The Weekly Colusa Sun
Saturday, 9 March 1878
John T. Arnold was killed Monday, March 4, by a pistol shot in the hands of Dudley Shepardson. We publish the facts in the case elsewhere, and we do not wish to comment on the feud existing between he and Shepardson, as the courts will have to pass on them.
We wish to add, however, our testimony to his efficiency and zeal as an officer. No town in the United States ever had an officer who would at all times and under all circumstances, do his duty so fearlessly as he.
His death is a public calamity, and is so recognized by all our citizens. Everybody felt in him a guardian of his person and his property. His great fault was the reckless exposure of his person to danger.
Notwithstanding the rain on Wednesday, almost the entire town turned out at his funeral, and every available vehicle, public and private, followed his remains to the grave.
We can do no more than to add the appropriate remarks made by Reverend T.H.B. Anderson at the funeral:
“John T. Arnold was born, February 9, 1848, in Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky. He was baptized in infancy into the Presbyterian Church, his parents being members of that denomination.
Shortly after this event, his parents went from Paris to Louisville; returned again to Paris; and removed from there to Superior City, Wisconsin. They then returned to Kentucky, and settled at Covington, where his father died.
Then his widowed mother went to Lexington; from there to Harroldsburg, where John entered college and finished his school days. He then went to Missouri, Arkansas and Texas, looking for business – a permanent home.
While in Arkansas he served a position in the U.S. Revenue Department, being at the time very young. After this he returned to Kentucky, when he was appointed under Colonel R.M. Kelly, United States storekeeper, which is a responsible position he filled with entire satisfaction to his employer.
From there he came to Colusa in company with his sister, Mrs. Mollie Singleton; they arrived here September 28, 1869. He at once went to work on his brother’s farm, and remained with him that winter. He was then appointed Deputy Sheriff of Colusa County, by J.B. Stanton, which office he resigned; then appointed Town Marshal of the Town of Colusa, which position he has filled by appointment and election ever since.
You will see he has been in this office continuously for more than six years. It is rather remarkable that he should have held it so long, as it exposes one to the rougher, coarser elements of society; but in that office he was known to be brave and unswerving. Mr. Arnold was not perfect – no official in this or any other state is; but after his election good men and women slept sounder; felt that their lives and property were safe, and that the peace and dignity of their little city would be maintained.
The best of men make mistakes; show me one that does not, and I will show you one that belongs to another race. No, my friends, our dead marshal was one of us; he had his imperfections – were he alive, he would want me to say so, but when we consider the difficulties that surround that office, and the length of time he filled it, and the forces he had to contend against, the wonder is that this house and yard are filled with brave, honest men and women to weep over him.
The hundreds present today to sympathize with his wife, children and relatives – to pay the last tribute of affection to him – are so many proofs of the high esteem in which he was held. I think I can look into your faces, today, and say that in the death of John T. Arnold you have lost a friend, a benefactor, a protector, a man who was ready to lay down his life in the performance of duty.
Mr. Arnold was a man of few words, not given to much talk. His plans and purposes were well studied and matured before acting; then he went forward, regardless of consequences.
He had what you might call strong character, liked or disliked intensely; but after all, these are men that assume responsible stations and hold them, he was not a member of any church, but a friend to the cause of religion.
He attended church occasionally – as often, he claimed, as his duties would permit. The pastor of the Methodist Church feels grateful today, for favors bestowed upon himself and family by our deceased friend. Poor man.
He was hurried out of this world into the presence of his maker. No time to think, pray, or believe with the heart; no time to adjust relationships. Let us leave him with God, who does right – who does all things well.
Our friend was not hardened by contact with the world. I have seen him weep. I shall not forget soon a conversation I had with him three months ago. His frame shook; his eyes were suffused with tears; his early training by a good mother came up from the grave of years – in a word, he seemed to live over his life again. O, our friend had a high soul; and but for the iron that was in him, would have been with us today.
He was married to Miss Lizzie Robinson, at the residence of her brother, Dr. L. Robinson, January 8, 1873. His wife and two sweet children survive him; she to remember that on the morning of the 4th of March, 1878, he arose, dressed himself, sat down with his wife and children to breakfast, full of hope, full of life, and looking ahead with no dim prospect of years of happiness with them.
He left soon after, the picture of health and manhood; in the afternoon, was carried home a corpse. How inscrutable are the ways of providence. In less than one minute a wife is robbed of a kind, generous, husband, and the little ones a father. We claim the privilege of mingling our tears with theirs; and invoking upon them the blessings of the widow, Elizabeth Robinson Arnold, and orphan, Phillip Arnold. God, may all temporal and spiritual good be given them.
The circumstances of his death are so fresh in our minds; I need not rehearse them here. He leaves behind three brothers, two in Cincinnati, Ohio and one here, Mr. D.H. Arnold; one sister, Mrs. Mollie Singleton, who lives in Missouri; besides a large circle of friends and acquaintances.
This is the end. We can all say farewell husband, father, brother, neighbor, friend. Days of peril and nights of watching are over. In the grave thy slumber will be undisturbed – long and solitary will be thy repose.
But at home there will be a vacant chairs; a voice husband; and they name always be spoken with mingled feelings of sadness and joy – sadness at they tragic end; joy at the fact that you died doing duty.
We shall miss you upon our streets; in the social circle, and in the happy throng. We, in parting with you, promise to throw around you the broad mantle of charity – forget your foibles, but imitate your virtues.
May the sweetest flowers bloom upon your grave; and, above all, may your name be embalmed in the memories of your friends. Requiescat in pace.