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Bed & Breakfast s

The Arnott House

A bed and breakfast in Spencer, WV.

More on their website: http://thearnotthouse.com/

REBIRTH OF THE ARNOTT HOUSE

Arnott House


Spencer WV’s Bed & Breakfast

Compiled from information from Ernie and Rose Marie “Toots” Somervill. Ernie is the grandson of Rex Arnott. His Mother was Ernestine Arnott Somervill.

by Susan J. Myers

I believe there ought to be a blessing for those who look at an old building and see potential. Such visionaries see the value of preserving history instead of razing a house and putting up modern shell. It is often so much easier (and less expensive) to replace rather than restore, but new buildings don’t have a soul.

Greg and Dilya Sutton chose to move to Spencer WV with their son Vasiy from Chestertown Maryland. After a career in construction, they decided to pick up a hammer one more time to restore yet another home, buying the Arnott house on Parkersburg Road and turning this magnificent old home into a Bed & Breakfast.

The present house replaced the original home/farm that was there for 125 years. It was home to Rex Arnott, his wife Mida (Cleavenger), and his four daughters: Ernestine, Geneva, Henrietta, and Betty, as well as, son Bill. (Geneva became a teacher at the Fairview School in Clover.) Bill was the last Arnott to live in the house. Next to the house was the family business. Across the street was a garage-filling station.

The family business was Arnott Supply that lasted so long it became Spencer’s oldest business. It was in continuous operation from 1872 to 1997. The family patriarch Grandfather Henry Mathew Arnott returned from imprisonment at Andersonville GA during the Civil War (see accompanying story),
There was Grandfather Henry, then his son Rex, and then his son Bill who was the Uncle of Ernie Summervill.

The first business was a blacksmithing shop and the building of wagons and buggies. A receipt from an order from the GOSHEN BUGGY TOP CO, Goshen Indiana, dated April 01, 1912, shows that a Goshen rubber tire outfit was $20.00; a NO. 92 double jet torch was $5.00; one set of channel tire swags was $2.00: with a 50 cent discount the total bill was $26.50. The bill was paid May 07, 1912. Next the business became the source of Firestone tires, lasting to claim the distinction of being the oldest Firestone dealer in the world. The tires were solid rubber with a wire in the middle to hold them on the rim. In one family picture Ernie’s parents are on their way to Oklahoma to find oil field work- hanging on the back of the car are 4 spare tires. Ernie loaned a portrait of Harvey Firestone to Jack Garrett’s Ford dealership, and it hangs today in the Firestone tire division. Harvey is a hunk,..could have been Indiana Jones.

In 1914 Rex Arnott and a partner bought a Chevrolet and Oldsmobile dealership which operated until 1936. They started with five cars. Ernie remembers getting up early in the morning to move cars when he was so small he could hardly reach the pedals.

In 1922 new car prices listed:
Roadster $510
Touring $525
Utility Coupe $680
4-passenger coupe $840
Sedan $860
Model G Truck Chassis $650
Model T Truck Chassis $1, 095

In its next life the business became an auto parts company. Until the end of WWII the store offered auto glass, paints, tools, and window glass.

Rex also became a locksmith. The business cards offered Rogers silverware to customers; one card was given for each 25 cents cash sale and on accounts paid promptly.

By 1973 the store evolved into a lock smithing business, GM car paints, house paints, and custom glass for homes and cars with son Bill working with his Father to learn lock smithing techniques.

Now, after this rich history, the Arnott house will accommodate guests who visit Roane County. The family would be proud to see their family residence welcoming guests into a home full of memories.

 

Statement of William Arnott

A citizen of Roane County WV.
(???????) Prison, Alexandria VA

April 29, 1865

I went to Parkersburg WV, April 22, 1865, for the purpose of getting my son-Henry M. Arnott’s furlough renewed. After reporting to the Provost Marshal in Parkersburg, he arrested me, for my son, and sent me to this place for trial. I am the father of Henry M. Arnott who is but twenty years of age, only 5 feet 5 inches high and whose (can’t read). I am that of surname is different from mine.

I tried to reason with the Provost Marshall, but he would not listen to me.

I have two sons in the Union Army –one a veteran and the one for whom I was arrested, (who) was taken prisoner at Floyd Mt. VA by the rebels, May 13, 1864, and paroled and sent to Camp Parole at Anapolis. He was a prisoner 6 months and 12 days before he was paroled and was much exhausted when he reached Anapolis. He received a sick furlough from Camp Parole (?) on the 16th of December 1864. In 30 days and came to my home in Roane County WV.

