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Gov. Benedict ARNOLD, I

Male 1615 - 1678  (62 years)


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  • Name Benedict ARNOLD 
    Title Gov. 
    Suffix
    Born 21 Dec 1615  Ilchester, Somerset, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Immigration 24 Jun 1635  MA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Will 24 Dec 1677  Newport, Newport County, RI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 20 Jun 1678  Newport, Newport County, RI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Governor Arnold Burying Ground, Newport, Newport County, RI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • (1) Arnold, Ethan L., An Arnold Family Record, Elkhart, IN: Ethan L. Arnold, 1958, pp. 9-12:

      Benedict Arnold - born December 21, 1615 in IIchester, England. Married Damaris Westcott, daughter of Stuckeley Westcott of Providence, Rhode Island on December 17, 1640. Benedict and Damaris had the following children: Benedict - born February 10, 1642; Caleb - born December 19, 1644; Joshia - born December 22, 1646; Damaris - born February 23, 1648; William - born October 21, 1651; Penelope - born February 10, 1653; Oliver - born July 25, 1655; Gods Gift - born August 27, 1658; and Freelove - born July 20, 1661.

      Benedict Arnold, the son of William and Christian Peake Arnold, married Damaris Westcott, daughter of Stukeley Westcott, another of the thirteen owners of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. They had, among other children, a son, Benedict, Jr. Benedict Arnold was first living at Hingham, Massachusetts, then at Providence. Then he moved to Newport, Rhode Island in November 1651, he became a freeman two years later and replaced Roger Williams as President of the colony, serving until May, 1660. He was again elected in 1662 as President. Under the terms of the Charter granted by Charles II in 1663 he was appointed Governor by the King and was re-elected several times as Chief Executive. He died in office in 1678. At his burial nearly 1,000 people attended the services.

      On June 29, 1670 the General Assembly voted to have Governor Benedict go to England to settle disputes over the charter. On his return from England a reception was held for him in Newport and the chair in which he sat at this affair is in the Newport Historical Society.

      In a span of 40 years Benedict Arnold had received high political honors, accumulated much wealth in land and personal property and had been an important personage in the Colony. There was erected a stone mill, now known as the Old Stone Mill, and located in Turo Park in Newport. There has been much controversy about who erected this mill, but a booklet published by Herbert Olin Brigham seems to indicate that there can be little doubt but what Governor Arnold actually erected the tower or mill and caused to be erected thereon a windmill for the grinding of corn, a former mill for such purpose located at Newport having been destroyed some two or three years before.

      By his will dated December 24, 1677, Benedict Arnold gave his dwelling house and other properties to his wife, Damaris. By his will he directed that he be buried "in or near the line or path from my dwelling house leading to my stone built wind mill." In a later paragraph he bequeathed to his wife his various properties, including "my stone built wind miln" and at her decease bequeathed the property to his youngest daughter, Freelove.

      On February 13, 1720, Edward Pelham, who was of royal descent and had married Freelove, gave to their son, Thomas, "for yearly payments during my natural life, possession of my homestead, mansion house and wind mill." The deed was not recorded until September, 1727, at the time of Thomas' death. In the same year Abagail, widow of Thomas, made a lease of mill fields. In 1737 with the consent of Edward, the husband of Freelove, the will was recorded (21 years after her death). In this will the son Thomas received the stone mill with all its appurtenances.

      Benedict Arnold laid out Thames Street in Newport 100 feet wide and erected a stone mansion house upon this street. He also built a fort across the road from his house in which were placed two cannon, and it was said there was another cannon placed at his door which is still in existence. He also had boats patrolling the coast in front of the town. The site of the house is now occupied by the Union Bank.

      There is information to the effect that Governor Benedict Arnold at one time owned much of the land where the city of Newport is now located. Also in the City Hall of Newport there is a record of a deed dated May 22, 1658, conveying to Benedict Arnold (the afterwards governor of Rhode Island) and John Green three islands. They are described as Nanteefinunk alias Goat Island, Weenat Shafitt alias Coaster's Harbor and a small island commonly known to the English by the name of Dyer's Island, all of which are near, enjoining upon the west side of Rhode Island in Narraggansett Bay. This deed was executed by Cachanaquant, a Chief Sachem of the Indians in Narragansett Bay.

