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Statue of Mai. Ripley Arnold


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#1 John S.

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 08:50 AM

According to our local newspaper: Ripley Arnold Statue article $200,000 from Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. is already pledged and the statue may be placed in Heritage Park or Paddock Park near the original fort site. A potential problem is determining what Major Ripley Arnold really looked like. The only image said to be of Arnold is in a museum collection but there is considerable controversy as to whether it is actually of Arnold or not. Maj. Arnold died in 1853.

#2 djold1

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 09:43 AM

This is good news about the money. I personally think that Arnold's statue should be placed in Paddock Park since this is really the most appropriate place. I had not heard of the idea of developing Paddock park as part of the redevelopment of the Heritage park on the bluff, but that sounds good as well.

With the TRV access being across Paddock Viaduct, I think some very careful work needs to be done on planning the area around the south bridge approach. So far the traffic planning on this area seems to be nil and there are going to be some terrible problems with the streets and parks in the whole area north of the Courthouse if attention is not given to this are immediately.

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#3 Keller Pirate

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 02:41 PM

According to our local newspaper: Ripley Arnold Statue article $200,000 from Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. is already pledged and the statue may be placed in Heritage Park or Paddock Park near the original fort site. A potential problem is determining what Major Ripley Arnold really looked like. The only image said to be of Arnold is in a museum collection but there is considerable controversy as to whether it is actually of Arnold or not. Maj. Arnold died in 1853.

Let's dig him up and see what he really looks like.

#4 lyleswk

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:53 AM

:roflol:

#5 John S.

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 12:05 PM

[/quote]
Let's dig him up and see what he really looks like.
[/quote]

I think Maj. Arnold's body has been exhumed before. He was shot on the post (Fort Belknap?) in 1853 and buried there but in the 20th century his grave was opened up and the body exhumed and moved to Pioneers Rest Cemetery on Samuels Avenue, in Fort Worth. Not sure if any photos were taken of the remains at that time. I'm fairly certain some photos were taken during his lifetime but tracking them down now (150 years or more later) would be almost impossible assuming any still exist.

#6 djold1

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 12:14 PM

Shot at Fort Graham (Now under Lake Whitney) during a private argument with the post doctor. He may have been a good soldier & founded Fort. Worth, but he was not an angel by any means...

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Website: Antique Maps of Texas
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#7 AndyN

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 01:38 PM

I recall reading that he was a friend of French immigrant Adoplhus Gouhenant (Gounah) who was a Daguerreotypist. It seems highly plausible that there is a photo of the Major somewhere to be found if it is not the one already cited.
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#8 John S.

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 10:30 AM

I recall reading that he was a friend of French immigrant Adoplhus Gouhenant (Gounah) who was a Daguerreotypist. It seems highly plausible that there is a photo of the Major somewhere to be found if it is not the one already cited.


Gouhenant was a multi talented individual, an artist as well as medical doctor. Besides being a close friend of Major Arnold, he was helpful during the cholera epidemic in 1850; realizing contamination was to blame for the outbreak, he had a water well dug for safe drinking water. It was known locally as the "Frenchman's Well" and was a local historical site until recent times. When Maj. Arnold's two children succumbed to cholera in 1850, Gouhenant helped make a native stone tombstone for them which still stands in Pioneers Rest and is marked "1850". It was the beginning of this historic cemetery and is one of the few artifacts that date back to the days of the Fort. Gouhenant later owned a drinking establishment downtown colorfully decorated with his artworks. As noted, the street named "Gounah" off Samuels Avenue is named (with the phonetic spelling) after the early pioneer Frenchman. Gouhenant once owned a parcel of land in the area.

#9 John S.

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 10:38 AM

Shot at Fort Graham (Now under Lake Whitney) during a private argument with the post doctor. He may have been a good soldier & founded Fort. Worth, but he was not an angel by any means...


