William L. Arnell was the son of James Morrison Arnell (1808-1850) of Maury County, Tennessee, and his wife Jane Frierson Mayes (1805-1854). Rev. Arnell was born in Goshen, New York, and served as the pastor of Zion Presbyterian Church in Maury County from 1832 to 1850.
Upon his father’s death, William’s older brother, Samuel Mayes Arnell (1833-1903) became his guardian, and thus is recorded as “parent or guardian” in the U.Va. Matriculation Books. Samuel M. Arnell was a leading Union supporter in Columbia, Tennessee, during the Civil War, and later served in the Tennessee legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives. (Zebley)
William attended the University of Virginia in session 33 (1856-1857), and studied Latin, Greek, Chemistry, and Moral Philosophy. He began a career as a lawyer, and is listed as such in the 1860 U.S. census, but on 5 Jul. 1861, volunteered to join the “Maury County Braves” at the behest of Andrew Jackson Polk. (Polk; U.S. Census) The Braves became Company F of the 1st Tennessee Cavalry Regiment of the CSA. (Garrett, 1970, p. 17; Thomas) He was a 3rd Lieutenant before he became ill of disease “and died at the home of his brother Samuel Mayes [Arnell].” (Garrett, 1970, p.17)
William never married. He is buried in the Zion Presbyterian Church Cemetery, in Maury County, Tennessee. (Findagrave.com)
(Note: W. L. Arnell’s birth date is from the U.Va. Matriculation Books and his death date is from Schele de Vere. I find it odd that there seems to be no military record of William L. Arnell in the official sources, and hope to spend more time researching this man.—Editor)
- Alexander, Virginia Wood & Rose Harris Priest. Maury County Tennessee marriage records, 1807-1837. The authors, 1962. http://files.usgwarchives.net/special/afas/volume2/vol2no4.txt
- Arnell tombstones, Zion Presbyterian Church Cemetery, in Zion, Maury County, Tennessee. Findagrave.com.
- Garrett, Jill K. & Marise P. Lightfoot, compilers. Maury County Chancery Court Records, 1810-1860. V.1, p. 6. 1965.
- Garrett, Jill K., editor. Confederate soldiers and patriots Of Maury County, Tennessee. 1970.
- Lightfoot, Marise P. & Evelyn B. Shackelford. They passed this way; Maury County, Tennessee, cemetery records. Published by the authors, 1964.
- “Maury County Court Minutes.” Historic Maury. Published by the Maury County Historical Society, Columbia, TN. v. 7, no. 2 (1971).
- Polk, William R. Polk’s folly ; an American family history. New York, Random House, 2000, p.270.
- Schele de Vere, Maximilian. Students of the University of Virginia; a semi-centennial catalogue. Baltimore, MD, 1878.
- Thomas, Frank D., ed. Maury County Tennessee, Confederate units formed in Maury County. (1998) http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~tnmaury/csacomp.htm
- “United States Census, 1850,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MCD5-RHH : 12 April 2016), Samuel M Arnell in household of Jane Arnell, Maury county, part of, Maury, Tennessee, United States; citing family 982, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
- “United States Census, 1860”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M8TV-N5V : 26 July 2017), W L Arnell in entry for O H P Bennett, 1860.
- University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
- Zebley, Kathleen R. “Unconditional Unionist: Samuel Mayes Arnell and Reconstruction in Tennessee. Tennessee Historical Quarterly v.53, no.4 (Winter 1994), p. 246-259.