Col. James Arbuthnot was born at Greenfield, Ohio, September 3, 1841. He served seventeen months as an enlisted man in Company E, 91st O. V. I. He was made Second Lieutenant of the 19th U. S. Infantry, December 18, 1863, and was afterwards promoted to First Lieutenant and Adjutant of his regiment. He was badly wounded at the battle of the "Mine" in front of Petersburg, Virginia, July 30, 1864. He resigned January 23, 1866, and at once moved to Brookfield, Missouri, and engaged in farming. He studied law in the office of Judge W. H. Bromler and Hon. S. P. Huston, of Brookfield, Missouri, and since his admission has been engaged in the practice of his profession except from 1883 to 1885, when he was postmaster at Brookfield. He was elected Representative from Linn County, in the Thirty-fourth General Assembly of Missouri in 1866 as a Republican when the county was strongly Democratic. He served three terms as City Attorney of Brookfield, at the time the city was establishing electric lights and waterworks. In 1882, he organized a company of National Guards at Brookfield, Missouri, and was Captain for several years. His company competed in a number of prize drills and never failed to take the prize.

In 1891, in the organization of the Fourth Regiment of Missouri National Guards, he was elected Colonel and held that position until he resigned. The regiment he organized went into the service of the United States during the Spanish War.

On the third of July, 1867, he was married to Sarah E. Beemer. He has been for thirty-two years a member of the Presbyterian Church at Brookfield, Missouri, in which his wife and five children are all members.

He is an intelligent and high-minded man of unusual attainments and breadth of knowledge. He has taken, and takes, an active interest in public affairs and is a walking encyclopedia of political and military information. He was the most perfect type of an officer and soldier in the Civil War. He was never known to use an improper or profane word. He was always ready for any emergency. In the presence of the enemy, he was as brave as the best soldier or officer who ever adorned the pages of history. With the battle once over, he was as tender and sympathetic with the wounded, friend or foe, as any woman. He was honorable in all his dealings with his fellow officers and scorned all intrigues and subterfuges so common in the army. He never failed in the performance of any duty assigned to him. He was gallant, brave and honorable, with emphasis on all the terms. The qualities of his soul were tested severely and many times in his army service and the qualities ascribed to him always appeared. As he was in the army, so he has been ever since, and the people of Adams County can always feel proud of the life record Colonel Arbuthnot has made.

From "A history of Adams County, Ohio: from its earliest settlement to the present time" By Nelson Wiley Evans, Emmons B. Stivers, 1900