The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004 Page: 362
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
military pensions. When the Civil War came along, the numbers of men
in uniform were so overwhelming and the casualties so staggering that
Congress had to completely rethink its policies. Catherine Arnold was an
unwanted and seemingly insoluble problem for the government, but
nobody could have predicted such a sad fate when she became Mrs.
Ripley Arnold is best known as the founder of Fort Worth in 1849, but
this was merely one accomplishment on the resume of this career mili-
tary officer. Born in Mississippi on January 17, 1817, Arnold was
appointed to West Point in 1834, graduating four years later, thirty-third
out of a class of forty-five, with a second lieutenant's commission. He was
assigned to the First Dragoons, who were then serving in Florida against
the Seminole Indians. He married his hometown sweetheart, Catherine
Bryant, on August 26, 1839. She was a "blue-eyed, brown-haired" lass,
just turned fourteen on the day of their wedding. Because her parents
opposed the union, the impetuous officer and his intended bride
eloped to tie the knot.2 In later years, as Catherine Arnold grew to wom-
anhood, she was described as "a beauty with a queenly carriage and a
well-educated mind," equally notable for her mellifluous voice.'
Lieutenant Arnold soon reconciled with his in-laws as his military
career soared. He was cited three times for bravery against the
Seminoles and received two brevet promotions raising him to captain's
rank. When the Mexican War came in 1846 he was on recruiting duty
for the army, but was quickly recalled to active service and sent to Texas
with the Second Dragoons. He fought with both Zachary Taylor in
northern Mexico and Winfield Scott on his campaign against Mexico
City. He served as chief of staff to both Taylor and Gen. David Twiggs,
and was always ready for any dirty job that needed to be done, but
served most of his time in the Quartermaster's Department. Along the
way his captaincy was confirmed, and he received another brevet promo-
tion to major after the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, the
rank by which he was known the rest of his career.4
In 1849 Arnold arrived in Texas with the Second Dragoons to hold
the frontier, which at that time was a line roughly down the center of
the state. He was part of the command of Maj. Gen. William Jenkins
"Major Arnold's Life Adventurous ...," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Oct 30, 1949, Centennial
edition, Histoncal section, p. 3.
1 Ibid. For "beauty," see Julia Katherine Garrett, Fort Worth: A Frontier Tnumph (Austin- Encmo
Press, 1972), 8o (based on numerous oral history interviews with Fort Worth old-timers).
" Because he was a regular army officer and served in the antebellum or "old" army, Arnold
has no "Compiled Service Record." A barebones summary of his service is found in George W.
Cullum, Biographical Regzster of the Officers and Graduates of the US Mzlatary Academy, 1802-189o
(3rd rev ed.; 3 vols.; Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1891), I, 722-723
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004, periodical, 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/m1/420/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.