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John Baldwin Arnold


Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/6/2001 at 10:33:55

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties – 1890
John Baldwin Arnold, a leading farmer of Union Township, Van Buren County, residing on Section 34, was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, January 5, 1827, his parents being George and Rachel Wright Arnold. The family is of English origin and was founded in America by the grandfather of our subject, who braved the dangers of an ocean voyage, crossing the Atlantic to American, and settled in Maryland in Colonial days. George Arnold was born near Frederickstown, that state, and on reaching manhood wedded Miss Wright who was also a native of Maryland. Her father was a native of Ireland but her mother’s people were of Scotch extraction. In an early day the parents of our subject made them a home in Fairfield County Ohio. They settled in the midst of a dense forest of maple and beeches, but notwithstanding the difficulty of the task a fine farm was there developed, upon which they resided until called to the home above. He died at the age of eighty-five years, strong in the faith of the Catholic Church and she was a strong believer in the Presbyterian doctrine, dying a member of that church, at the age of fifty-seven years. Their family numbered seven children but only two are now living—Mrs. Eliza Ewing who makes her home in Ohio and our subject.
John Baldwin Arnold was the fifth in order of birth in his father’s family. He was early inured to hard labor, being reared on a new farm in the midst of the forest, but the lessons of thrift and industry which he learned in his youth were never forgotten and have proved of incalculable benefit in later years. On reaching his majority his father began to pay him for his services on the farm at the rate of $9 per month, he having hitherto performed the same service without compensation as the return of a dutiful son for the care, which he had received in his childhood. His first business venture was accomplished after riding five hundred miles on horseback to Maryland, where he settled up the business pertaining to a small estate left his mother. On September 10, 1848, Mr. Arnold was joined in marriage with Miss Louisa Cupp, who the same hear had come to Van Buren County. She was born in Fairfield County Ohio, June 25, 1828, and the same year of his marriage Mr. Arnold came with his father-in-law to Iowa, where he spent one winter, but having no money with which to purchase land he returned to Ohio, where he rented a farm some seven years. In 1855, having in the meantime accumulated some capital, he once more came to Van Buren County and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, his present farm, or rather a portion of it, as its boundaries have been greatly extended by additional purchases. Only thirty-five acres had been placed under cultivation but in a short time the entire quarter section was yielding him a ready return for the labor bestowed upon it. As opportunity offered, he made other investments in lands and at one time was the owner of seven hundred acres, but a portion of this amount he has since given to his children. Two sons and six daughters were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Arnold as follows: Emma F., wife of Richard Brewer; George W. who died in infancy; Mary A. wife of A. Brumley; John L., a resident farmer of Union Township, Van Buren County; Rachel L., who died in infancy; Clara A., wife of Elias Hall; Alpha N., wife of Charles Warner; and Ada C. who is yet with her parents.
In political sentiment Mr. Arnold is a Democrat but not an active partisan. He would never accept any office although tendered some positions of honor and trust, preferring to devote his entire attention to the interests of his family and his business. He has been a successful stock-raiser and keeps on hand only the best grades. He was perhaps the first to introduce Cotswold sheep and Galloway cattle into the county and was the first to make an exhibit of the same at the county fair. For thirty-five years, Mr. Arnold has been a resident of Van Buren County, during which time he has never so much as testified in court, which fact shows that he has lived a peaceable and upright life as well as a busy one. Through his career has been pre-eminently prosperous, clouds of adversity have sometimes shut out the sunshine of fortune. One instance of this occurred on May 30, 1879, when, between eleven and twelve o’clock at night, a terrible cyclone swept away three of his barns, a corn crib, wagon shed, cattle sheds, one hundred and seventy-five apple trees and several miles of fence. It seemed to drop from the skies for his especial discomfiture as no one else was materially injured, whereas his loss was at least $2,000. Kind neighbors and friends volunteered their assistance in rebuilding the fences to protect the crops from the stock, for which Mr. Arnold still holds them in grateful remembrance. Various causes were suggested to explain why one person should thus be singled out as a victim. Some thought it was because Mr. Arnold is a Universalist in religious faith; others, scouting an idea so foolish, held it was a special visitation of Providence to punish him for being a Democrat. Disastrous as was the result it has long since been repaired.
I am not related, and am only copying this for the information of those who might find this person in their family.


Van Buren Biographies maintained by Rich Lowe.
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