Joe Reno better known as “Black Joe” was one of the first African Americans to come to Medina. Joe came to Medina in 1836, working through his childhood as a porter and a barber. In fact he worked in the Old American Hotel. We believe that Joe was born sometime between 1814 and 1816. Because Joe was a highly respected man of Medina, may people came to him with the stories of Medina and there own personal secretes knowing that Reno will never tell a soul. It is said that when he died, he died with much of Medina history and the unsolved stories of Medina.
On the 20th of June, 1872 Joe heard a gun shot behind the hotel in an alley. Reno being the man that he was went to go and check it out, brought with him a broom handle. Joe saw two young men in the alley about the age of nineteen making a huge scene. Reno told them to stop doing what they were doing and to go about there business. But as Joe was walking away Erastus Hitchcock threatened to kill Joe. Firing his gun, only twice Hitchcock second bullet hit Joe in his face. Joe was now paralyzed. He was taken back by some men that had been near by hoping to save his life. Joe lived for a couple of day after his injury, but unfortunately he died suffering.