James Carter Arnold was the last City Marshall and the first Chief of Police of Dallas, an elective office. He was never defeated in an election until the time of his death in 1898. Chief Arnold was a son of William Bailey Arnold and Martha Bostwick. He was born at Wellington, Georgia, April 29, 1851.
He left Georgia in 1866 and went to Carroll County, Mississippi, where he worked on a farm. In 1871 he married Miss Callie Staples at Talladega, Alabama. They came to Texas in that year and Chief Arnold went into partnership with E. B. Winn, supplying beef to contractors who were building the first fourteen miles of railway from Longview west.
He then moved to Fort Worth and engaged in the same business. When the railroad suspended operations west of Dallas, he went into the grocery business. In 1874 he came to Dallas and was appointed Deputy City Marshall in 1879. In June 1881 he was appointed City Marshall.
The last week of January, 1898, Chief Arnold and his good friend. Dr. George W. Truett, Pastor of the First Baptist Church, went on a bird hunting trip near Corsicana. As Chief Arnold was climbing through a barbed wire fence, the rifle that Dr. Truett was holding accidentally discharged and the bullet hit Chief Arnold in the calf of the leg. A special train was sent from Dallas to take the chief home. On February 4, 1898, he died as the result of a coronary thrombosis.
Chief Arnold was a Mason and member of the Tannehill Lodge. He was a member of the Odd Fellows, Elks, and Knights of Pythias. At the time of his death his funeral was one of the largest ever held in the state, being attended by police chiefs from throughout the United States.
Chief Arnold and his wife had no children. He is buried at Greenwood Cemetery.
By Ruth A. Hibbard, Ph.D.