John Arnold (1818-November 23, 1886) was born in Deal, New Jersey, to John and Ann Arnold. Between 1834 and 1840, Arnold made his living selling an effervescent root beer, after which, he spent the next 22 years in maritime enterprises. After some success in the Virginia timber trade, he built the Elizabeth C. Felter , a three-masted schooner and one of the fastest ships of its time. As Master of this ship, Arnold composed the logs that make up the bulk of this collection. Upon retiring from the shipping trade in the 1870s, Arnold moved to a rural farm in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, where he built the Arnold House. He was active in local business and residential development and was instrumental in bringing in a railroad that ran between Point Pleasant and New York City. He also constructed the first local roadway to the ocean and built a bridge over the Manasquan River.
He and his wife, Mary Conover (Forman) Arnold, had nine children: Amamda, Amelia, Horace, Thomas, Sarah, Elwood, Emily, Virginia, and Fannie.