John W. Arthur Biography


This biography appears on page 1791 in "History of South Dakota" by Doane Robinson, Vol. II (1904) and was scanned, OCRed and edited by Maurice Krueger,


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JOHN W. ARTHUR, one of the representative business men of Webster, Day county, is a native of the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was born on the 30th of June, 1858, being a son of Robert and Mary (Scott) Arthur, both of whom were born in Ireland. As a young man the father of our subject left his old home in the northern part. of the Emerald Isle and came to America, settling in Philadelphia, where he was for many years engaged in the coal business, becoming successful in his endeavors and continuing to reside in the fair old City of Brotherly Love until his death, which occurred in 1902, his wife having passed away in 1871.


John W. Arthur, the immediate subject of this review, completed the curriculum of the public schools in his native city and then entered Crittenden College, in the same city, where he was graduated as a member of the class of 1875. He then learned the drug business, with which he there continued to be identified until 1884, when he came to South Dakota, bringing a number of car loads of live stock and settling in Day County, where he continued to be engaged in the raising of stock for a number of years, after which he became identified with newspaper work. He purchased an interest in the Reporter and Farmer, published in Webster, South Dakota, and continued to be associated in its editorial and business management until 1901, when he disposed of his interests in the line. In 1898 he was appointed postmaster of Webster, retaining this incumbency until 1902, and giving a most satisfactory administration. Since that time he has been established in the real-estate business, controlling valuable farming and grazing lands in this section of the state, as well as improved and unimproved town property, and having at all times represented on his books many desirable investments. He is especially interested in realty in Webster, where he has built a large number of houses. In politics Mr. Arthur is a stanch and uncompromising advocate of the principles of the Republican party, and he has taken an active part in the promotion of its cause in the state of his adoption, having held membership on both the county and state central committees and been a delegate to the various conventions of his party. He is affiliated with the lodge and chapter of the Masonic fraternity and also with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.


In 1885 Mr. Arthur was united in marriage to Miss Clara F. McDougall, who was born in Sparta, Wisconsin, being a daughter of Peter and Elizabeth (Farrington) McDougall, who were born and reared in Maine, being representatives of stanch old colonial stock, while the records establish the fact that members of the Farrington family were soldiers of the Continental line during the war of the Revolution. Mrs. Arthur was summoned into eternal rest on the 29th of December 1897, and is survived by three children, Robert, Irene and Walter Scott. The elder son is now attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, being one of the youngest cadets in the institution. On the 30th of June 1903, Mr. Arthur wedded Mrs. Mary Ella Whitemore, of Stillwater, Minnesota.