In Memoriam: Rev. Isaac Arnold, Lincoln Memorial Cemetery

Rev. Isaac Arnold Lincoln Memorial Portsmouth
Rev. Isaac and Mattie Armstrong Arnold. Lincoln Memorial Cemetery, Portsmouth Va.

The “In Memoriam” series continues with a biography of Reverend Isaac Arnold (1867-1935), pastor of St. Thomas Baptist Church (1904), Portsmouth, Virginia.

Rev. Isaac Arnold Lincoln Memorial Portsmouth
Rev. Isaac Arnold (1867-1935).

“North Carolina has contributed many strong men of both races to the religious and educational life of Virginia. Among the leaders of the Baptist denomination who came from the Old North State must be mentioned Rev. Isaac Arnold, pastor of St. Thomas Baptist Church, Portsmouth.

He was born in Washington County, N. C., and there grew to manhood, dividing the days of his boyhood between the farm, on which he did all sorts of manual labor, and the short-term schools were he laid the foundation of his education. He was a steady boy whose mind turned toward the preaching of the Gospel at a very early age, even before his conversion.

New St. Thomas Baptist Church, Elm Ave., Portsmouth
New St. Thomas Baptist Church, Elm Ave., Portsmouth

The date of Rev. Arnold’s birth was November 10, 1867. His father, Jack Arnold, was the son of Sam Davenport, and his wife, Twenty Davenport. She was so named by her mother because she was the twentieth child born to her. Rev. Arnold’s mother, before her marriage, was Miss Anne Newberry, a daughter of Bill Arnold and Maria Newberry. The divergence in names is due to the fact that under slavery, the name of the slave usually followed that of the master.

On December 19, 1894, Rev. Arnold was happily married to Miss Mattie Armstrong, a daughter of Anderson and Angelica Armstrong, of North Carolina. Of the nine children born to them, eight are living. They are, Luther I., Eva G., Mary A., Johnnie W., Rose Lee, Lilly Bell, Moses, and James H. Arnold.

Little Piney Grove Baptist Church Virginia Beach
Little Piney Grove Baptist Church. Virginia Beach

When young Arnold was about fourteen years of age, he experienced the new birth and identified himself with the Zion Grove Baptist church, by which he was ordained to the full work of the ministry. Since then he has led an active life as a preacher, devoting his whole time to the ministry. All the early years of his ministry were spent in North Carolina, where he rose to some prominence in the denomination and was for one year Moderator of the Roanoke Missionary Baptist Association. His first pastorate was Bagley’s Chapel in Perquimans County, which he served for seven years. He preached at Alligator Chapel in Tyrrell County two years. He served the church at Columbia eight years and remodeled the house.

Divine Baptist Church, Chesapeake, Va.
Divine Baptist Church, Chesapeake, Va.

He pastored Chapel Hill three years and Second Baptist, Plymouth, two years. During a pastorate of ten years at Colerain, a new house of worship was erected. He also preached at White Oak Chapel in Chowan County, one year and Powell’s Point one year. His first week in Virginia was at Willow Grove, where he preached two years. He served Little Piney Grove in Princess Anne County, eighteen months, and built a church at a cost of about twelve thousand dollars. He pastored Divine Baptist Church at Deep Creek six years and remodeled the house and preached at Kempsville nine years. Being called to Mt. Zion on the Eastern Shore he served that congregation six years and built a church. A new church edifice was also built at Wachapreage where he served the Herbert Baptist Church. Of course, it will be understood that many of these pastorates overlapped, as frequently Rev. Arnold would be serving three or four churches at the same time. In 1917, he

Wachapreague Accomack Co. Va.
In Wachapreague, Accomack County, Va.

resigned his country work to accept the call of the St. Thomas Baptist Church at Portsmouth, which has taken on new life and has greatly prospered under his administration. He was called back to Deep Creek, which he gives an evening appointment and where he is very popular. He pastored First Baptist Church at Gilmerton, Va., six years with great success.

Rev. Arnold has done a great deal of evangelistic work and has been blessed with an unusually fruitful ministry. He has baptized at least three thousand into the membership of the church. Since moving to Portsmouth where he owns a comfortable home, he has been chosen president of the Baptist Ministers’ League of that city. He believes that the greatest needs of the race today are co-operation and self-confidence.

