Jacob Arnold, one of the early settlers of Des Moines county, and a highly respected citizen of Franklin township, residing on his farm of one hundred acres in Section 18, is a native of Pennsylvania, his birth having occurred in Luzerne county, Jan. 6, 1834. He remained in the State of his nativity until twenty-two years of age, and acquired his education in the public schools there, while upon the home farm he performed various kinds of labor, thus materially assisting his father. His parents, Abraham and Elizabeth (Schliker) Arnold, were also natives of Pennsylvania, where the father engaged in farming all his life, thus becoming a representative of agricultural interests in Luzerne county. He died Jan. 24, 1879 at the age of eighty-six years, five months, and ten days, and his wife passed away April 4, 1885, at the age of seventy-five years, seven month, and eighteen days. Their remains rest side by side in a cemetery in Luzerne county. They were both loyal and devoted members of the Methodist church, in which Mr. Arnold served for some time as steward, and his political allegiance was given to the Republican party.
Jacob Arnold is the only member of his father’s family that came to Iowa. When twenty-two years of age he left the old homestead in the Keystone State, and started out on his own account. Coming to Iowa, he settled in Franklin township, Des Moines county, where he remained for a year, and then returned to Pennsylvania, where he resided until May, 1859. At that date, he took up his abode in Lawrence county, Illinois, where he was engaged in general farming until August 1862, when he put aside business and personal considerations and offered his services to the government, enlisting as a member of Company I, One Hundred and Thirtieth Illinois Infantry, with which he served until the close of the war. He took part in many of the prominent battles, and was at the siege of Vicksburg. In April, 1864, he was captured at Mansfield, and was held as a prisoner of war until the close of hostilities, being incarcerated at Tyler, Texas. When the war was over, he was honorably discharged, being mustered out at Springfield, Ill., in June, 1865. He was often where the leaden hail fell thickest, and again was stationed on the lonely picket line; but wherever he was found, he was loyal to the cause which he had espoused.
At the close of his military service Mr. Arnold came again to Iowa, and purchased forty acres of land in Franklin township, constituting the nucleus of his present home place. He cleared the timber and made a home for himself and family, and here he has lived continuously ever since, devoting his attention to general agricultural pursuits, and to some extent following stock-raising. The years as they have passed have brought him prosperity in return for his untiring labor, and he added to his home place until he now owns one hundred acres of productive and valuable land, nearly all of which is under cultivation.
Mr. Arnold was married in March, 1856, to Miss Ellen Vandemark, a daughter of Elijah and Margaret (Bellis) Vandemark. Her father came to this State from Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, in 1859, settling in Franklin township, where he devoted his energies to farm work. Purchasing land from time to time as his financial resources permitted, he was at his death the owner of over two hundred acres. His birth had occurred in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, and he passed away in Franklin township, after a successful and prosperous life. His wife, also a native of Luzerne county, died in Franklin township at an advanced age, and, like her husband, was held in warm regard by all who knew her. Mrs. Arnold, likewise a native of Luzerne county, pursued her education in the schools there, and came with her parents to this State.
Unto our subject and his wife were born eleven children, and with one exception all were natives of Des Moines county: Elijah, a farmer residing in Oklahoma, married Effie Smith, of this county, and has five children, Bertha, Ira and Irene (twins), Arthur, and Elijah; Abraham, born in Illinois, and now residing in Burlington, married Amelia Strothman, by whom he has five children, Jesse Clara, Lewis, Herbert, and Rollin; Sarah Arnold, wife of Scott Gulich, a farmer who owns and operates sixty acres in Franklin township, and they have two children, Loren and Arnold; Laura, wife of Phineas Landrum, of Pleasant Grove township, and has one child, Myrtle; Clara, the wife of Herman Rasmus, of Mediapolis and has four children, Esta, Fern, Earl, and Sarah; Hattie, the widow of Edward Thomas, and resides upon her father’s farm; John, the owner of a farm of sixty acres in Franklin township, married Maggie Smith; Dolly, resides in Mediapolis; Jacob, living on the home farm; Mary, became the wife of Charles Olcott, and died at the age of twenty-nine years; and one that died in infancy.
Mr. Arnold and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and have taken a helpful interest in its work. In politics he has been an earnest Republican since casting his first vote for John C. Fremont. He has held the office of trustee of Franklin township for one term, and, deeply interested in school matters, has done effective service locally for the cause of education, serving as secretary of the board, and as a school director for a quarter of a century. His efficient service, his military record, his business career, and his private life all entitle him to the warm regard and esteem of many friends, and have made his life worthy of emulation in many respects.