52 Ancestors: #1 Peter Ernest Arnold

Posted for the blog meme 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks hosted by Amy Johnson Crowe of No Story Too Small. With apologies to pre-2015 readers who may recognize content presented here, I am pressing the “redo” icon in order to present this family history account in a more ordered and coherent manner than previously. Rest assured, you will soon see new material.

My paternal grandfather, Peter Ernest Arnold, was born March 25, 1893 in Csaros, Torontal, Hungary.1 He was the youngest of three surviving children of Johan Arnold and Anna Oberding. Undocumented records indicate Johan Arnold died in December 1893. Anna (Oberding) Arnold subsequently married Johann Schwartz. The blended family, including Peter Ernest and his older sisters Maria and Anna and their stepbrother Peter Schwartz, immigrated to the United States in two phases. Johann Schwartz and Maria Arnold arrived at the Port of Baltimore in May 1903.2 Anna (Oberding Arnold) Schwartz, Anna Arnold, Peter Ernest Arnold, and Peter Schwartz arrived in New York in November 1904.3

Seated: Johann Schwartz and Anna (Oberding Arnold) Schwartz. Standing: Peter Schwartz, Anna Arnold, Maria Arnold, and Peter Arnold

Seated: Johann Schwartz and Anna (Oberding Arnold) Schwartz.
Standing: Peter Schwartz, Anna Arnold, Maria Arnold, and Peter Arnold

The Anna Schwartz contingent joined Johann Schwartz in Helena, Montana where he was working as a gardener at the County Hospital.4 The family eventually moved to the Stark County area of southwest North Dakota.

Peter Ernest Arnold and Magdalena Wehner were married at St. Pius Church in Scheffield, North Dakota on November 21, 1915.5


In 1918, Peter Arnold was listed as the owner of the southeast quarter of Section 12 in Township 139 of Range 95 West in Gladstone, Stark County, North Dakota.6 The family’s first home was a sod hut on a bluff overlooking the Northern Pacific Railroad line. Peter and Magdalena eventually built a 3-bedroom home in a valley below their original homesite. They parented 11 children, three of whom (thankfully) survive at this time. Magdalena died in 1930. Peter married Margaret Pfeiffer in 1934; their daughter Arlene was born in 1937.

Peter and Margaret retired to Gladstone in 1960. Peter died on November 3, 1964 in Dickinson, North Dakota. He is buried at St. Thomas Catholic Cemetery in Gladstone, North Dakota.

A personal memoir: Grandpa took great pride in the orchard he kept behind the family home. He had many apple trees and, as I recall, a few pear and cherry trees as well. Rhubarb and other fruits and vegetables grew along the fence line that separated the orchard from the rest of the property. During one visit to the farm, Grandpa and Grandma (Margaret) took my siblings and me along with them while they worked in the orchard. Grandma sent me back to the house to find some string so she could mend a broken branch on one of the trees. Not finding the requested string, I went back to the orchard to ask again where it would be. I saw Grandpa first and naturally asked him where the string was. When he asked me what I needed string for, I told him Grandma needed it to fix a tree. Nearing 65 years old at the time, Grandpa proved to be faster on his feet than I expected—I was quite surprised to see how quickly he made his way to where Grandma was so he could investigate and repair the damage himself!

Read more about Peter Ernest Arnold at Tangled Roots and On the Brink of Change.

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1 Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005, registration card for Peter Arnold, serial no. 967, North Dakota, Stark County, Roll: 1819496.
2 Ancestry.com. Baltimore, Passenger Lists, 1820-1948 and 1954-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006, entries for Johann Schwarz and Maria Arnold, arrived Baltimore, Maryland, 03 May 1903, aboard SS Neckar.
3 Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010, entries for Anna Schwarz, Anna Arnold, Peter Schwartz, and Peter Arnold, arrived New York, New York, 30 Nov 1904, aboard the SS Blucher.
4 R. L. Polk & Co.’s Helena City Directory, 1905, microfilm reprint, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011, 367, Schwartz, Hans.
5 Family record: marriage registration, St. Pius Church, Scheffield, North Dakota.
6 1918 Keiter Directory of Dickinson, North Dakota, microfilm reprint, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011, 151, Arnold, Peter.


6 thoughts on “52 Ancestors: #1 Peter Ernest Arnold

  1. Pingback: Peter Ernest Arnold (1893 -1964): His own land | Tidbits & Treasures

  2. This is going to be a fascinating series, I can tell already. I may not comment every time, but I’m definitely following along! I enjoy your writing very much, and the old photos add so much to the story.

  3. I love your photos! I look forward to reading more of your ’52 Ancestors’ posts. I’ve just joined the challenge, and I suspect that it will take me more than 52 weeks to complete the 52 posts. 🙂 But it’s a great way to review my research and plan my next steps – and of course, the posts are also cousin bait.

  4. How wonderful that you have been able to put together the story of their lives … It honours them and their dignity. Such a special photo of their wedding day …

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