Rev. Arnold spent two years in the Albemarle Training School, Edenton, N. C., during which time he led his class. He completed in two years a course which held some others four years. Later, he was trustee of the same institution and was at one time a trustee of the Roanoke Institute at Elizabeth City, N. C. He believes in liberty and freedom for all men, and is of the opinion that the Gospel, and the Gospel alone, will bring universal peace. He does not think it can be brought about by man-made plans.” (Biography from The History of the American Negro and his institutions, by Arthur Bunyan Caldwell, 1921).

(Author note: Rev. Arnold and his wife, Mattie, lived on Summitt Avenue, Portsmouth. Mattie A. Arnold, a native of Belvidere, Perquimans County, North Carolina, passed on September 1, 1962. Her funeral, held at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, was conducted by Rev. E. W. Davidson of Noble Street Baptist Church. The Norfolk Journal and Guide noted that Mrs. Arnold was “a veteran member of Ebenezer Church and missionary society, and a member of Brighton-Truxtun Prayer Band and Sarai Tent 32.” – Norfolk Journal and Guide, September 15, 1962).

Atlanta, Georgia: In Memoriam, Alonzo Franklin Herndon, South-View Cemetery

Alonzo F. Herndon Gravestone South-View Cemetery Atlanta
Alonzo Franklin Herndon (1858-1927). South-View Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia
Alonzo F. Herndon,
Alonzo F. Herndon.

Alonzo Herndon, Wealthy Atlanta Man, Died July 21
From Barber to Insurance Head and Millionaire

Atlanta, Ga. – After an illness that lasted through several months Alonzo F. Herndon, president of the Atlanta Life Insurance Co., died at his late residence, 1 University place near Atlanta University on Thursday night July 21, aged 69 years, leaving an estate estimated at near $1,000,000.
Mr. Herndon came to Atlanta in 1882, and laid the foundation of his fortune by working at his trade as a barber. He later bought control of the Atlanta Mutual Insurance Co, an industrial benefit organization, which was expanded under his management into the Atlanta Life, a regular straight line insurance company.

Wise and conservative investments in Atlanta real estate contributed toward the building of his fortune. He was also president of the Southview Cemetery Association, providing a burial ground for members of his race.
He was born at Social Circle, a few miles from Atlanta, in 1858, and stayed there until 1882. Within three years, he was operating his own barber shop, and he was located first on Whitehall street in the old Markham House; then he moved to Marietta street and in 1902 he opened the shop at 66 Peachtree street the present main shop. He employed 42 barbers, and served only white customers.

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Beaufort, South Carolina: In Memoriam — Robert Smalls, Tabernacle Baptist Church Cemetery

Robert Smalls memorial Beaufort SC Copyright 2014 Nadia Orton
Memorial to Robert Smalls, Beaufort, South Carolina. Photo: Nadia K Orton, December 13, 2014.
Robert Smalls, ca. 1875. Library of Congress
Robert Smalls, ca. 1875. Library of Congress

On Tuesday, February 23, occurred the death of one of the race’s most noted characters, General Robert Smalls, in his seventy-sixth year of age. He had been sick for about ten months at his home on Prince street, and all the members of the family were around the bedside when the end came.

Born in Beaufort on April 5, 1839, he was a river pilot by profession. During the civil war he was used as pilot by the Confederates on a privateer, the Planter, which had been fitted out as a gunboat.

On May 13, 1862, Pilot Smalls took the Planter, which was being used as the special dispatch boat of General Ripley, the Confederate post commander at Charleston, from the wharf at which she was lying and carried her out of the Charleston harbor, under the Confederate guns, and delivered the vessel to Captain Nichols of the Federal ship Onward, one of the fleet of Federal ships blockading Charleston harbor at the time. He was put in charge of the gunboat Crusader as pilot, serving also on the Planter, and was in charge of the vessels during many engagements with Confederate forces, both naval and land. He was pilot on board the monitor Keokuk when that vessel was struck ninety-six times in the attack on Fort Sumter on April 7, 1863, sinking the next morning, just after Smalls and the crew had been taken off.

Saved Vessel When Captain Deserted Post

In December, 1863, Smalls was on the deck of the Planter, which was being piloted by Captain Nickerson. While passing through Folly Island Creek the Confederate batteries at Secessionville opened a hot fire on the vessel.

Nickerson deserted the pilot house and hid himself in the coal bunkers. When Smalls discovered that the captain had deserted the pilot house in a panic he took command of the boat and piloted her out of reach of the guns.

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