The USGenWeb Project
Benton County, IAGenWeb Project
The IAGenWeb Project

History of Benton County, Iowa
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1910; Luther B. Hill, Ed.

Pages 565-566

WILLIAM ARNOLD, who has been retired from active business since 1893, is a highly respected and intelligent citizen of Vinton who, for many years, was engaged in the stone business in the vicinity. Long before entering business as a quarryman he followed his trade as a stonemason and a brick layer, and his unsullied record is therefore particularly identified with the actual upbuilding of the community in which he has resided for more than fifty-two years.

Mr. Arnold is a native of England, born in Langby, Monmouthshire, on the 10th of December, 1826, son of James and Rachel (Edwards) Arnold, who both died in the mother country. His father was a well-to-do citizen, and spent a long period of his life as care taker of a large estate owned by a member of the British parliament. The boy's education was limited, but his natural thirst for knowledge and his early ambition for general self-improvement have been constant forces in his long life; so that, despite his lack of boyhood advantages, his persistent reading of history and other substantial literature has given him a wide range of information. He has a fine library of his favorite works; is a subscriber to standard magazines, and is remarkably well posted both on current and historical topics. In 1847, when of age, he married Miss Hannah Robbins, the daughter of a modest but thrifty couple, William and Nancy Robbins. She was born on the 21st of August, 1826, and was therefore a few months his senior. Ten years after his marriage, on the 31st of May, 1857, Mr. and Mrs. Arnold came to Vinton, with scant means but sturdy purpose, and lived together in harmony and love until the death of the faithful wife on March 13, 1909. No children had been born to contribute to their happiness, although their adopted daughter Florence, whom they fostered in their household from the age of ten years until she married, was ever a blessing to them. She is now the wife of a Mr. Heal, resides at Fort Scott, Kansas, and is the mother of several children.

When Mr. Arnold settled at Vinton he was thirty-one years of age. As stated, he first followed his trade as stonemason and brick layer for many years, and then commenced to operate a stone quarry just east of the cemetery, employing several men and shipping his product to various neighboring towns. He was long associated with Leonard Reed and Michael Donlin, skilled mechanics, and the business, which continued until 1893, was a decided success. Mr. Arnold lives in a comfortable residence on South Main street which has been his home for more than thirty years. He is a member of the Presbyterian church, having faithfully supported the local society since 1858. As to his politics, on the whole he may be called an old-time Republican, although the broad and liberal tendency of his mind has often prompted him to independence in views and action.

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