The Scottish-American Arnett Family
About the Arnett Family
Anvil and Mary Biggs Arnett & Family, About 1905

Jacob Arnett of east Tennessee was born about 1755 and was the grandson of Ruth and Alexander Arnett of Loudoun County, Virginia. I suspect he was the son of Alexander Jr. and his wife Mary (or Margaret -- records have called her both names).  Jacob appeared in the tithables lists for the county in the home of his uncle Samuel after Alexander died, but disappears from the records in 1775, when he would have been about 20 years old. His whereabouts are unknown for about three years, but he next appears in the records of what would become Washington County, Tennessee.


About 1795, Jacob married Tabbitha Ray, widow of David Ray of Washington County, Tennessee. There is no record of their marriage uncovered so far, nor is there any indication of whether Jacob might have been previously married, although he would have been about 40 at the time of their marriage. Together they reared her Ray offspring and had two children of their own:Mary Arnett (who married Thomas Ray) and Jacob Arnett, Jr.


Jacob, Sr. owned land along Buffalo Creek  what became Grainger County, Tennessee. He farmed the land and served his community as a constable, juror, member of the local militia, and member of committees tasked with laying out roads before his death in the summer of 1825 at age 70 or so. Tabbitha survived him; at the time of the 1830 Census, she is believed to have been living with her son-in-law and daughter Angeline Ray Sparkman. The date of her death is unknown. While probate records were kept, the widow Tabbitha Arnett did not have a will and there were no death records recorded by counties then.


Tabbitha and Jacob's son Jacob Jr. was born about 1802. In 1819, he married Ann Coffee, the daughter of Meredith and Esther Coffee who arrived in Grainger County about 1798. Meredith was the son of John Coffee and his wife Dorcas Carter, who married in the Albemarle County, Virginia area. Jacob and Ann had several children: Nelson, Mira, William Andrew, James, Appaline, Ally Ann, and Amanda. Mira married Hamilton Davis, but died at a fairly young age, and her husband remarried to Jacob and Ann's daughter Amanda (the sister of his deceased wife, in other words), Ally Ann appears to have died as a young adolescent. Appaline married William Crain; son William  married Sarah Shockley; and James married  (1) Sarah Elizabeth Sparkman and (2) Mary Elizabeth Quinn. Nelson Arnett, my ancestor, married Eliza Caroline Watson, believed to be the daughter of William and Sarah Watson. Sarah Watson's maiden name may have been Wortham, but at this point I'd classify that as speculative.


Jacob Jr,, like his father, farmed his land in Grainger County and served his community in various capacities. At one point, he was a member of the local school board when his children attended school. In the mid-1840's, however, Jacob and his family moved to the Pulaski County, Missouri area, along with many of their friends and relatives from Grainger County. The reason for the exodus in unknown, but it was shortly after a murder trial involving some of their neighbors, a legal action in which Jacob and Ann were called to give testimony before the grand jury.


Nelson Arnett and Eliza Caroline Watson married in Grainger County, Tennessee in 1840. They accompanied Nelson's parents to Pulaski County and began raising their family.  Their children who survived to adulthood include: Sarah Ann, who married Robert Wynn(ancestors of Annette Crafton) ; Narcissa, who married Lon S. "Lee" Montgomery; William C., who married Elmira Rachel Bunch (they later moved to Wise County, Texas) ; Anvil James  who married Mary Biggs (my great-grandparents and the great-great grandparents of Kim Arnett-Ordonia) ; Perry Tolbert, who married Fannie Like Taylor; and Nelson -- whose nickname was "Bang," apparently because of an incident with a shotgun -- who married Rosa Beavers. Two other children died before reaching adulthood. Nelson farmed in central Missouri, apparently acquiring about 80 acres in Maries County before his death on March 21, 1869. Eliza survived him and is believed to have died on March 22, 1903 in Jane, McDonald County, Missouri, although no grave site has been located. Unfortunately, no state-mandated death records were kept until about 1910.


Nelson and Eliza's son Anvil James Arnett was born February 6, 1857 in Rolla, Phelps County, Missouri. In 1875, he married Mary Biggs, daughter of John J. M. Biggs and Dicy Reed (more concerning the Biggs family appears below), in McDonald County, Missouri. They were the parents of thirteen children, eleven surviving to adulthood: Leona m. (1) George Anderson, (2)Herbert Ewing ; Edward Cravens m. Nettie Briley (Kim Arnett-Ordonia's great-grandparents); Charles Brewster m. Clara Effie Anderson;  John William m. May Belle Mayo ; Cora Alice  m. William Otto Tichenor; Minnie Minerva m. (1) Edd Miller, (2) William Ward Kerns; Bessie Alma m. Edward Jerry Reasor; Anville James "Jim"  married Eva Mae Young; Audie Nelson "Jack"  m. Rhoda Esselstyn; Loren Lloyd m. Marie Mafie Rosencrans; and Dulah Crystal m. Frank Lambert.  Anvil and Mary and their children moved in the early 1900's to the Pacific Northwest, settling mostly in Washington and Oregon. They lived next door to Lloyd's sister Dulah and her husband Frank Lambert, so my dad and his sisters grew up playing with their three "Lambert" cousins.


Anvil died in Portland, Oregon on November 15, 1928. Mary survived him and lived in the family home with her youngest son, Lloyd and daughter-in-law Marie, and their three children (Loren, Beverly, and Dolores.) Daughter Dulah and son-in-law Frank Lambert lived next door and most of the adult children lived nearby. Mary Biggs Arnett died on June 4, 1939.    

Mary Biggs Arnett & husband Anvil James Arnett
Bess Arnett Reasor with daughter Ruth (Cole)
Charles B. and Effie Arnett
Norm Arnett - at home of grandparents Lloyd and Marie Rosencrans Arnett
Dulah Arnett (Lambert) and brother Jim Arnett
Dulah, Jim, Mabel (Mayo Arnett) and Mabel's husband John Arnett
Loren, Meri, and Betty Miller Arnett
Me as a baby