A Well Spent Life


(1848 - 1934)

The following is an annotated verbatim transcription of H.G. Arnett's journal. He started the journal in 1926 and continued writing in it until his death on October 22, 1934 at the age of 86. I've added some reference dates and comments, and these are enclosed in [brackets]. Mostly this transcript follows the journal order, but I've rearranged some entries chronologically.. The actual page numbers in the Journal are indicated by (parentheses) before various transcribed passages. The initial edition was published in loose leaf format so that as additional information is discovered it can be added later. In the hard copy edition the actual journal entries are 14 pt type and the annotations 12 pt., but in uploading this web versioni, I've taken the simple route. Some of the appendices with genealogies included in the hard copy are not reproduced here...yet.


Pages	Years		Events				        section

2-7	1848 - 1871	ancestry, parents, early family and education 1
8-15	1872 - 1892	marriage, family, school teacher, farmer      2
16-24	1893 - 1905	family, store, logging business, lawyer	      3
25-36	1906 - 1921	business transactions, family distributions   4
37-47	1921 - 1933	wife's illness and family transactions	      5
48-59	1926 - 1934	family notes, Journal's start, Epilogue       6
60-64	1929 - 1931	poetry		                	      7
65-70	1922 - 1934	list of deaths				      8
71-78	End Notes	miscellaneous entries and clippings	      9

Appendix A - Actual copy of journal (only one uploaded)
Appendix B - Photos (index only; most are not uploaded)
Appendix C - Genealogies (overview only at this time; hard copy with details.)
Appendix D - Wills of Reuben, Sr; Ambrose's Inventory
             (The wills of H.G. and Galen haven't been scanned in yet)
Appendix E - Miscellaneous Notes:
             Wheeler, Taulbee, Connelley, Hargis, H.G. correspondence

October 8, 1998 is 150th anniversary of H.G. Arnett's birth.
-- John W. Arnett, September 1998

copyright 1998 John W. Arnett


A Threshold Record and Synopsis of H.G. Arnett's affairs,

covering a period over 53 years, including all of his active and chief business career of accumulation during all his conjugal felicity and to the present time. He was born October 8, 1848 in a little old "log cabin" above the mouth of "Board Tree" on William Arnett Sr.'s farm.

(1) My father, Ambrose Arnett Sr. was the fifth son of Reuben Arnett Sr. [b.1784 in VA] and Susan Arnett (nee Kilgore) who came from (now) Harlan County, Kentucky, in the year 1814, the year my father was born, and settled on the farm where E.B. Dyer Sr. now (1926) resides.

[The parents of Reuben and Stephen were a David and Letitia Arnett. David was born in 1735 (or 1755 according to some; see Appendix C) and is first mentioned in a 1799 tax list of Russell Co, Virginia. He is likely of Scotch origin possibly having come up from the Carolinas to Virginia. David, Letitia, their two sons and a daughter Nancy settled in Knox Co, KY before Stephen and Reuben moved to Floyd Co in 1814. There was likely another brother, Elias, and possibly another sister or sister-in-law named Elizabeth. Nancy married a James Green and settled in Bell Co while descendants (including Barnett Arnett) of Elias settled in Tennessee and Harlan Co, KY. For more detail, see Appendix C.]

(1) Reuben Arnett Sr. and his brother Stephen Arnett, Sr. with their families came here together and Stephen settled at the Meadows of Licking River and were both pioneer (2) settlers of what is now Magoffin County and were also the progenitors of all the Arnett generations now living in Magoffin County Kentucky. [Reuben bought 60 acres of Floyd Co land in 1824 and another 160 acres on the Middle Fork in 1829.]

(2) My mother, Susan Arnett (nee Ray) was the seventh daughter of Jesse Ray and Sarah Ray (nee Owens), who came here with their family from Scott County, Virginia, in the year 1836 and settled on Middle Fork of the Licking River on Crane's Nest. [Susan Ray was born in 1822. See Appendix C.]

(2) My father and mother were married in the year 1844, father 30 and mother 15 years of age respectively, when married. There were five children born to them, one girl [Mary 1850-60] and four sons, and four boys survived, viz.: Logan [1845], Harrison G. [1848], Benjamin F.[1853] and Ambrose [Babe] Jr. [b. March 1855, seven months after Ambrose's death.]

