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JAMES STUART ARNOLD
Notwithstanding my announced determination to omit my own biography, leaving it to be supplied by one of you, I find that the story will perhaps be incomplete, unless I set down, for the record, the salient points of my rather prosaic, though somewhat variegated career. I warn you in advance that I am not going to tell many anecdotes. There are two reasons for this decision: 1. I am not going to assist the evil of my life to live after me, and; 2. Too many jokes upon myself have been told by me, when no one else knew them, only to have come back to plague me, as evidence of my reckless carelessness or lack of judgment. So, if you will forgive me, I will set down the dates of my journey through life, leaving it to you to fill in the glamorous details.
I was born November 5, 1878, but I do not remember much about that. My earliest recollection, that can be tied into the history of the times, is the death of President Garfield, which came in September 1881, when I was about two months short of three, although I believe I have recorded elsewhere that I distinctly remember moving up to the "new house" in November of that year, when I was barely three.
My mother died September 15, 1883 and we moved from Monpelier to Bluffton in the spring of 1884. It seemed like I had lived in Bluffton a long time but it was less than three years, as we moved Chattanooga in December of 1886, when I was just past eight. I lived in Chattanooga from 1886 until the fall of 1895, when I went to college (P.M.C.). I came home only for the summer, I always feel that I really left in 1895, although, technically, Chattanooga was still my home town until I graduated in 1899.
My career at P.M.C. was eminently creditable, I suppose. If I may brag a little, I would record that when I started there, I measured 4'11" in height and weighed 112 lbs., yet I was placed in the battalion immediately, despite the 5'3" height requirement; stood first in my class for all four years, receiving an honor star each year (the fourth one in the history of the little college to do so) and was successively ranking corporal of my class, sergeant major, and first captain, even though I never did grow up. I even played two years on the foot-ball team, which was pretty good for a little fellow.
After graduating, in June 1899, my father blew me a little vacation in Indiana and, while there, I received an offer of a job on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad in New Mexico. It wasn't much of a job, paying only $30 per month, against living expenses of $1 per day - figure it out for yourself - and I wasn't very well satisfied, so I left the territory and came back to Indiana in a couple of months.
I landed in Huntington in October 1899 and went to work for Charles Arnold, in the store. Shortly after I arrived, Henry Cleveland (brother of my step-mother), who kept the books, went crazy. He had experimented with alcohol again, after taking the Keely Cure, with the results as set forth in the section of this story entitled "The Three Roberts". When he was translated to a haven of refuge, I took over his job. There has always been some lingering question in my mind, whether to blame Dr. Keely and the liquor for his condition or to blame the job that he had. The only book they had was a big one - about as big as I could lift - in which they wrote down in detail whatever the customers bought and did not pay for. They called it a ledger; it was the only record of their business, except a daily totaling of sales, that they kept. I was barely twenty-one at the time and had lots of confidence, so I boldly opened up a set of double entry books and got them started right.
I remained in Huntington until the close of 1900. I met your mother there and, when I left there for a job on the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf Railroad in Indian Territory, she was about the only thing in the town that I seemed to care much about seeing again. That feeling grew stronger as I dwelled in the territories.
I arrived in Indian Territory in January 1901, as Chainman at $50 per month. Soon I was conceited enough to bump the big boss for a promotion to the job of Instrumentman and was sent to the old Cheyenne Country in the extreme western part of Oklahoma, almost to the Texas Line. I stayed there until late in the fall (1901) and then, my ambition spurring me on to the belief that I was too good for Instrumentman, I grabbed off a job as Resident Engineer on the St. Louis & San Francisco, in the Chickasaw nation of Indian Territory, where I worked through the winter of 1901-1902. My next job was that of Resident Engineer on the A.T. & S. Fe again, in what we called then the Cherokee Strip, up in Northern Oklahoma, just where the Arkansas River comes through from Kansas. I finished that job in the early autumn of 1902 and by that time I had a bank roll of $1,000, so I decided to take a little vacation. I went back to Indiana, fell victim to your mother's charm and did not return to the territories.
