fulton County, New York. Catherine remarried one Jacob Miller (born in France in 1811), and by 1860 George was working as a laborer and living with family and step-family in Bleecker, Fulton County, New York. (George Vanderpool was also working and living in Bleecker in 1860; Vanderpool would serve in the Old Third with George and in fact they were good friends, with Vanderpool corresponding with Van Renschler’s sister, presumably Mary.) Also living with the Millers were twins Jacob and John “Rennselear (b. 1842 in New York), sister Mary (b. 1844 in New York, brother William (b. 1845 in New York and sister Amelia (b. 1847 in New York), as well as numerous Miller children.
By the time the war broke out George was probably living and working in Muskegon, Muskegon County. (In fact, he may have followed George Vanderpool out to western Michigan.)
He stood 5’10” with brown eyes, light hair and a fair complexion and was a 22-year-old teamster probably living in Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company H on May 6, 1861. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers,” was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.
Interestingly, George did not join Company C, which was made up largely of German and dutch immigrants from the Grand Rapdis area.) He was discharged on July 29, 1861, at Arlington Heights, Virginia, for a deformity of the right foot previous to enlistment.
George was a close friend of George Vanderpool also of Company H (they were both from Fulton County, New York), and Vanderpool often wrote to Van Renschler’s sister. Van Renschler even assigned to Vanderpool the authority to receive his pay and forward it on to him after he was discharged.
It is likely that Van Renschler returned to New York following his discharge, where he reentered the service in Company E, 115th New York Infantry on August 14, 1862, at Bleecker, Fulton County, New York for 3 years. He was mustered as Corporal on August 15, taken prisoner on September 15 and paroled the following day at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. He was promoted to First Sergeant on November 1, and wounded in action on February 20, 1864, at Olustee, Florida, returned to duty and wounded again on August 16, 1864. George was mustered out on June 17, 1865 in Raleigh, North Carolina. He apparently also served in Company F, Seventh New York cavalry.
In 1865 George applied for and received a pension for his service in the New York regiments (no. 54027).
He married Prussian Louisa (b. 1848), and they had at least one child, a son Eugene G. (b. 1868).
By 1870 George and his family were living in Johnstown, Fulton County, New York.
George died on November 30, 1870, in Gloversville, Fulton County, New York and was buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery (his brother Jacob is also buried in Prospect Hill).
In 1874 his widow Louisa, who had remarried to a Mr. Beach, was listed as the guardian for a minor child of George’s when she applied for and received a pension for a minor child (no. 445114). In 1879 she applied for and received a widow’s pension (no. 445113).