Edmund B. Arthur was born probably on October 30, 1837, in Chateauguay County, New York, the son of New Yorkers William B. Arthur (b. 1811) and Mary Polly Bostwick (1811-1902).
In 1850 William and Polly along with their children Lucinda and Richard were living on a farm in Ellicott, Chautauqua, New York. In 1855 Edmund was living with his parents and brother Richard in Ellicott, New York. Edmund’s family left New York and moved westward, eventually settling in Saranac, Ionia County, Michigan.
Edmund was living in Saranac when he married New York native Harriet Matilda Belote (1837-1923) on February 22, 1859. They had at least five children: Jay R. (b. 1860), Asa Somers (1865-1918), Elwin M. (1863-1939), Elnora B. (1869-1952, Mrs. Gibson) and Mrs. Elmer Mallory.
By 1860 Edmund was working as a laborer and living with his wife and son in Boston, Ionia County; also living with them was 9-year-old Inez Arthur. (His mother and younger siblings were also living in Boston in 1860.) Edmund was possibly living in Boston in July of 1860 when he and his younger brother Richard joined the Boston Light Artillery -- also known as the Boston Light Guard -- under the command of Captain Moses Houghton. (The BLA was a local militia company comprise mostly of men from the western side of Ionia County and many of whose members would serve as the nucleus for Company D of the 3rd Michigan infantry, which was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County and which would be organized in Grand Rapids in the spring of 1861. Indeed, Captain Houghton would also command Company D, 3rd Michigan.
Edmund was probably still living in Boston in July of 1860 when he and his younger brother Richard joined the Boston Light Artillery (also known as the Boston Light Guard), under the command of Captain Moses Houghton. (The Boston Light Guard was a local militia company comprise mostly of men from the western side of Ionia County and many of whose members would serve as the nucleus for Company D of the 3rd Michigan infantry which would be organized in Grand Rapids in the spring of 1861. Indeed, Moses Houghton would also command Company D, 3rd Michigan.)
Edmund was 24 years old and working as a laborer probably living in Boston when he enlisted in Company D on December 21, 1861, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, was mustered on December 23 at Detroit (his brother Richard had enlisted in Company D in May). He was present for duty from January of 1862 through April, but was absent in the hospital at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, in May and June, recovering from a wound he received when he accidentally shot himself in the hand with a revolver. Edmund reportedly deserted from the general hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, on August 2 or 5, 1862, and he was on the deserter’s descriptive list for May 31, 1863, as having deserted from Washington, date unknown.
There is no further record and no pension seems to be available. However, there is reason to believe that Edmund reentered the military while living in Pennsylvania.
According to one report Edmund took his family and moved to Pennsylvania where he reportedly lived until enlisting in Company A, 9th (or 29th) Pennsylvania infantry on December 23, 1864, for one year, and was honorably discharged on December 25, 1865. After leaving the army Edmund apparently entered the Evangelical ministry and for some 20 years preached the gospel in several states.
Edmund eventually returned to Michigan and settled near Ludington in Mason County, In 1900 he and Harriett were living in Amber, Mason County. He was living in Amber, Mason County in 1890 and 1894. (In fact, he was also listed as having served in the 29th Pennsylvania and discharged on July 1, 1865.)
He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic S. D. Haight post in Mason County.
Edmund died of “old age” at his home on Crowley Street, in Scottville, Mason County, on Saturday, April 9, 1910, and the funeral services were held at the Grace Evangelical church in Scottville. He was buried in Brookside cemetery.