Thanks for the correction. Angels and Philadelphia "dandy" types had no place on the raw frontier that Fort Worth was in the early 1850's. Refinement and genteel city life were still several decades away. Only true survivalist pioneer types called Fort Worth their home back then. Fighting, hard drinking, and being quick on the draw with a gun were facts of life in those days.

#10 AndyN

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 11:54 AM

Gouhenant later owned a drinking establishment downtown colorfully decorated with his artworks. As noted, the street named "Gounah" off Samuels Avenue is named (with the phonetic spelling) after the early pioneer Frenchman. Gouhenant once owned a parcel of land in the area.


Dr. Gounah came to town as part of a group of Frenchmen intending to settle the Icarian Colony in Peters Colony and was one of the few who stayed. He was awarded a 3rd Class land grant which is 160 acres at the confluence of the forks of the Trinity River. As I recall the drinking establishment, Gouhenant's Arts Saloon, was actually in Dallas, as the likely polymath did tend to move around. I heard an anecdote that Arnold actually visited the Dallas establishment on at least one occasion.

I think Gouhenant would be the basis of a great history based movie.
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#11 John S.

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 11:25 AM


Gouhenant later owned a drinking establishment downtown colorfully decorated with his artworks. As noted, the street named "Gounah" off Samuels Avenue is named (with the phonetic spelling) after the early pioneer Frenchman. Gouhenant once owned a parcel of land in the area.


Dr. Gounah came to town as part of a group of Frenchmen intending to settle the Icarian Colony in Peters Colony and was one of the few who stayed. He was awarded a 3rd Class land grant which is 160 acres at the confluence of the forks of the Trinity River. As I recall the drinking establishment, Gouhenant's Arts Saloon, was actually in Dallas, as the likely polymath did tend to move around. I heard an anecdote that Arnold actually visited the Dallas establishment on at least one occasion.

I think Gouhenant would be the basis of a great history based movie.


Agreed. The early frontier settlement was largely by people who sometimes did not fit in perfectly in more established areas. Gouhenant must have really stood out. When we look at the founders of the State of Texas, many of them would be correctly described as "characters" with very colorful backgrounds. Come to think of it, a lot of Texans still fit that description. 'nuff said.

#12 M C Toyer

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 02:31 AM

Clay Perkins thoroughly researched the National Archives for his The Fort in Fort Worth, Cross Timbers Heritage Publishing Co (2001), and didn't mention a photograph of Ripley so probably there was not one there.

Given the rate of putrefaction in Texas and that embalming capabilities would not have been available on the frontier in 1853 Gouhenant or any other daguerreotypist would have to have been present within just a few days of Ripley's death to have captured an image and would have to dig him up as burials took place almost immediately.

I'm not sure that Gouhenant even had the necessary equipment and supplies that early. I believe those arrived with the La Reunion colonists in Dallas in 1855 and Gouhenant acquired that skill from colonist Dr Augustin Savardan.

Gouhenant did capture one deathbed image, that of Alexander Cockrell, who was mortally wounded in a gunfight with the Dallas City Marshall Andrew Moore in April 1858. Cockrell was a leading citizen of the town having purchased it from John Neely Bryan five years earlier and had already established a bridge across the Trinity, a lumber mill, a brick yard, and was nearing completion of a three story brick hotel.

This is the same Alexander Cockrell who had unsuccessfuuly sued Gouhenant over an abandoned lot. Gouhenant's willingness to take the deathbed daguerreotype is a testament to the iron will of Cockrell's widow. Sarah Cockrell took over her late husbands role and became a very successful businesswomen in her own right, albeit somewhat behind the scenes. She also prevailed in a lawsuit against her husband's killer whose unpaid debts were probably behind the gunfight, though he was cleared of any offense for that.


I also think a well written and comprehensive account of Adolphe Gouhenant is long overdue. Some of his descendants still live in Dallas.

There is a good overview and excellent bibliography here: Gouhenant


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#13 rusk

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 05:01 PM

There is a photo of a daguerreotype of Major Arnold and Catherine Arnold in Richard F. Selcer's book Fort Worth Characters. It's on page 4.




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