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WILLIAM ARNOLD. This gentleman is one of the thrifty and energetic farmers for which Searcy County, Arkansas. has become well known, and in the conduct of his affairs has shown good judgment and business foresight. He was born in Wabash County, Illinois, September 18, 1822, a son of Jacob and Rebecca (Thompson) Arnold, natives of Kentucky, from which State they removed with their parents to Illinois, when that was a new country. There they married and made their home until 1838, when they started for Texas, but upon reaching Ft. Smith, Arkansas, became discouraged by reports from the Lone Star State, and the next spring started back to Illinois, with the intention of locating on Crowley’s Ridge, but on reaching what is now Searcy County, Arkansas, was so well pleased with the outlook here that he decided to locate, and he at once “pitched his tent” at the mouth of Bear Creek. Here he made his home until his death eight years later, but during this time he managed to greatly improve his place in many ways. He was a man of great energy and push, was a great lover of hunting and all athletic sports and was a soldier of the Black Hawk War.
The maternal grandfather of the subject of this sketch was a soldier of the Revolution, and like the Arnolds, was a very early settler of Illinois from Kentucky, and died in that State. The widow of Jacob Arnold survived him until 1854, when she died, leaving a family of seven children: Abbie, who died in Illinois, the wife of John McClure; Thomas, of Illinois; Nancy, who became the wife of a Mr. Painter, and is now deceased; William; John, who was a Federal soldier and is now a resident of Missouri; Jacob was also a Federal soldier and died at Louisburg, Arkansas; James died at Corinth while serving in the Confederate Army.
William Arnold came with his parents to Searcy County, and August 17, 1839, was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Eleazer and Elizabeth Dean, who also located in the farming districts of Searcy County, Arkansas, in 1837, coming thither from Illinois. On the farm on which they settled the subject of this sketch now resides, and is one of the most fertile and well-improved places in the county. Mrs. Arnold was born in Edwards County, Illinois, February 3, 1824, and died July 23, 1878, after having borne her husband the following children: Mary J., who died in 1893; Martha M. is the wife of Harmon Hodge, of Kansas; Eleazer D., of Searcy County; Jacob, of that county also; John, who died in 1889; Member, who died in 1874; Andrew J., Jasper N., William J. and Martin G.
In February, 1879, Mr. Arnold took for his second wife Caroline, daughter of Thomas and Mary Owens, natives of Georgia, but early settlers of Arkansas, the former of whom died in Pope County, and the latter in Searcy County, Arkansas In 1850 Mr. Arnold crossed the plains to California, being nearly five months in making the journey, and while in that State he was engaged in mining and saw milling until 1853, when he returned home via the Isthmus of Panama and New York City and has since resided in Searcy County, being one of its best and most favorably known citizens. He was in the Confederate service for about eighteen months during the latter part of the war, as a member of Company M, Third Arkansas Cavalry, which command operated on the Arkansas River, and he was a participant in a number of skirmishes. He was discharged at Louis-burg, Arkansas, at the close of the war. Mr. Arnold was a Democrat prior to the war, but since that time has supported the men and measures of the Republican party. He is a member of St. Joe Lodge No. 317, of the A. F. & A. M., and has long been an active member of the Primitive Baptist Church. Mr. Arnold is one of the oldest settlers of Searcy County and well remembers the hard-ships and privations which the early settlers of the region were compelled to undergo, and has seen almost the entire development of the section in which he resides.