In November 1902, after a visit home in Chattanooga, I went to work for the New Soddy Coal Co. at Soddy, Tennessee, as Assistant Engineer. I remained there for a little over a year, during which time (March 4, 1903, in Huntington, Ind.) your mother and I were married. We set up housekeeping in a little cottage in Soddy, the rent of which was $5.00 per month.
In the spring of 1904, I took a job opening up a prospective coal field and building a railroad for C.E. James, a few miles up the railroad from Soddy - it is now called Bakewell. I stayed in Retor until July 1905, when your mother and I discovered, almost accidentally, that we neither of us liked it in the South, so I pulled out one day and came up East, looking for a job.
I finally caught up with one as Assistant Engineer on the Lehigh Valley at Sayre, Pa. I was in Sayre not quite two years, when I was transferred (April 1907) to Jersey City to be in charge of the construction of the big yard at Black Tom (where the explosion was in 1916). When this job was about completed, I was made Assistant Engineer at Jersey City and, in November 1907, they created a new division covering New York Harbor Terminals and I was made Division Engineer. I was on this job until June 1910, when I was in a measure demoted to Assistant Engineer in the office of the Engineer of Maintenance of Way, in Bethlehem, Pa., where I stayed only a month before leaving to accept a job with the State of New Jersey - The Railroad and Canal Survey.
I was not a striking success as a railroad man. I could do the technical work all right and had no difficulty advancing but, when I got up far enough to be in the executive class, I found that I wasn't tough enough as a scrapper to make a real success. As a result, I have never wasted much time cussing out the officials for easing me out.
I had a good time on the State job, walking across the state of New Jersey from Phillipsburgh to Jersey City, measuring up everything on the Lehigh Valley. I was sunburned black as a native of the tropics. The work was planned to be finished by April 1, 1911, so I bought a farm down near Hightstown, with the intention of quitting the engineering business. The job hung over a few months and I was persuaded (largely by money) to stay with the State job until July 1st; it was then before I was fully settled on the farm, although we moved there April 1st.
I was on the farm nearly eight years, the period including the first world war. I worked harder, learned more, and was in better health than I ever was any where else. I interrupted the farm work long enough to spend about four months doing some appraisal work in Buffalo, in the Fall and Winter of 1916-17, which came as a welcome relief. When the war was drawing to the close, I offered my services and was ordered to Washington for examination in October 1818. Old Kaiser Bill must have heard I was coming for he promptly closed up shop and quit, so Uncle Sam didn't really need me after all. I finally grew tired of the farm, the combination of the hard work, due to lack of help in 1918, together with your mother's serious illness that year, caused me to grow so dissatisfied that I sold the place and moved to Hightstown, just about the time your mother began to get well.
Early in 1919, I decided that I ought to be able to find a job for myself in Wall Street, so I planned and made the attack. I finally landed a job with Bankers Trust Company, in the Statistical Department, and, it has always seemed, discovered the work that I should have been in all my life. How true that statement really is and how much of what success I have had as an economist and security analyst is attributable to the fact that I had had quite a variety of business experience before I took it up, I will never be able to say, of course, but it has always seemed to me that, if I had gone into business immediately after graduating from College in 1899, instead of when I was past forty, I might have really gotten somewhere. Who can tell?
I was with Banker Trust Company until July of 1922, when I went to Lehman Brothers. Shortly after making this change, we moved to Hasbrouck Heights. I was with Lehman Brothers two years, spent another year and a half knocking around with one or two other houses, they have passed away now, and June 1, 1926, went to work for Kuhn, Loeb & Co., where I have been ever since. In July 1932, I was made head of the Statistical Department, where I remained for ten years, after which, July 1942, I was placed on a consulting basis and have had a pretty easy time of it since.
The calendar says that the afternoon shadows are gathering and that I have only a comparatively few years of active business life remaining. Somehow, I do not fully realize it - can't actually believe it, in fact - and begin to grow dissatisfied with myself and fall to wondering just what particular characteristics, or lack thereof, have prevented me from making a real success of life; then I look at my three boys and am prepared to admit that they may have been my mission. Scientists say that a hen is just an elaborate machine designed to manufacture another egg, so there may be something in that latter thought of mine after all.
James Stuart Arnold
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