Arnold Milner 1786 - 1869

The Cartersville American
Cartersville, Georgia
July 29, 1884, page 1
Transcribed by:  

Biographical Sketches.
No. 9.
Arnold Milner.
Born 1786 –Died 1869.

The subject of this sketch was born in Laurens district, South Carolina, in the year 1786. Though he resided in his native state until he was more than fifty years of age; he was, for nearly a quarter of a century, a citizen of Cass (now Bartow) county. The occasion of his removal from South Carolina to Georgia was his ill-health. Having suffered from dyspepsia for several years, and failing to obtain relief from a temporary residence in the mountains of North Carolina, he was advised by his physicians, to move to some place where he could avail himself of the free use of lime water. Accordingly, he visited North Georgia; and finding lands owned by Lewis Tumlin and E. D. Puckett jointly, and near what was known at the time as the Sallie Hughes’ ford on the Etowah river, he made a purchase of the lands on which it was situated, and removed to the place, with his family, arriving there in the month of December 1834. The country being at that time inhabited by the Cherokee Indians, with only an occasional family of Anglo-Saxon descent, he, after one year’s residence on his farm, in order that he might secure church and school privileges, removed to Cassville, where he lived for a few years as the proprietor of the States Right’s Hotel. In the meantime, having added to his first purchase some of the adjoining lands, erected a residence near the ferry then owned by Pitner, attained his object of educating his younger children, and the Indians having been removed by the federal government, his simple and retiring habits caused him to return to his beautiful and fertile farm on the Etowah. Here, in rural quietude, he spent the remainder of his days, and here, on a rocky knoll, near the railroad bridge, his mortal remains lies buried. As to his ancestry, Mr. Milner was of English extraction. His father having emigrated from England, first settled near Lynchburg, Virginia, where he remained until 1770, at which time he removed to South Carolina. In the memorable struggle for independence he was a rebel. His family consisted of five sons and one daughter, namely: William, John, Thomas, Arnold, James, and Elizabeth. Fathers and sons were all tillers of the soil. Thomas, James and Elizabeth (who married Wm. Franks), died without issue. William, John and Arnold left large families.

Arnold Milner was twice married; first to Miss Lucy Rodgers, and afterwards to Miss Isabella Saxon. From his last marriage there was no issue, from the first, there were six children – a daughter and five sons, viz: Emeline, Henry, Richard, Andrew, James, William and Thomas. Emeline was the first wife of Samuel R. Todd, a merchant in Laurens, South Carolina. Henry, now a resident of Florida, has devoted his time and attention to farming, mining, and military. During the war, he was a captain in Forrest’s regiment of cavalry. Richard A., originally a lawyer, spent the last twelve years of his short life as a minister of the gospel. At the time of his death, in 1855, he was the pastor of the Presbyterian church at Cartersville. His professional mantle has fallen upon his youngest son, Thomas W. Milner, and his clerical, upon his eldest, William A. Milner. James, a successful lawyer, was appointed judge of the Cherokee circuit, by Charles J. Jenkins, in 1866, and was afterwards elected to that position by the people. He died in Cartersville in 1869. William, until recently a citizen of Bartow county, has followed mercantile, agricultural and manufacturing pursuits. Thomas who enjoyed the reputation of being a good physician, died when he was quite young.

The avocation of Arnold Milner was that of a farmer; but in connection with his planting interest, when twenty-four years of age, he engaged in the mercantile business five miles west of Laurens court house. Subsequently, having discontinued business at that point, he was interested in a partnership business for three years at Abeville court house, from which, however, he withdrew and devoted his entire time and means to agriculture. In those days, tobacco was extensively cultivated in upper South Carolina, the product being put into hogsheads in the leaf, and wheeled to market at Charleston, some two hundred miles distant. After the building of the railroad from Charleston to Hamburg, cotton was raised instead of tobacco; but Mr. Milner always diversified his crops and usually had corn and meat to sell. After he came to Georgia, with exception of the time that he lived at Cassville, his thoughts and his energies were given to his farm. In 1835, a measured acre upon his farm produced sixty-five bushels of corn. That same year an experiment with cotton led him to cultivate grain exclusively. He planted two acres of cotton in an Indian field on the river bank. The weed grew luxuriantly and fruited well, but scarcely one boll in a thousand ever opened. He raised excellent wheat crops, and these he enlarged as the faculties for marketing increased. His surplus corn was fed to hogs, which, for several years, he drove to market in lower Georgia.

Though never an aspirant for office, Arnold Milner always manifested a lively interest in municipal, state, and federal affairs. He belonged to the State’s Rights Party and was in favor of nullification with co-operation. When Clark ran for governor against Troup, he was a supporter of Troup. When the know nothing party was organized, he was a staunch democrat.

As his means gradually accumulated –slowly at first – he invested in lands and negroes. From the natural increase of these and the rapid enhancement of those, together with the valuable products of the former, and the well-directed labor of the latter, he amassed a handsome property. When he started in life, he had but a meager portion of this world’s goods. When he came to Georgia he was worth about fifteen thousand dollars. When he died, at the age of seventy-four, his estate was valued at one hundred and thirty thousand dollars.

With the aid of a few neighbors, he succeeded in building a house of worship near his residence on the river, immediately after he returned from Cassville. Here was organized the Friendship Presbyterian church, of which he was elected a ruling elder. Here he witnessed the ordination of his son, Richard A., to the gospel ministry; and here he buried his departed loved ones. But when the State Road was constructed, several Presbyterian families having settled near Cartersville, it was thought best that they should all unite and build a church at that place, which was just beginning to grow. Mr. Milner was one of the leading spirits in this movement, as also one of the largest contributors. The result of this arrangement and effort was, the erection of the present Presbyterian church, and the organization of a new church, which, however, still retains the name of Friendship church, at Cartersville.

With reference to the character of Arnold Milner, the foregoing sketch affords a pretty good index. His success in life marks him out as a man of clear perception, and of industrious and economical habits. His standing and his activity in the church of his choice bespeak him a man of integrity, piety and benevolence. But there are men still living who remember him as a good citizen, a true friend, a consistent Christian – an upright man. Judge A. R. Wright, who knew him well, says: “He was firm as a rock where principle was involved; but as meek and non-resisting as a child upon matters indifferent.” Again he says: “No man stood higher in North Georgia than he, in every element of a true Christian manhood.” Another gentleman speaks of him in these words: “I have known him from my boyhood, and I have been intimately connected with him in many of the relations of life, and I can truthfully say, I have never known a more honest, pure, truthful and independent man than Arnold Milner. He left his children a large legacy in money and property; but, in my opinion, he left them a far greater legacy in a pure, honest and spotless life.”


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