My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  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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LESTER ARNOLD. Some of the distinguishing traits in the character of Mr. Arnold may be readily guessed from the statement of one of his fellow-citizens to the effect that he has scarcely an enemy in the world. An honorable business career in the city of Xenia has made him well known to a large portion of the residents of Greene County. In addition to his regular business as a dealer in boots and shoes, he is also the junior partner in the well-known firm of Walton & Arnold, who are quite extensively engaged in the manufacture of linseed oil. He has had an experience of thirty years in the milling business, and in addition to his other interests is prominently connected with the famous Spring Valley ham-curing establishment, which receives orders from all parts of the country. It will thus be seen that Mr. Arnold must naturally spend few idle moments and that he has been no unimportant factor in promoting the business interests of Greene County.

Mr. Arnold was born in Westfield, Mass., December 2, 1828, and is the son of William Arnold, a native of New York State, who, departing from the usual direction of emigration, went East instead of West and, locating in Westfield, there met and married Miss Clarissa Loomis. This lady was the daughter of a Revolutionary soldier and the off-spring of a fine old family. Soon after his marriage William Arnold set out on horseback for Erie County, Ohio, where he purchased one thousand acres of Government land, intending to settle there and establish a permanent home. The young wife, however, was reluctant to go thus “out of the world,” as it were, and Mr. Arnold finally settled on a farm near Westfield, where all of his children were born and reared. When Lester, our subject, was a lad of fifteen years, the family removed to Dayton, Ohio, where one of the sons, William, had already established himself. There the parents spent the remainder of their lives, the father prosecuting his farm labors until his decease in 1876. The mother survived her husband six years, dying in 1882. Mr. Arnold was a member in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church from his youth. The parental family consisted of nine children: of these are William Arnold (deceased); Franklin E., of Xenia; Clarissa, Mrs. Granger, also of this city; Lester, our subject; Julia and Amelia (Mrs. Dalson), both of Miami City.

The subject of this notice was a youth of sixteen years when his parents settled, in 1845, in Dayton. They traveled by rail to Buffalo, thence by the lake and canal to Dayton. Lester soon afterward entered upon his business career as a clerk in a mercantile establishment at Dayton, for the consideration of $10 per month and boarded himself. On the 1st of January, 1850, we find him in Cincinnati, where he was engaged as a clerk until 1857. Then in company with a Mr. Marvin, formerly of Westfield, Mass., he repaired to St. Anthony Falls, Minn., and, in the dead of winter, opened up a new stock of goods.

This experiment proved a little too much for the heroism and courage of young Arnold and he, in 1858, was glad to return to the bounds of civilization. Going back to Cincinnati he purchased a stock of goods and established himself at No. 65, Pearl Street. Soon afterward he associated himself in partnership with his brother, W. I. Arnold, of Dayton, and they carried on a successful business. Later they admitted another partner into the firm, which then bore the style of Lockwood, Arnold & Co., and they did a general commission business at the corner of Pearl and Walnut Streets until 1859. In the fall of that year the partners came to this county and rented the Frost Distillery, at Frost Station, which they conducted until 1861, when they purchased the entire property and operated under the firm name of W. & L. Arnold with warehouses at Xenia. Our subject became interested in milling and feeding of swine. They thus operated until 1867, doing a very heavy business. In the meantime they paid $1 per bushel for corn, $3 for wheat, and upon one occasion they paid as high as $3.10 for five thousand bushels of wheat which they purchased from one man.

In the meantime, in 1865, Mr. Arnold becoming interested in Xenia real estate, purchased property in the city. Notwithstanding his extensive business interests he found time to devote to public and political affairs, and after filling other positions of trust and responsibility was, in 1875, elected by the Republicans as Treasurer of Greene County, and gave such good satisfaction that in 1877 he was complimented with a re-election and served in that capacity until 1880. In 1881 he took an interest in the aforesaid mills again.

In 1888 he severed his connection with the mill, and in 1889 took an interest in in the Spring Valley ham-curing establishment and also became interested in the boot and shoe business in Xenia, he is a Director of the First National Bank and in all the enterprises tending to promote the general welfare of the city is found in the front rank.

In 1864 Mr. Arnold purchased the fine home of Mr. Drake on Spring Hill. The residence was originally a seminary building, and under a process of remodeling is now, with its surroundings, one of the most elegant homes in Greene County. It occupies a gentle eminence and the grounds are laid out tastefully, and in consonance with the refined tastes and ample means of its proprietor. By a course of strict integrity Mr. Arnold has made for himself an honorable name in the business world, while his natural generosity and courteous bearing to all has gained the esteem and confidence of his fellow-citizens in more than an ordinary degree. He has for many years been connected with the Odd Fellows, being at present a member of Magnolia Lodge in Cincinnati with which he enrolled his name as early as 1851 and in which he has passed all the Chairs. His religious views coincide with those of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he is a prominent member in Xenia.

Mr. Arnold was first married in Dayton in 1858, to Miss Fidelia Gleason, of Ithaca, N. Y. This lady was a daughter of a Revolutionary soldier and there were born to them no children. The second wife of our subject was Lina, daughter of Jacob Herring, of Beaver Creek Township, who died in 1874, leaving two sons — Harry L. and Frederick W. The elder is now in the store with his father and the younger is engaged in the insurance business in Xenia. The present wife of our subject was Miss Pauline, daughter of John Croft, of Clark County, where she was born in April, 1848.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

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