Make your own free website on

[Previous] [Next] [Index]


William Arnold, third son of Moses and Rachel [Lynch] Arnold, was born in Newberry District, South Carolina, March 12, 1789. He was married in Warren county, Ohio, to Elizabeth Townsend, July 4, 1815. She died in Darke county, Ohio, December 5, 1825. The Townsends were from South Carolina. His second marriage was to Margaret Folkerth, September 18, 1828. She died February 23, 1867. The Folkerths were of German descent, claiming to have emigrated from Saxony.

William Arnold lived with his father in Newberry District, South Carolina, until their emigration to Ohio in the year 1808. With his brother, Isaac, he was engaged in the transportation, by teams, of the products of the country - principally cotton - to Charleston, which was about two hundred miles distant from their home. Returning they would bring with them salt and other articles which were imported at that place, and mention is made of negroes brought into the interior from slave ships just arrived. It is also stated that silver coin was brought back much the same as other merchandise.

His education was very limited, he could read and write very indifferently. Public schools were then unknown in that state and education was acquired from traveling teachers, who could occasionally be employed for a few weeks or months by parents who wished to give their children the rudiments of an education. He was, however, a close observer and listener and well informed on matters of general interest. In politics he as a Whig of decided convictions and denounced President Jackson's fiscal and financial policy and his proscriptive course in the Civil Service.

Visiting Darke county, Ohio, in the fall of 1815, preparatory to his removal thither in the ensuing spring, he describes the country on the Milton Road - Gen. Wayne's military road - as forbidding in the extreme and apparently worthless. This is now a fine and rich country. The land on which he settled was 160 acres, being in N.E., Section 11, township 11, range 2 east, two miles south of Greenville. He soon purchased 160 acres adjoining on the north side, between his home and Greenville. This, with other purchases of land adjacent, made his purchases about 456 acres. The cost of the first purchase was two dollars per acre at the Land Office at Cincinnati.

The first building erected was a cabin with puncheon or split log floor. About the year 1827 he built a two-story brick dwelling which was the first or one of the first brick houses in the county. This house was located very near the cabin previously built. With a good house, barns and other outbuildings, he was for the time accounted in prosperous circumstances.

The death of his first wife in the year 1825, and his second marriage in 1828, has already been mentioned. The death of his son, Isaac, occurred in 1836. This was the only death in his family for nearly thirty-one years.

In the fall of 1832, in company with Abraham Studebaker, his son, William Studebaker and John Townsend, he visited the Eel River country, north the Wabash, in Indiana, the lands there, heretofore held by the Indians, being soon to come into the market. In September of 1835, again visiting the Eel river country in company with Abraham Studebaker and John Townsend, he purchased four hundred acres of land on Eel River in Whitley county, which he afterwards gave to his sons, Noah and George. A purchase made about this time in Adams county, Indiana, of two hundred and forty acres increased his holdings of lands in Ohio and Indiana to nearly 1100 acres and practically out of debt, as he never incurred debts of any magnitude.

My first recollections of my father date from the year 1838, and I well remember the political excitement of 1840 and the visit of William Henry Harrison to the old fort at Greenville, and his speech on July 26, of that year. I also recollect that father, with other citizens, accompanied him over the grounds where some portion of the marks and remains of the old fort were still visible. Gen. Harrison, who, at the age of nineteen years, was with Gen. Wayne at the treaty of Greenville in 1795, on this occasion pointed out the plans and arrangements of the old fort and the various quarters.

The family, as heretofore mentioned, consisted of Delilah, born in Warren county, Ohio, November 9, 1813; was married to William Sandford Harper, April 5, 1832. She died April 1, 1874, at her home near Greenville, Ohio.

Noah Arnold, born in Warren county, Ohio, February 16, 1816; was married to Amelia Stingley, September 22, 1839. His second marriage to Mrs. Martha (Larimore) Birely occurred April 11, 1850. He lives at Jaysville, Darke county, Ohio.

George was born in Darke county, September 27, 1818; married Ann Maria Welty, November 10, 1840, and lives in Bluffton, Indiana.

John Arnold was born November 12, 1820, and was married to Angennette Fogger, December 19, 1844. His second marriage to Elmira Thomson occurred July 22, 1856. He died at South Whitley, Indiana, October 11, 1880.

Mary Arnold was born March 5, 1823, and married Rev. Elisha Hook, of the Methodist Episcopal church, June 10, 1845. She is now a widow, living at Tower Hill, Illinois.

William was born November 29, 1825, and married Mary Ann Stingley, June 25, 1846. He died at Grand Rapids, Wisconsin, in November, 1860. His widow is now living in Darke county, Ohio.

Isaac, the eldest child by the second marriage, died April 2, 1836, aged six years.

Maria A., born December 10, 1833; was married to S.V. Hopkins, November 3, 1858. She died October 2, 1887, at her home in North Manchester, Indiana

Henry Arnold was born March 11, 1836, and married Annie Cleveland, September 10, 1865. He lives in Huntington, Indiana.

Isaac N. Arnold was born April 5, 1840, and married Susan Loring, March 26, 1876, and lives in Huntington, Indiana.

Lydia Arnold, born April 5, 1844, was married to Jacob Worley Ford, February 29, 1876, and lives in Huntington, Indiana.

James T. Arnold was born April 5, 1844, and married Elizabeth Johnson, May 18, 1871. She died September 12, 1883. He married his second wife, Lettie Cleveland, July 14, 1886. He is now living in Chattanooga, Tennessee.


