Benjamin I. Arnold
#19 - Sheriff Benjamin I. Arnold (aka Captain B.I. Arnold) was a native of Ohio, born in
the town of Carlisle, Clarke County, on February 3, 1841. He was raised in northern
Illinois, where his parents moved when he was young.
Before he reached his majority, he entered the Union army, enlisting September 2, 1861,
in the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, with which he began service at Fort Henry and served
until the surrender, taking part in all the engagements in which his command
participated, covering the States of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi,
Louisiana and Arkansas.
At the close of the war, his regiment was consolidated with the Twelfth Illinois, placed
under General Custer and sent to Texas as an army of occupation.
For about a year, Captain Arnold was stationed at Brenham, where he served in the
Freedmen’s Bureau Department.
In May, 1866, he quit the service and for two years engaged in farming in Washington
County, then in the mercantile business, which followed until March 1870, when he came
to Cameron to accept the office of Sheriff of Milam County under appointment of Edmund
Jackson Davis, then Governor of Texas. He was appointed on January 23, 1871, under
He held this office until January 3, 1873, discharging its delicate and difficult duties
acceptably both to the court and the people.
At the expiration of his term of office, he located permanently in Cameron, engaged in
business and has since made this his home.
For sixteen years, he conducted a successful real estate business and insurance business
(later known as Hefley-Stedman Insurance Agency).
He served two terms as Mayor of Cameron, and has been identified with every movement
looking to the improvement of the town and county.
He has fairly won his way to the confidence and esteem of the people of this locality by
his loyalty to them and their interests, and has established his reputation as a sound
man of business by the successes he has attained in his own affairs.
A republican in politics, his opportunities for political activity have been restricted
to the arena of conventions, where however he has been a constant attendant and an
effective worker. He is one of the lights of Republicanism in the State, but the
recipient of few favors from Federal authority, adherence to party being with him a
matter of principle and activity in its behalf without thought of personal gain.
On August 28, 1873, Sheriff B.I. Arnold married a local girl, Miss Mary C. Tucker (1852-
1920) of Cameron, a daughter of William II. Tucker, an old and respected citizen of
Milam County. Mrs. Arnold was reared this county, and is one of that type of Texas
women, not infrequently met with, who have grown to full maturity in sound sense and all
the essentials of true womanhood without the aid of those numerous accessories of
boarding schools and popular conservatories now thought to be so necessary to the proper
training of young ladies.
A pleasant home, graced by three daughters (Myrlie Katherine b.3/2/1875),(Mamie Arnold
Hefley), (Bennie Mabel Arnold) now promising young ladies, and a large circle of
friends, go to make the domestic life of Sheriff Arnold as happy as his official and
In 1890, the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway opened a station and it is reported in
the Handbook of Texas Online, that the community of Ben Arnold was named after Sheriff
Arnold’s youngest daughter, “Bennie Arnold”, who was the three-year-old mascot to ride
on the first train to pull into the new station.
On Thursday, February 14, 1895, while living in the old County Clerk’s office building,
fire nearly destroyed his residence. The mantle and ceiling over the fireplace caught
Sheriff Arnold died in 1899 and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Cameron.