Friday, May 16, 2008

The Diary of Randall Rice Arnold

Headstones for Emeretta Arnold Harden and her infant who died soon after, Rosa. Photographs courtesy of Phil Harden, who took Uncle Willis to Indianola, Iowa, to visit the graves and also the farm where she and Nathan had lived. No one has really explained why the name on Emeretta's grave is Hardin (yet the baby's stone has it spelled correctly). One could speculate the stonecarver ran out of room, but Randall Arnold also refers to his son-in-law as Nathan Hardin. It does look like the baby's stone was added at a later date, perhaps by one of Nathan's grown children...

My mom was given this journal by one of our aunts, I think. We had been told that the Arnolds which Emeretta Arnold Harden was descended from were a prominent family in early America, and it turns out to be true. And if a web page compiled by the New England Historic-Geneological Society is accurate, Randall and Emeretta were relations of the American statesman, Stephen A. Douglas. Not only that, but the Arnolds trace their ancestry back to Welsh kings! A good excuse to name future babies or cats Cadwaladr or Gwenydd. Here is the Arnold history, if you are interested.

My mother wrote the following, and I have added notes from my exploration into census and other historical records:

The following is a transcript of a journal written by our great, great, great grandfather, Randall Rice Arnold. He attempts to tell the story of his family for the benefit of his son, Joel C. Arnold. The book this was taken from is located at the home of a woman named Lillian Moon. I assume that she is a descendant of Joel C. Arnold. The original is a hand written ledger dictated by Mr. Arnold in 1886, when he was 80 years old. Some of it is hard to read, and the spelling and syntax are not always correct, but I have tried to interpret his intent. Someone tried to transcribe parts of the book at an earlier date, so I have included every part of it that makes sense to me.

There is also a handwritten genealogy of the Arnold family up until Randall Arnold, but it is hard to make sense of and difficult to read. Apparently, this was taken from another book about the family. The publisher is listed as The Tuttle Pub. Co, Inc., Rutland Vermont.

Now we begin the begats:

The first entry is of Nicholas Arnold, born 1550.

His son, William Arnold, was born 6-24-1587 in what looks like Illchester, England.

Somewhere in the tale is an allusion to Matthew Arnold. He was apparently a close relative.
Stephen was born 12-22-1622 in Illchester and died 11-15-1649 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Stephen married a woman named Sarah, daughter of an Edward Smith and no more is written of these two.

(There is mention of another relative, Governor Benedict Arnold, born 12-21-1615. The date of birth is too early to have been the same BA who was the famous traitor in the American Revolution, but might have been a progenitor. jv)

The next entry is of another Stephen, presumably his son, who was born 11-27-1654. He married a woman named Mary Sheldon and her parents are listed as John and Joan Sheldon.
(There is a gap here in the record, and I assume that these later births occurred in America, as Randall later indicates that the family emigrated around 1698. I’ll continue as it is written: jv)

Edward Arnold was born in 1707 and is listed as married to a Hannah Sheldon.

Then come the more detailed and interesting characters of the story. The next entry is Stephen Arnold born 1738 in Pawtucket, RI. He married Rhoda Rice, daughter of Randall and Dinah Rice. She was born 2-20-1741. Their story is the first in the narrative.

They had a son named Randall Rice Arnold, born 9-22-1770. This is the child born on the high seas on one of his father’s trading ships. He married Eunice Crary, the daughter of Ezra and Keziah Crary who were Irish and Scottish, respectively. There are more stories of them further on.

The next Randall Rice Arnold is the author of this journal. He was born 6-22-1806 and is the father of Emeretta Arnold Harden and the Joel C. Arnold, to whom this journal is addressed.

The journal is signed
Westerville, Ohio November 1886
Randall R. Arnold

The Journal of Randall Arnold

My father, Randall Arnold, who was a son of Stephen Arnold, was born on the broad ocean September 22, AD 1770. My grandparents were on a voyage from Boston, MA to the West Indies. Stephen had been employed in the building of ships and other water craft until he married Rhoda (Roby) Rice, a native of Vermont. Soon after his marriage, he was employed as a hand on a sailing vessel to the West Indies, then a pilot, and afterwards a sea captain for a succession of 12 years. It was on one of these voyages that they did not see land for 12 months, during which time my father, Randall was born. He was named after his mother’s father, Randall Rice.

It was in the midst of the Revolutionary War that Grandfather (Stephen Arnold) had eight valuable sailing vessels used in the line of commerce on the Atlantic, traveling from Boston to the West Indies.