      Benedict Arnold, by his will, set aside a tract of about three acres for a family burial ground. This burial ground largely passed into the hands of strangers. About 1934 or 1935, I visited this burial ground and saw the graves of Benedict Arnold, Jr. and on a later visit we also discovered the graves of the Governor and his wife. A large part of this cemetery was occupied by a K. C. hall and a dwelling house. At the request of the secretary of the Historical Society, I visited the owners of the dwelling house and endeavored to secure an offer of sale from them. They finally made a price of $10,000 which apparently was more than the place was worth. Two years ago Elizabeth visited Newport and ascertained that a lady, whose identity was not disclosed, had acquired the dwelling house and moved it away or demolished it and had the cemetery restored as much as possible. There were numerous small headstones that had been uncovered from the earth, that had previously covered them, and the markings in so far as possible had been restored.

      A monument has been erected at the entrance to the Arnold family burial grounds on Pelham Street in Newport. This monument shows that Benedict Arnold was Governor of Rhode Island under the Royal Charter and served in 1663 - 1666, 1669 - 1672, 1677 and 1678.

      The marker at the grave of Governor Arnold stated that he died June 20, 1678, aged 63 years and there is also a grave of Damaris, wife of the Governor, but the date of death was not shown. The tombstones are no longer legible.

      (2) www.findagrave.com:

      Benedict Arnold [I]
      Birth: Dec. 21, 1615, Ilchester, Somerset, England
      Death: Jun. 19, 1678, Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island, USA

      Colonial Governor. After coming with his father to New England, in 1637, in Rhode Island, he signed a "compact as one of thirteen to any agreements made by the masters of families." He mastered the native languages and became a negotiator with the Indians in 1645. In 1653 he moved to Newport and was elected Assistant. In 1657 he was one of the purchasers of the island of Conanicut. On May 19, 1657, after Roger Williams retired from the office of President of the Colony, he was elected to that office. In 1660 he was elected Assistant again. On May 22, 1663, he was elected as the first Governor of Rhode Island. He was re-elected in 1664, 1669, 1677 and 1678, and helped bring about the union of the Rhode Island and Providence Plantations into one colony. (bio by: Linda)

      Family links: Parents: William Arnold (1587 - 1677), Christian Peake Arnold (1584 - ____); Children: Benedict Arnold [II] (1642 - 1727); Spouse: Damaris Westcott Arnold (1621 - 1679).

      Burial: Governor Arnold Burying Ground, Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island, USA
      Plot: Rear of house

      Maintained by: Find A Grave
      Originally Created by: Linda
      Record added: Jun 02, 2005
      Find A Grave Memorial# 11077117
    Person ID I24021  Frost, Gilchrist and Related Families
    Last Modified 27 Jul 2021 

    Father William ARNOLD,   b. 24 Jun 1587, Ilchester, Somerset, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Between 1675 and 1676, Pawtuxet, Providence [now Kent] County, RI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years) 
    Mother Christian PEAKE,   b. Bef 15 Feb 1583, Muchelney, Somerset, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1659, Pawtuxet, Providence [now Kent] County, RI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 75 years) 
    Married Bef 1610  England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F10601  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Damaris WESTCOTT,   b. Bef 27 Jan 1621, Yeovil, Somerset, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   bur. Governor Arnold Burying Ground, Newport, Newport County, RI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 17 Dec 1640  Providence, Providence County, RI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Benedict ARNOLD, II,   b. 10 Feb 1642, Pawtuxet, Providence [now Kent] County, RI Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Jul 1727, Newport, Newport County, RI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years)
     2. Freelove ARNOLD,   b. 20 Jul 1661,   d. 8 Sep 1711, Newport, Newport County, RI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 50 years)
    Last Modified 27 Jul 2021 
    Family ID F10593  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Headstones
    Benedict ARNOLD, I
    Benedict ARNOLD, I