Pages 191-192, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




DOUGLAS ARNETT, of Iola, father of the Iola Telephone Company and one of Allen county's pioneers, came to Iola in the fall of 1860. He was then a child of two years and was, then, the youngest member of his father's family. James B. Arnett, his father, began his westward migration from Pike county, Illinois, a few years before the Civil war, and went to Fort Smith, Arkansas. In this city our subject was born November 21, 1858. Being a man of the North the near approach of hostilities between the two opposing sections of our country caused him to return to the object of his sympathies hence, his advent to Kansas. J. B. Arnett was born in Pike county, Illinois, November 8, 1834, and was essentially a farmer until his removal to the Rocky Mountain country where the stock business has engaged his attention.

The paternal grandfather of "Doug" Arnett was John B. Arnett, who died in Fort Smith, Arkansas. His native state was probably Virginia. He emigrated westward to Pike county, Illinois, early in the history of that state and in 1858 took up his residence at Fort Smith, Arkansas. Of his ten children James B. Arnett was the tenth. The latter married, in Pike county, Illinois, Mary A., a daughter of William Mitchell. Mrs. Arnett died in Iola in September 1863, leaving an only child, J. Douglass Arnett. J. B. Arnett married for his second wife Hattie Barton. Their children are: Carrie, wife of William Mason, of Walla Walla, Washington; Ella, who married Jesse Brown and resides in Arizona, and Adda, wife of John Whitlow, of Arizona.

Doug. Arnett has carved out his own destiny. He has taken care of himself since he was fifteen years of age. He was small of his age, and fond of horses, and for a livelihood he rode races at the fairs and old settlers will remember the two familiar faces who jockied the steeds at Allen county's first fairs, viz: Doug. Arnett and Rice Todd. Whatever came in Doug's way to do whereby he could turn a dollar legitimately he took advantage of. While he worked he schemed and between the two he found it not a difficult matter, this bread-winning contest. At twenty-one years of age he married—made the only mistake of his life—and moved onto a farm in Linn county, Kansas. This vocation was too slow and plodding for his makeup and he returned to his old home and engaged in the dray business. Arnett's dray was about the first regular one on the streets of Iola. It was only an ordinary affair, for the business didn't justify any other, and he did the driving, loading and collecting all himself and was not at all busy. He engaged in the livery and bus business, later, and followed the two with some profit about fifteen months. He then took the


agency for the Standard Oil Company at Iola and expanded their business in Ailen[sic] and adjoining counties for nine years. Before severing his relations with the Standard people he had conceived the idea of establishing a telephone system in Iola and had actually installed the plant in 1898. He secured the franchise for the company in 1897 and started his exchange in his residence, on West Madison avenue, with forth-three 'phones. The grocery of C. M. Richards was the only patron in that line of business when he first started but the rapidity with which all the merchants got into line was remarkable. The business of the companay[sic] grew so rapidly that the domestic quarters were soon found to be too cramped and the exchange was moved into the Apple building on South Washington. It has now two hundred and fifty working 'phones and is keeping pace with the growth and extension of the city. In 1900 Harmon Hobart purchased a half interest in the system and the two partners constitute a worthy and popular company.

Mr. Arnett married his second wife, Lillie McKinley, in October 1897. Her father, J. B. McKinley, came from Pennsylvania to Kansas before the war and was a soldier in the Ninth Kansas.

Our subject is an Odd Fellow, a Pythian Knight and a Rebekah. His belief in woodcraft has led him to join that order, also.

Doug Arnett has been one of Iola's tenacious citizens. His efforts have always been rewarded here and aside from this fact he has always felt an interest in the city and her people. While he is in business for profit his earnings are not all devoted to his own use. He regards money only for the good that it will do, and, while he is not prodigal in his expenditures, any enterprise promising good for Iola receives his substantial support.

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