The government of the United States pressed these ships into service and at that time he abandoned the sea life and settled on a farm in Clarendon, Rutland County, VT.

In 1811, Congress appointed a commission to settle and compensate for the value of the ships it had pressed into service. It was agreed and stipulated in writing and signed by the commissioner and my grandfather. By this agreement, he was to have been granted three townships of valuable land in the rich river valley of the Wyoming in Pennsylvania, which was to be surveyed by the government and transferred by title in compensation for grandfather’s ships appropriated by the government. The contract was never fulfilled because in the winter of 1812, the British came up the Potomac and burned Washington, including all records pertaining to the foresaid settlement. My grandfather died a few months later in 1812 at the age of 85, and my grandmother died in 1818 at the age of 88. Both lived and died as Christians.

It was about this time that my father and his family moved to Ohio with the colonies named Vermont and Parue. (Are these Quaker? Other? No explanation is given anywhere as to the connection. jv)
[The Arnold history indicates some of the Arnolds went to Peru, NY, so that is probably what he means by the "Parue" colony. jrp]

The family was destitute in the dense forests of Ohio. They tried and failed to revive the agreement that they had with the government. Thus the promised land was lost and transferred to the settlers actually living on it. All of those aware of this contract have since passed to their last resting place after enduring the toils and hardships of the new country of Ohio.

Now Randall tells of his mother’s family:

My mother, Eunice (Crary) Arnold, was born in Rutland County, Vermont on April 22, 1776. She was the daughter of Ezra and Keziah Crary. He was Irish and she was Scottish. Randall says his grandmother was a relative of the poet, Robert Burns. These grandparents emigrated to America soon after their marriage and settled in Rutland County, Vermont. Ezra died in 1815 and Keziah in 1778 when his daughter was only 2 years old. Her father remarried and the family united and lived happily.

Grandfather Ezra was mechanical in his habits and in later years he occupied a cooper’s shop and manufactured the finest tubs, buckets, firkins, cans and pails. His tools were of the best quality and well organized for use. My earliest recollections are those of being at his shop with my mother while still wearing baby clothes. From Grandfather’s shop, my mother would lead me over to the mill of my uncle, Nathaniel Crary. His mill was powered by water from Otter Creek, brought by a flume to the water wheel. The mill made cloth for everyday and Sunday use. The machines were of his own design, but the cards had been brought from England.
[Nathaniel Crary is listed in the 1830 Census as being, it appears, between 60 and 70 years old. He was buried as Col. Nathaniel Crary in the East Clarendon Cemetery, Clarendon, Vermont, according to the records of Vermont Revolutionary Patriots. jrp]

(He explains daily life at the time). It was in those primeval days that making clothing from homespun, caring for the dairy, making sweet butter and cheese was the order of exercise. It was the healthy breeze that wafted from the mountains of Vermont that gave a glow to the face and a relish for labor. And the songs of “Auld Lang Syne” -- shall they ever be forgotten?!

(Now he tells of his mother, to whom he was obviously devoted. If the narrative appears dissociated, it is because it is taken from 2 separate sources. The words are his.)

I am impelled to give a brief tribute touching the cherished memory of my dear mother, whose company I was permitted to enjoy until I was 13 years of age at her death 7-12-1820. From childhood, her disposition was shown to have been of a pure religious cast. She was shown to have a love for the fine arts and I remember that she often amused the children of the household with exhibitions of fancy work of her own hands and skill. There were other strong traits of character combined with her excellent genius and worthy of notice were her excellent moral traits, ever imparting to her children the precepts of all the moral attributes which make up the man and woman to a high standard of a virtuous life and that truth and honesty were the elements combined to make the present and future life one of joyous realization. And she never neglected an opportunity to impress these sentiments in the tender minds of the children.

Another fine trait of my mother was often shown by her love of poetry, being by nature a poetess and she would often prepare apt music to accompany the poetry for use in church under her leadership. Another noble trait of my mother was the love she had for the comfort and appearance of her family. In the later years of her life, I have heard her tell of depriving herself of sleep so that she might have everything complete for attending church so that the family would appear in neat dress from the head to the white stockings which she spun and knitted herself.

And now, another narrative from Randall Rice Arnold: I was born 9-22-1806 in the town of Clarendon, Rutland County, Vermont. Being the youngest of six brothers, I was relegated to be the “chore boy” of the family and so was much in company of my mother, from whom I learned much that was of great advantage to me in later life. I need only relate that my mother was a Christian woman in every sense of the term. While it may be true that all are born with certain traits of character, early training has much to do in shaping the habits of life.

