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Below is a family biography included in History of Union County, Iowa published by S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., in 1908.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Ezra Dean Arnold, a consulting engineer of Creston, who has been in the electrical and mechanical supply business, selling on commission for some time, also has large landed interests in the county and deals to a considerable extent in livestock. He is alert, enterprising and energetic, possessing the spirit which has been the dominant factor in the rapid upbuilding of the middle west. What he undertakes he completes and his diligence proves the basis of his prosperity.

Mr. Arnold is one of the native sons of Illinois, his birth having occurred near Brimfield. that state, in 1866. His father, Solomon Brooks Arnold, was born near Chester, Windham county, Vermont, March 29, 1829, his people coming formerly from Rhode Island and being of English descent. On the 1st of November, 1843, the family, consisting of the parents and seven children, started for the west in a covered wagon and arrived in Illinois February 4, 1844. They located on a farm near Brim-field, Peoria county, and had only been in Illinois but six weeks when the father, standing on the porch during a storm, was struck by lightning and killed, April 22, 1844, thus throwing the family upon their own resources for support. The mother died March 13, 1889, when almost ninety-two years of age, and both were interred in Brimfield cemetery in Illinois. As the older sons of the family were working out, it largely devolved upon Solomon B. Arnold to support the younger members of the household but as the years passed they, too, became more and more self-supporting so that it was possible for Mr. Arnold to establish a home of his own, through his marriage on the 3d of May, 1854, to Miss Lucia M. Dean. The wedding was celebrated at Chester, Vermont, and they went at once to Illinois, settling on a farm near Brimfield, Peoria county. While they were living on that farm a daughter and son were born to them: Stella Eliza, born December 6, 1859, and Ezra Dean, October 11, 1866. During the nine or ten years which they lived there the parents, by great industry and careful saving, succeeded in paying for the property and in the meantime also purchased two hundred and forty acres of land in Warren county, Illinois, a tract of wild prairie about eight miles south of Monmouth. They decided to locate thereon and improve that and arrived at their new home with twenty head of oxen and a team of horses. They put up a small house of rough boards and Mr. Arnold at once began to break the sod. When this was done he continued breaking sod for others in order to get money that would enable him to fence his place. At this time the country was all open prairie to the Mississippi river and the oxen frequently wandered almost to the river. After getting this land under cultivation the family returned to Peoria county, where they remained for some time and while there living also purchased land in Henry county, Illinois. About 1870 they removed to Galesburg, Illinois, in order to secure improved educational facilities. While there, Mr. Arnold gave his time only to the supervision of his landed interests, which were constantly growing and included property in Iowa.

His interests in Iowa became so great that in September, 1881, the family removed to Creston, where he made his home until his death. Soon after his arrival here he purchased the foundry and machine business of Royce & Hopping and in connection with his son, Ezra D. Arnold, con ducted this enterprise as a general machine and foundry business, making a specialty, however, of the manufacture of steam engines and sugar cane and elevator machinery, employing at one time over twenty men in this business. Mr. Arnold was interested more largely in land than in any other one enterprise and owned at his death nearly four thousand acres in Iowa and Illinois, about fourteen hundred acres being in Union county. In politics he was a republican and for years was a member of the Congregational church, to which he was a liberal contributor. He possessed unfaltering energy and a spirit of resolute purpose that constituted an excellent basis for his success. He died January 23, 1887, and the record which he left behind was a most creditable one. While he won success, it was gained through such honorable methods that none could grudge him his prosperity. He was straightforward in all his dealings and in every relation of life upheld high ideals.

His wife, Mrs. Lucia Dean Arnold, also a native of the Green Mountain state, was born May 17, 1831, and is of English lineage, tracing her ancestry back to one who came to America on the Mayflower. Her father was a farmer. Mrs. Arnold belongs to the First Congregational church and she and son E. D. live on the old homestead in Creston. In the family were but two children, the elder being a daughter, Stella, now deceased. She became the wife of Frederick W. Taylor, a nurseryman and now a general promoter. At the present writing he is general manager for the Denver Reservoir Irrigation Company. He had charge of the concessionary department at the Buffalo Exposition in 1901, and at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904, he was chief of the horticultural and agricultural departments. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Taylor were born three children:
Jettie A., Herbert S. and Mary.

To the public school system of his native state Ezra Dean Arnold is indebted for the early educational advantages he enjoyed. He attended Knox academy at Galesburg and also a business college in that city and while there began learning the machinist’s trade. From early youth he was interested in his father’s enterprises and more and more largely assisted him in the conduct of the business, becoming an experienced and capable business man. The foundry was conducted under the name of Arnold & Son. For three years he was fireman on the fast mail on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad between Creston and Ottumwa, Iowa. Mr. Arnold is now a consulting engineer, his services being frequently in demand by electric and gas concerns. He has also been engaged in the electrical and mechanical supply business, selling on commission for some time. He has large landed interests, also handles cattle and hogs and for a time was the owner of some fine racing stock. His property interests include the large T. J. Potter farm in Lincoln township. His time is largely occupied with the supervision of his farming interests and his business is extensive, covering various phases of activity.

In 1890 occurred the marriage of Mr. Arnold and Miss Katherine Stanchfield, who was born in Cameron, Missouri, in 1863, a daughter of Cyrus A. and Louise Stanchfield. Her father was passenger conductor on the Burlington road for forty years but is now retired. Mr. and Mrs. Arnold have two children: Dean Stanchfield, born September 25, 1897; and Harold, born December 10, 1901.

The parents are members of the First Congregational church and are prominent in social circles of the city, the hospitality of the best homes being freely accorded them. Mr. Arnold is a republican in politics but the honors and emoluments of office have little attraction for him. Tireless energy, keen perception, honesty of purpose and a genius for devising the right thing at the right time, joined to everyday common sense, are among his chief characteristics, and his prosperity has been the outcome of clear judgment and experience.

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This family biography is one of 247 biographies included in The History of Union County, Iowa published in 1908.  For the complete description, click here: Union County, Iowa History and Genealogy

View additional Union County, Iowa family biographies: Union County, Iowa Biographies

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