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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published by Biographical Review Publishing Company in 1896.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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CHARLES RANNENBERG, a retired business man of South Hadley Falls, Hampshire County, Mass., was born in Einbeck, Hanover, Germany, January 5, 1824, son of Henry and Dora T. (Sharfenberg) Rannenberg. Mr. Rannenberg’s father was a stone mason, and followed that occupation for many years. He assisted in constructing the bridge which connects Einbeck with Kupfenthal, and during his latter years was an overseer. He died April 24, 1860. He was an intelligent and well-known man, highly respected in his community. Henry Rannenberg’s wife, who died November 22, 1889, was the mother of four children, as follows: Hammond, who is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Dane County, Wisconsin; Charles, the subject of this sketch; Dora T., who married and resides in Einbeck; and William, who is an overseer in a cutlery factory in Shelburne Falls, Mass.

Charles Rannenberg received his education in the schools of Germany, and attended a business college. He acquired the trade of a weaver, and at the age of twenty-five years emigrated to the United States, first settling in Thompsonville, Conn., where he remained for one year. He came to South Hadley Falls when the Glasgow Mills were opened, and was first employed as a section hand, but rose step by step from one position to another, until he was appointed superintendent, a post which he resigned in 1876, after having been in the company’s employ for over twenty-seven years. Mr. Rannenberg then engaged in the manufacture of brick, in which he enjoyed a merited prosperity until 1882, when he sold his enterprise to the Lander Brothers, of Holyoke, and practically retired from active business pursuits. He has invested extensively in real estate, both in South Hadley Falls and Holyoke, and has erected several houses, his speculations in this direction having been productive of satisfactory financial results. Mr. Rannenberg owes his success in life to the spirit of energy and perseverance which form the principal elements in his character, and were the only capital he possessed. In politics he has always voted with the Republican party, and although well qualified to hold office has never aspired to political honors.

On November 14, 1848, Mr. Rannenberg was united in marriage with Amelia Winter. She was born in Einbeck, Germany, January 24, 1829, daughter of Frederick and Margaret Winter, the former of whom was a German military officer, and his wife was of English ancestry. They died in Germany. Mr. and Mrs. Rannenberg have two children, namely: Charles W., who married Clara Rockwood, and resides in Springfield, Mass., where he is employed as a travelling salesman by the Moody Provision Company; and Matilda, wife of Charles Axman, a book-binder in Holyoke, who resides in South Hadley Falls. Mr. and Mrs. Rannenberg were members of the Lutheran Church in Germany, but have never united with any religious society in the United States. Their children attend the Congregational church.

An excellent likeness* of Mr. Rannenberg appears in connection with the foregoing sketch.

*Editor's note: Portrait was included in the original printed book.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published in 1896. 

View additional Hampshire County, Massachusetts family biographies here: Hampshire County, Massachusetts Biographies

View a map of 1901 Hampshire County, Massachusetts here: Hampshire County Massachusetts Map

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