When I was 6 years old, my parents and their family joined a colony and moved to Ohio in the summer and fall of 1812. (Again, I wonder what affiliation they had. jv) After completing the long journey over a wagon road, the emigrants were occupied with selecting locations for homes, clearing the land and building log cabins to live in. Consequently, the early part of my young life was devoted to preparing the virgin soil for cultivation, rather than preparing the young mind for the enjoyment of the harvest of a well-storied mind.

When I was 17, after the death of my mother, my father returned to Vermont to settle the estate of his father, and married his second wife. He exchanged his land in Vermont for land in Illinois, and when he returned, we continued on to Illinois. For about two years, I continued to help him improve his farm, build a house, etc. With father’s consent, I returned to Ohio in the fall of 1824 and chopped and put up firewood at 16 and 2/3 cents per cord. With my earnings, I bought a suit of winter clothes. I attended school in a log cabin for 6 weeks and learned my arithmetic and writing, without any grammar.

On March 9, 1825, I began work with Artemus Cutler for six months at nine dollars a month learning carpenter work. He was living on the west side of Alum Creek, in Blendon Township, about one mile south of the Franklin/Delaware County line. Our labor that summer consisted chiefly of carpenter work. It was thus that I began my first lessons in carpenter work. The prominent notion in my mind was to become a skillful mechanic, a profession which might give prominence in life and a worthy good patronage. After fulfilling my engagement with Mr. Cutler, in the autumn of 1825, my enterprise became very successful and I became a subject of much skill and my work was in good demand in the community. Consequently, I became a member of the society of good families.

It was while thus employed as a mechanic in constructing plain dwellings and other out-buildings that I contracted with Mr. Israel Baldwin, who was a farmer in the community, to do the carpenter and joiner work on a house he wished to build. The location was about midway between Mr. Culter’s house and the county line.

(Now he gets sentimental, jv.) There is always more or less romance connected with a mechanic’s life that finds employment where grown sons and daughters still live with the old folks at home. This sentiment proved correct in the case under consideration, for in fact, Mr. Baldwin had a daughter who possessed graces of a charming kind in the eyes of a certain young man. The parents of Mary, for that was her name, discovered early the magnetic influence she had which seemed to attract rather than repel the feelings and when a spare moment occurred, should induce the daughter to bring clean towels to the wash stand. …..It was those delicate hands of Mary that gave assurance of a genial heart and mind. Therefore, it was no marvel that a wedding should take place in the house I had labored to build for Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin.

And it came to pass in those days when the bright September sun sent its flowing rays over the landscape at eventide, there could be seen people collecting together at the farm house of Mr. Baldwin of Blendon Township. The 15th day of September AD 1827 was the wedding day of Randall R. Arnold and Mary Baldwin, daughter of Israel and Hannah Baldwin. The ceremony was performed by GW Hart, Esq. at the house of her parents in Franklin County, Ohio.

The bridegroom was attired in a new suit of black cloth, with a light colored vest. The bride wore a light tulle brocade of a cream color, and wore slippers to match. After the ceremony, a good dinner was eaten by the family group who had gathered to witness this imposing rite thus consummated by the contracting parties. It is further related that in those days after the marriage, Mary became one of the charming housewives of the land and everything about her household denoted a worthy companion and well-balanced mind. We lived in a log cabin, comfortably furnished……..and worked and toiled for the comforts of a young and growing family, an account of which seems fitting in connection with the history of those youthful days when hope was fed by the clusters of children around the board each morning, noon and evenings. (An account of each child will follow.)

I worked as a carpenter until the fall of 1831, when I moved to Galena, Ohio, and began to work at my brother Ira’s store as a clerk. After 6 years he sold his store and again I took up my trade of carpenter and joiner.

When I was 27 years old, I was elected a Justice of the Peace and in the autumn of 1838, I returned to Blendon, in Franklin County. From that time to the present I have been occupied most of the time with public trusts, as a Notary and Justice of the Peace, which office I still hold.

Mary died of a stroke Sept 24, 1875, at the age of 65. “The early day but cheers the bird, The summer days unfold its leaf, And autumn crowned with riper fruit, Is gathered like the harvest sheath.”

I married a second time in 1876 to Lucretia Ingalls. [In the 1880 Census, they are still married. She is 64 to his 74. His occupation is still listed as Notary Public.]