[Susan had another child, Galen, b. 1864 who was given the last name of Arnett even though his father was Benny Howard. See 1864 and Appendix C.]

[Thomas Edison was born February 11, 1847. He died Oct. 18, 1931 at age 84 with a life spanning the same period as H.G.A.]


(1) He [H.G. Arnett] was born October 8, l848, in little old 'log cabin' above the mouth of "Board-Tree" on the William Arnett Sr. farm.

[William Arnett, Sr. (b.1809) was the older brother of Ambrose Arnett and married before 1841, Jemima Ray, likely the sister of Susan Ray. Harrison G. Arnett was often referred to as "Harris Arnett." The name may have been in honor of William Henry Harrison of Tippecanoe Battle fame who had served briefly as President in 1841.]


(2) My father [Ambrose] purchased the farm where I was reared and still reside [Jan. 1st, 1927] from Michael Risner Sr. about the year 1850 (3) and moved here on this site and died September 1st, 1854 age 40 years. [The Risner farm was located in Hendricks closer in toward Salyersville on the Mill Branch of the Middle Fork of the Licking River.]

(3) I was unfortunate in my anatomy, especially, in my feet and ankles, having malinformities [sic] in both of my feet and ankles at birth called double ankles, or abnormal with no voluntary movement of my toes whatever, and


(3) at the age of six years [1854] my hearing was impaired in both ears by scarlet fever.

(3) however, I managed by my own efforts and persistent perseverance to acquire a fair, common school education which enabled me to support my mother and aid in raising my younger brothers. By procuring a full and complete library of valuable books, and applying myself closely to my studies at home, at all leasure [sic] hours, caused me to obtain a full store of general information and knowledge.
(12) When my father [Ambrose Arnett] died [of a "cold"] Sept. 1st, 1854 [age 40] he was considered a fine and safe doctor and was at the time of his death associated with the noted Dr. G. W. Wheeler of Fever fame [Appendix E.] and then had all Magoffin County ter[r]itory to practice in. He was a large real estate holder in his time, owning all the lands around above and below Hendricks now but was cheap in his time and the said property still remains in the hands of his heirs and their descendants to this date after a lapse of over 75 years.
(12) My father was a very extensive and expert farmer in his time. He was not in debt one cent and owned 14 head of horse, 35 head of cattle, a large flock of sheep, hogs, and geese too numerous to name and corn, oats, and hay in abundance when he died. (13) He kept a large force of work hands all the year. He was temperate in all his habits, never was known drunk in his life. He always kept a barrel or more at his home for his workmen--I mean whisky--which then only cost about 40 cents per gallon. The true value of all the land estate he owned at his death would now be worth over $100,000. Of course that would include all the timber then on the land.
(13) A dower interest was set apart for our mother Susan Arnett which embraced what we call "the old home farm" where I now reside. [see notes for 1860]

(7) I give below a Bible Record of the names and dates of births of my father's [Ambrose's] four surviving sons at his death, viz.--

1. Logan Arnett born June 25, 1845
2. H. G. Arnett " Oct 8, 1848
3. B. F. Arnett " Feb 19, 1853 [Benjamin Franklin Arnett]
4. Ambrose Arnett " Mar 16, 1855

[Ambrose was buried on a hill now part of Dona C. Arnett's land which overlooked his family's original home. His tombstone is legible and rests against a cedar tree possibly planted at the time of his death. A less legible stone nearby may be that of his father, Reuben.]

(3) I received a rudimentary education from (4) such teachers, as the school funds of my early days afforded. viz.:- William Bailey (a cripple)(walked upon crutches), Thomas F. Arnett, Solomon Bentley, David Salyer, B.F.Howard, Jr., Rev. Reuben R. Arnett and others


[Reuben Arnett, Sr., H.G's grandfather, died August 22, 1856, possibly from TB, at the age of 72. See Appendix D.]


[KY census: Susan (28), Logan (15), Harris (12), Benj (7), Ambrose Jr.(5)]

(13) She [Susan Ray Arnett] sold her interest in the dower to John Higgins [father of Rebecca Higgins, whom H.G. would later marry] in the year 1860 for $300 over the protest of her four (4) small sons. [Shortly afterward, Logan moved in with John Higgins' family.]