The times and circumstances from 1840 to 1850 are remembered with few incidents of special character, aside from the marriages and settlements of his family as above stated. Sometime during this period, however, my father had a severe attack of pleurisy, the only serious sickness I remember of him ever having. With this exception he maintained his usual good health and gave his somewhat large farming and live stock business close, careful and successful attention. On Sunday afternoon, March 23, 1840, while a slight rain was quietly falling, the house was struck by lightning, tearing out the west gable down to the second floor, doing much damage to the doors and the windows in the main room. Fortunately, none of the family were much injured. The house was again struck by lightning some years later with much less damage.

My father's counsel and influence were actively on the side of morality and sobriety. I remember well his frequent remarks against the intemperance then so common in Greenville, and I must believe that to this influence should be attributed in great part the fact that a family so numerous were all preserved from that baneful habit. He did not use tobacco in any form, nor did any of his family, except that two of his sons, after leaving home, acquired the habit of smoking. As a citizen my father took a warm interest in public affairs, but his tastes were averse to political life although when elected he served as County Commissioner from 1846 to 1848.

In those days the times were unfavorable to great business expansion. Railroads were as yet unknown in that locality, prices of produce were low and markets at a distance, Cincinnati and Dayton being the nearest available markets.

Local or National politics are not recalled with any items of specific significance. The "spoils system" in National politics, which my father always censured President Jackson for introducing, had now become the established rule. The question of "Slavery Extension" began in 1848 to agitate the minds of the people with fears of the civil war which in thirteen years became what is now known as the great Rebellion. The acquisition of California, in consequence of the Mexican War, the discovery of gold there and the era of railroads and telegraph which began during this decade, foretold the great business expansion and prosperity which followed in the next.

From 1850 to 1860 my father's strength of mind and body was unimpaired. His business of farming and stock-dealing continued without interruption and with success. His children by his first marriage had at the beginning of this period all settled away. Delilah and Noah had for many years been living on their farms in the neighborhood. George was a merchant at Columbia City, Whitley county, Indiana. John was living on his farm on Eel river in the same county. Mary was with her husband in the M.E. church itinerancy. William was a merchant at South Whitley, Whitley county, Indiana. But at this time the children by the second marriage were still at home. The events of this period, 1850 to 1860, are not recalled with many items of particular note. The completion in the year 1852 of the Greenville & Miami Railroad, which passed through my father's farm, was a great event and introduced a new order of business and society in that county. The general improvement of the people was a marked feature at this time. The good health of my father and family was continuous.

The period from 1860 to 1870 at its beginning shows only Isaac, James and Lydia still at home, the others having settled as follows: Jesse with John in the mercantile business at South Whitley, Indiana; Henry having joined them later. Maria, married, living near South Whitley, Indiana. Increasing years had not as yet affected father's health and strength, although he had become quite fleshy, a tendency inherited from his mother's family, the Lynches. He was about five feet nine inches in height, and his weight at this time about one hundred and seventy-five pounds. His even temperament, general good health and prosperous circumstances were favorable to the enjoyment of life.

The death of his wife, Margaret, at the age of 64 years, 1 month and 10 days, occurred February 23, 1867. Her health had not been quite good for some years, although the immediate cause of her death was pneumonia of short duration. The loss of his wife was severely felt. They had been married some thirty-nine years. Her activity and strength of mind and body and moral purpose had been of great support to him, and expressions of gloom and despondency, hitherto unusual, were noticed by those who were near him. His daughter, Lydia, who was the only one of the children still at home at the time of her mother's death, remained with her father until his death eight years afterward. After the death of his wife, my father continued to manage his business as heretofore. His health was good, without any organic ailment or difficulty, and in the month of January, 1875, he mounted his horse and rode to his neighbor's, George Studebaker, visiting and attending to his business affairs. His last sickness was of short duration and appeared to be a breaking down of the vital forces. He suffered but little and his death was sudden and apparently painless. He died February 12, 1875, aged eighty-six years, lacking one month. Some years before he made a will directing that his estate should be divided equally among his children, taking into account certain advancements that had been made, and appointed his son Noah, or, in case of his disability, Jesse, to execute the same. Noah settled up the business successfully and with satisfaction of all concerned.

The ten living children were in attendance at the funeral. The sermon was preached at Greenville, to a large congregation, by the Rev. R.D. Oldfield, a long-time friend of the family. His remains rest in the Martin cemetery by the side of his wives who had preceded him. A marble monument and headstones, with suitable inscriptions, mark the place of their interment.


William Arnold, Sr., was a remarkably successful farmer, having commenced poor and lived in a log cabin which was succeeded by a brick house in 1827, having built a frame barn in 1824. These buildings were very rare at this early day. About 1831 he bought an additional 160 acres adjoining his farm which he fenced for cattle pasture. He usually kept from sixty to a hundred head, generally buying in March from fifty to sixty head, giving them the benefit of grazing and selling in July or August. In this way he was enabled to gradually accumulate yearly. He was naturally adapted to farming and thought it the best and safest occupation that a man could follow, and advised all his sons to adhere to agricultural pursuits as being the most advantageous. His long experience and observation had enabled him to observe the numerous failures in the country of persons who thought they could easily become rich by trading and would convert their farm into a country store.

[Previous] [Next] [Index]