(At this point, he rambles on and on, in poetic form, about the various children in his life and how much he missed his wife. Lots of poetry and flowery sentiments in this journal. jv)

Now he tells about his 6th child, Emeretta, who was our great, great grandmother. This is in longhand, either in his, or someone he dictated it to.

Emeretta Arnold was born at Galena, Ohio, January 19, 1838. While she was less than a year old, she became afflicted with a chronic diarrhea. We were then living in Galena in a new house which I had built near the northwest part of town. Her complaint had reduced her to a mere skeleton, and she avoided all manner of nourishment. She laid in her little cradle, a helpless child. It was about 9 o’clock one evening when she had every symptom of sinking into that sleep which knows no wakening, when I went directly to the doctor and got some of the best old brandy to be found. I warmed some with water and put in some loaf sugar. I gave her a few drops at a time and bathed her body in the warm brandy and, holding her to my bosom, in a manner, I brought her back to life. She took nourishment from her mother who had also tenderly nursed her through her sickness.

She was a sweet child and we exerted every effort to save her life. With the broth(?) of a young lamb, Emeretta soon gained strength and improved steadily after we settled in Blendon Township. She grew to become a beautiful and intelligent young woman.

Emeretta was married to Nathan Hardin 8-22-1854 at her parent’s home in Westerville, Franklin County, Ohio by the Rev. Slaughter. Their oldest child, Mary E. was born in Westerville 9-19-1856.

Randall says “she had a sweet curly head of hair, but died in Bowling Green, Indiana, 9-19-1862 where Nathan and Emeretta had moved in about 1860. It was sad news to read the letter telling of the death of that sweet child, who in her infancy clung to my strong arms so affectionately, and yet the charms and beautiful curls were hid from sight beneath the clods of the valley.”

Emeretta and Nathan moved to Bowling Green, Clay County, Indiana where 6 more children were born:

Louretta M. 7-19-1859
Jennie M. 8-10-1861 died 9-19-1862 (She died the same day as Mary. I wonder why? jv)
Charles E. 8-26-1863
John M. 12-27-1865 died 7-4-1876 in a tornado
Susan M. 12-15-1867
Belle S. 10-31-1869

The family then moved to Indianola, Warren County, Iowa in about 1870. The children born there were:

Henry L. 2-6-1871
Rosa N. Born 12-15-1873, died 14 days later on 12-29-1873 and buried with her mother.

This is what Randall had to say about the death of his daughter:

“In the midst of their labors, our beautiful daughter, whom we had nursed back to life when a child and who had become a cherished wife and mother…while yet in the prime of life must be stricken by the inexorable icy hand of death on the 19th day of December 1873, while she was taking the last look at her infant babe of 4 days….And then passed over the mysterious river from the company of her husband and her dear children who survived to bury the infant child by the side of its mother….But I am happy to learn of the sweet disposition of Emeretta’s surviving daughters, who are so much like their departed mother in looks and her pleasant way of expression. May God preserve them in mercy to see their dear mother beyond the river of death.”
May happiness be their lot, Wherever they may be
And joy and pleasure light the spot That may be home to thee.

The children of Randall and Mary Arnold are listed below:

Alfred 3-8-1829 born Franklin County Ohio
Emily 12-7-1830
Joel C. 3-18-1832 born at Galena Ohio (This is the son to whom the journal is dedicated)
Israel B. 5-11-1869 at Galena
Emeretta 1-19-1838 at Galena
Henry H. 12-10-1840 in Blendon Township.
Clarissa 12-10-1845
Ida 4-28-1852 She, being the youngest, became the solace and help to her afflicted mother in the last years of her life.

He continues with the marriages and deaths of the children. I have included only the story of Emeretta.

There is no date to record the death of Randall Arnold. We can only presume it was shortly after he wrote this journal, as he said he was 80 when he wrote or dictated it.
[The records from the Blendon West Pioneer Cemetery in Franklin County, Ohio, show that Randall died Sept. 22, 1898, at the age of 92! jrp]

There is more information listed about Joel and his wife Susan, and their children. I would assume that it was one of these children who preserved the journal so that we have it today. As I said at the beginning, it existed as late as 1986 at the home of Lillian Moon, whoever she was and wherever she lived.

I have the original copies and any of you are welcome to see them at any time, but I have condensed most of the information pertinent to this family into this document.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Randall was also my ggggrandfather. I have a journal that was for his son Isarel and also one for his sister Anna Geer. I wrote a book in 1991 taking the Arnold line back to 1550 in England. Would like to compare notes with your family. Lynn Fonde email lfonde@