On the expiration of his furlough, he was unable to travel. His family physician gave him an extension, but not hearing from it, he got frightened about it, and requested me to go to the Provost Marshal and report his case. I went to him and was arrested as stated. I am 49 years of age 5ft 9 1/2 years and have a large family at home depending on my labor for support. I have been a loyal man from the commencement of this war. I have suffered from rebel marauders and now think it is hard to be held in confinement under a false charge, and all because an officious government would not take the trouble to investigate my case. I hope the authorities will attend to my case at once and give me transportation back to my home as I was brought here without my consent. My farm is suffering for want of proper attention. I have given my boys to the service freely and had I more all would be sent to its support. I am here among strangers, and if I am turned loose, could not get home for want of means.

I wish my boys honorable discharges from the services, and would not have it otherwise for any sum of money. If my boy had been able to travel, he would have reported on the expiration of the furlough attached to this paper.

MEMORANDUM FROM PRISONER OF WAR RECORDS

Arnott, Henry M. Captured at Floyd Mt. VA May 19, 1864. Sent to Andsersonville.

Paroled at Savannah GA November 26th. Admitted to hospital December 01, 1864 & Furloughed Dec. 16th 1864 for 30 days –to report at Camp Chase Ohio.

19 yrs. 5’7 ½ inches complexion-fair eyes blue hair light born Monroe County VA farmer.
ENLISTMENT October 22 1863 Spencer WV by W. Spencer term 3 years

MISSING IN ACTION May 09, 1864, at Battle of Lloyd Mountain
Henry married Matilda McMullen of Spencer WV. They moved to Racine OH for 14 years, having eight children; one of whom was Rex.In 1882 they returned to Spencer and started a wagon (carriage) shop, becoming a wheelwright.

*spelling as in original document.

 

THE ARNOTT WHO BURIED LINCOLN

Information verified by Ruby Arnott Beard of Silver Springs MD whose uncle was Jesse Arnott. The Roane County Arnotts trace their heritage to Monroe County WV (Virginia before 1863).

Jesse Arnott was born in Monroe County, November 15, 1812, the son of William Truesdale and Mary (Garten) Arnott. Jesse married Mary Elizabeth Handley, a sister of his step-mother, who was Lucy Handley.

Mr. Jesse Arnott was a deeply religious man as cited in an article in the Monroe County Watchman at the time of his death. Mr. Asbury C. McNeil wrote: “He was converted, to use his own words, from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet…when about 16 years of age at a camp meeting held on the Centerville (now Greenville) Methodist church lot. His whole life was in exact harmony with his conversion. Jesse told a reporter that family devotions had never been neglected in his house during all the long years of his marriage.

He moved to St. Louis Missouri in 1837 and had a livery and undertaking business. It was there he was chosen to bury President Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Arnott was a staunch Democrat , and when first approached with burying Lincoln, he refused. Then he reconsidered and accepted the honor as a true gentleman.

We read of the final stage of the funeral cortege in a small volume, “Abraham Lincoln, His Life, Public Services, Death and Funeral Cortege, with a History and Description of the National Lincoln Monument”, by John Carroll Power, Springfield IL, 1875. In Springfield IL, “As soon as the funeral car came along side the depot, the coffin was transferred to the beautiful hearse which had been tendered for the occasion by Messrs. Lynch and Arnott of St. Louis, through Mayor Thomas of that city , and accepted by Mayor Dennis of Springfield.” The hearse was built in Philadelphia, at the cost of about six thousand dollars, and was larger than the ordinary size. After the offer (of burying Lincoln) was accepted, the undertakers had it ornamented with a silver plate engraving with the initials A.L. around which was a silver wreath, with two inverted torches and thirty-six silver stars, representing the states of the union. It was drawn by six superb black horses, draped in morning, wearing plumes and crests. The horses were owned by Messrs. Lynch and Arnott and were driven on this occasion by Mr. Arnott without the aid of grooms.

Mr. Anderson Arnott, a brother of Jesse, had his own livery business in the same area. Anderson was the first person to carry the mail from the Atlantic to the Pacific, finally selling out to Pony Express.

Jesse died May 11, 1896, at his sister Martha’s home on Wolf Creek, Monroe County WV. His daughter took him to St. Louis where he was buried among friends and relatives in Bellefontane Cemetery to await the resurrection of the just.