(66) Calloway Howard was born Sept. 9, 1861


[Galen Arnett was born 1864 to Susan (Ray) Arnett and Benny Howard. He lived with Susan and her family, and after his mother died, H.G. reared Galen in his home. Galen was a farmer on the Middle Fork. In his brief memoir, E.B. Arnett stated the following: " My father's mother's name was [Susan] Ray and she had a sister Abbey [Ray.] My father [H.G.] took Galen called Arnett whose father was Benny Howard. My father's family [H.G. and Rebecca (Higgins) Arnett's children ] consisted of Logan, Ben F., and Ambrose and my father H.G."]


(13) After the Civil War 1860 to 1865 closed we boys began making arrangements (14) for a division of all the real estate all then being minors did agree and I sold all my interest in the two thirds remainder of all the lands left after the dower was taken off to my three minor brothers, viz.: Logan, Ben F. and Ambrose - for $1000 and took their joint note for the purchase price, "One day after date" 6% with the specific understanding that I was to have all the dower interest whenever it reverted back to us heirs.

(14) Then we all strug[g]led along the best we could all living on the 2/3 portion of the farm then control[l]ed by our Guardians, William and Reuben Arnett, uncles of ours.

(14) While in the meantime I was seeking an education and staying with and caring and providing for my mother and two younger brothers [Ben F. and Ambrose].

(4) And later on I attended a few subscription schools working for my board and tuition on Saturdays. My first tutor was Thomas J. Williams of Va. and next, William Martin Long of Virginia.

(15) Logan married to Delana Howard in 1865. Then he [Logan] and his two brothers, Ben F. and Ambrose agreed on a final division [of the dowry] aided by myself and our two guardians, of the 2/3 portion of all the whole farm owned by Ambrose Arnett Sr, at his death.

[Logan Arnett, H.G.'s older brother, married in 1865 Delaney Howard. To their union were born Phoebe (1866), Josephine (1867), Richard French (1871), Laura (1873), Bruce (1876) and Gratz (1874). See Appendix C for details.]

(4) I next attended an academic school at Salyersville conducted by Professor Gish and Fitch, in which I became first assistant teacher in all the advanced classes.


(7) I began life rather a Country school teacher obtaining my first certificate of fitness as teacher from A. H. Howard, C.S.C. for Magoffin Co. July 29, 1868. "Second Class" being then 20 yrs old.

(65) I was taught in schools for 13 years beginning July 1868 [He probably meant to write "I taught" rather than "I was taught."]

[1868 - 1878]

(7) I began teaching in the Common Schools of M[a]goffin County during the fall of 1868 (8) and continued teaching each year in succession for ten years.


(7) My second certificate of qualification was granted to me by J. M. Atkeson, examiner, July 26, 1869. "Second Class."


(4) Then in the year 1870 Rev William H. Childers of Paintsville, Ky set up what he termed it, "A Normal College" with 150 students from different sections of Eastern Kentucky enrolled. I was employed as principal instructor (5) of all the advanced classes except history and elocution.

(5) From among so many of our students who attended said school I am co[n]strained to mention a few of the prominent and successful- viz.:

Hon A.[Alex] H. Hargis, a noted banker and capitalist of Jackson also ex state senator [See Appendix E.]

the late Hon. John P. Salyer, ex state senator and the foremost Attorney at Law, and large land holder of West Liberty, Ky.

and also Harris Howard, the largest land and real estate owner now in Morgan Co, White Oak Ky.

and Hon C. D. Sublett, atty. at law and ex state Senator, recently died at the age of 60 years, a bachelor who had saved over $45,000 in U.S.Bonds

also will mention Hon. Floyd Arnett, atty. at law of West Liberty and a prominent banker and served as Commonwealth Attorney for the (6) 36th Judicial District of Ky. for a term of six years

also Hon. Charles D. Arnett, ex state Senator a very able lawyer and now Secretary of the State Athletic Club of Louisville and a large land holder of Jefferson County and makes his home in the City of Louisville where he also owns valuable City property,

and H. Clay Arnett, now of Heletchawa, Ky a former Deputy U.S. Marshall for Eastern Ky under Hon. Henry M. Cox of West Liberty Ky. a U.S. Marshall for the Eastern District of Kentucky during the last term of Woodrow Wilson's administration and is now state Agent of North Eastern Kentucky looking after paroled convicts

H. Clay Floyd and Charles D. Arnett are the sons of Philip Arnett and Maranda Arnett (nee McQuinn)


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