GEORGE WASHINGTON ARNETT. Although he has passed his eighty-second year on life's journey, George Washington Arnett, who is now living retired in Carlinville, is greatly interested in the continued development of Macoupin county, having been a resident of this county since 1834. He has been a witness of the changes from the wild prairie to the beautiful farms, dotted with homes, which are supplied with all the comforts of modern life. It is doubtful whether there is any other man in the county who is more familiar with the progress of this section than Mr. Arnett.
He was born in Overton county, Tennessee, near Monroe, June 24, 1829, and comes of pioneers on both sides of the house, being a son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Reeder) Arnett. The father was a native of North carolina and the mother of Virginia. In 1829 he removed with his family from Tennessee to Illinois and engaged in farming for two or three years in Morgan county, near Jacksonville. He then moved to a farm near Waverly, where he also spent several years, at the end of which time he came to Macoupin county and settled in Bird township becoming the owner of about two hundred acres of land there. He died in 1874, at the age of about seventy years. His wife died in 1863, being then about fifty-eight years of age. He was a member of the Methodist church while his wife held membership in the Presbyterian church. An industrious and progressive citizen, he was always willing to perform his part in forwarding the interests of the community and served for a number of years as justice of the peace and also as township treasurer. In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Arnett were twelve children, nine of whom grew to maturity: Nancy, who married Holiday Peebles and is now deceased; Martha, who became the wife of William Wiggins and is also deceased; George Washington, the subject of this review; John H., who is deceased; Sarah, who married George Wallace and is deceased; Paschal L., of Wichita, Kansas; James, deceased; Thomas, also deceased; and William, a resident of Oregon.
The paternal grandfather of our subject was John Arnett, who was a native of North Carolina and of Scotch descent. He engaged in farming and was also a blacksmith. He married Rebecca Comer and moved to Tennessee, but in 1833, settled in Morgan county, Illinois, where they continued during the remainder of their lives. Mr. Arnett died at the age of sixty-two and his wife at the age of seventy-six years. In their family were twelve children, among whom were William, Thomas, John, Peter, Mary, Susan, Sarah, Nancy, Rebecca and Martha. The maternal grandfather of our subject was Jeptha Reeder. He was a native of Virginia but moved to Tennessee and in 1833 came to Illinois and settled in Western Mound township, Macoupin county, where he continued until his death. Which occurred when he was sixty-two years old. His wife was Winnie Fritty Harrison. She lived to the age of seventy-six years and was the mother of twelve children, eleven daughters and one son, five of whom died in early childhood, the others being Nancy, Elizabeth, Brown, Margaret, Martha, Rebecca, and Paschal L. The great-grandfather of our subject on the maternal side was James Harrison.
At the age of three months George W. Arnett was brought by his parents to Morgan county, Illinois, and he has lived in Macoupin county since he was five years of age. He grew to manhood in Bird township, where he possessed advantages of attendance at the old-fashioned subscription school. At twenty-one years of age he began working out by the month and then rented land for two years, which he cultivated on his own account. Having acquired sufficient capital, he purchase ninety acres of land and built a comfortable home, devoting his attention to such good purpose as a farmer and stock raiser that he became the owner of two hundred and fifty acres in this county. Since 1889 he has lived at Carlinville, retired.
On the 14th of October, 1852. Mr. Arnett was married to Serena Elizabeth Lasiter, a daughter of Enoch and Charity (Hill) Lasiter, and four children have been born to this union: Viola, of Carlinville, who is the widow of Elra P. Deeds and the mother of two children; Walter and Mary; Horace W., who married Mary Wills and died at the age of twenty-two years; Lilly M., who became the wife of H. C. Wilhite, of Greenfield, Illinois, and has one son, George M.; and George B., a record of whom appears elsewhere in this work. Mrs. Arnett was born in Greene county, Illinois, February 3, 1836. Her parents were natives of Tennessee, her mother having been born near Nashville. They came to Illinois among the pioneers that settled in Greene county and the father died there when he was about thirty-five years old. He was the father of six children, Eliza Ann, Serena Elizabeth, Mary Ellen, Almira, Matida Jane and a son who was killed by a tree falling on him when he was eight years old. Mrs. Lasater married a second time, her husband being John Courtney, and they came to Macoupin county and settled in Bird township, where she died when she was about sixty-eight years. By her second marriage she became the mother of two children who lived to maturity: Carroll C., of Waverly; and Cyrus B., of Carlinville. The grandfather of Mrs. Arnett on the paternal side was Stanford Lasater, who married a Miss Copeland, and the grandfather on the maternal side was Abner Hill, a native of North Carolina. His wife was Anna Johnson. They were pioneers of Bird township, Macoupin county, and were the parents of ten children, among whom were Mary, Anna, Charity, William, Robert, Abner, Lewis and Thomas.
Mr. and Mrs. Arnett accept the Bible as a divine revelation and are both consistent members of the Baptist church. In politics Mr. Arnett affiliates with the democratic party. Recognizing his duties as a citizen, he filled most of the township offices during his active years, serving with general satisfaction to the people as supervisor, assessor, collector, school trustee and school director. Throughout life he has had an abiding sense of justice and honor and he has always aimed to follow the principles of the golden rule, thus earning the confidence of neighbors and of all who have had the honor of his acquaintance. As a result he is one of the most respected and venerated men in Macoupin county.