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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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During a residence of more than thirty years in Union county, John S. Arnold has so lived as to win recognition as a representative and reliable agriculturist. He now lives on section 35, Jones township, and in connection with his son, Ernest E., owns and carries on a farm of two hundred and fifteen acres. For years he was an active worker in the fields but has now reached the advanced age of eighty years, so that the more arduous work of the farm is carried on by others. He still gives supervision to the place, however, and manifests in business affairs the interest which is usually only displayed by men of much younger years. He first came to Iowa in 1865 but the greater part of his life has been passed in the middle west. He was born, however, in Seneca county, New York, April 30, 1828, and with his parents removed to Indiana in 1831, so that he was reared upon the frontier, amid the environments and hardships of pioneer life. The family home was established in Noble county, Indiana, where his boyhood and youth were passed, and he assisted his father in the strenuous task of clearing away the timber and cultivating the fields. Thus early he learned the value of industry and perseverance as factors in life’s work and throughout his entire business career he has displayed unabating energy and unwearied diligence.

Mr. Arnold was married in Noble county, at the age of twenty years, to Miss Harriet L. Kimmel, a native of Noble county. The wedding was celebrated in 1848 and the young couple began their domestic life upon a farm, Mr. Arnold purchasing raw land, which he cleared and converted into productive fields. He improved four different farms in Noble county and thus contributed in large and substantial measure to its agricultural development and its material progress. He also bought and operated a threshing machine there, beginning work of that kind when about sixteen years of age. He had a natural bent toward mechanical pursuits, enjoyed working with machinery, and for a number of years continued to operate a thresher after arriving in Union county. The west has always been the land of opportunity and this fact Mr. Arnold recognized when in 1865 he came to Iowa, first settling in Pottawattamie county. While living there he bought and owned two farms and raised two crops. He then disposed of his property there and removed to Michigan, purchasing land in Van Buren county, upon which he made some improvements. In that section of the country he carried on general farming for a time but later sold out and returned to Iowa, becoming one of the landowners of Union county in 1877. At that time he invested in farm property in Jones township, upon which he has since resided. His first purchase made him the owner of eighty acres, which he converted into rich fields, bringing forth large crops annually. He fenced the land, planted fruit trees and converted the place into a good farm, to which he added from time to time until he now owns two hundred and fifteen acres, constituting one of the well improved and valuable farm properties of the locality.

Mr. Arnold lost his wife here, her death occurring in the fall of 1905. In their family were five children: J. K. Arnold, who is now a substantial farmer of Clarke county, Iowa, where he owns valuable farm property to the extent of four hundred acres; Ernest E., who is his father’s partner in the ownership and conduct of the old homestead; Reson, also a resident farmer of Clarke county, Iowa; Mrs. Ida Bacon, a widow, residing in Jones township; and Victor H., an agriculturist, who lives in Griswold, Iowa.

When age conferred upon Mr. Arnold the right of franchise the two dominant political parties were the whig and the democrat. His preference was for the former, which he continued to support until it passed out of existence to give rise to the new republican party formed to prevent the further extension of slavery. He joined the ranks of the new organization and has since followed its banners and supported its candidates. Official preferment, however, has had no attraction for him, as he has ever desired rather to give his time and energies to his business interests which, capably conducted, have brought him signal success.

For more than three decades he has lived in the county and has seen marked changes here as the district has become thickly settled and taken on all of the evidences of a modern and progressive civilization. Mr. Arnold has kept up with the times to a remarkable extent and though he has now reached the eightieth milestone on life’s journey in spirit and interests seems yet in his prime. It is hard to realize as one talks with him and hears him discussing the questions of the day that he was born during the presidency of John Quincy Adams, that he has lived during the period of all the great wars of the country which have occurred since the Revolution with one exception. The story of pioneer life in Indiana, which was familiar to him in his youth, reads today almost like a romance but at that time was a stern reality. Farm work was then most arduous, because the greater part of it had to be done by hand. Mr. Arnold has lived to see invention revolutionize agricultural life by reason of the farm machinery that has been placed upon the market and at all times has been quick to endorse the changes for improvement and progress that have been made.

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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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