Born: 1838 in Brownsville, Pennsylvania
Status: Died October 9, 1906, in Wilberforce, Ohio; buried in Tarbox Cemetery, Wilberforce, Ohio
Education: Attended a one-room school near Brownsville, Pennsylvania; received a teaching certificate, December 19, 1863; licensed to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, March 30, 1865
Position: Teacher, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, c. 1863; teacher and principal, Washington, D.C., 1864-1865; teacher, Brownsville, Pennsylvania, 1865-1867; minister, Walnut Hills, Ohio, 1867-1869; ordained deacon in the AME Church, April 30, 1868; ordained an elder in the AME Church, May 12, 1870; minister, St. Paul AME Church, Urbana, Illinois, 1870-1872; minister, AME Church, Columbus, Ohio, 1878-1879; assistant secretary of the Ohio Annual Conference to the General Conference, AME Church, 1876; general secretary of the Ohio Conference to the General Conference, AME Church, 1880; elected to the Ohio legislature, 1886; elected financial secretary of the General Conference of the AME Church, 1880-1888; elected bishop in the AME Church, 1888; bishop to the Seventh Episcopal District, South Carolina, 1888-1892; bishop to the Fourth Episcopal District ( Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and northwestern states), 1892-1900; bishop to the Third Episcopal District of Ohio, California, and Pittsburgh, 1900- 1904; bishop, First Episcopal District, 1904- 1906
Benjamin William Arnett was born in 1838 (exact date unknown) in Brownsville, Pennsylvania. He was "eight parts Negro, six parts Scotch, one part Indian, and one part Irish" ( Logan and Winston17). Arnett's father, Benjamin Arnett, Sr., was a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and had built the first AME Church in Brownsville.
Arnett's father, being educated himself, wished to see his son similarly schooled. Arnett's uncle, Ephram Arnett, conducted a one-room schoolhouse for black children near Brownsville, and Arnett was sent there at an early age to learn to read and write. He did well, but could see no way that he could continue his education; he had little money, and few colleges took African American students at that time.