IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

Thomas Arnold
Mendon Twp.

Thomas Arnold, one of the enterprising business men of McGregor, was born in the town of Coventry, Kent County, R.I., in the year 1815. When seventeen years of age he was apprenticed to a manufacturer of cotton machinery and remained, serving four years, to the age of twenty-one, passing through each and every department in the building of cotton machinery. The panic of 1837 proved fatal to manufacturing business. He then engaged as clerk in a mercantile house, and after a year's service was received as partner, the firm name then being Wm. C. Ames & Co. In 1840 he severed connection with the firm and entered the services of a machine manufacturing company in Providence, taking charge of their business, working fifty or sixty men. He remained in this position till and up to the time of the so-called "Dorr War," and espousing the cause of the Dorr party he was discharged. He then engaged in mercantile business in the city of Providence, R. I., for a few years. Mr. Arnold next originated a company and engaged in manufacture of steam and gas fittings and for the construction of steam and gas piping for heating and lighting buildings. The firm name was, and is to this day, "The Providence Steam and Gas Pipe Co," being the first industry of the kind in the city. Sellling out to his partners in 1853 he crossed the plains to Oregon, remaining there a couple of years, traveling extensively through the Western Territories. Mr. Arnold, in 1843, settled down in McGregor, Ia., being engaged in several branches of industries, and for many years a dry good merchant. He married Miss Ann Thurber, of Providence, R. I., in 1841. By this union there are two children-- Dexter T., who died in McGregor shortly after coming to the State, and Abbie. Mr. Arnold has held a number of offices of trust in the gift of the people; in politics originally a Whig, then Republican, but now votes for the best man.

source: History of Clayton County, Iowa, 1882, p. 964-965
transcribed by Sally Scarff and Marlene Chaney


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