Capt. Arthur Fenner, Jr.

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Capt. Arthur Fenner, Jr.

Birthdate: (83)
Birthplace: Horley, Surrey, England, United Kingdom
Death: October 10, 1703 (83)
Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Place of Burial: Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Arthur Fenner, Sr.; Arthur Fenner; Sarah Browne and Sarah Browne
Husband of Mehitable Fenner; Mehitable Fenner and Howlong Fenner
Father of Maj. Thomas Fenner; Samuel Fenner; Sarah Fenner; Arthur Fenner; Freelove Crawford and 2 others
Brother of Sarah Lay; Thomas Fenner; William Fenner; Joseph Fenner; John Fenner and 2 others

Occupation: Captain
Managed by: Col James Thomas Cerar (Sidebottom)
Last Updated:

About Capt. Arthur Fenner, Jr.

Baptized 17 Oct. 1619; Died 10 Oct 1703. Arthur, son of Arthur Fenner and Sarah Browne, was baptized at St. Bartholomew's in Horley, Surrey, England. He had been a Lieutenant in a troop of horses in Cromwell's army before coming to Providence on 27 Feb 1649. On March 10, he bought equal rights into the Providence Plantations for 30 shillings. He served as Constable for the town of Providence in 1651. and was Assistant to the Town Council in 1651, 1659, 1665-1668, 1672-1676, 1679-1686 and 1690. He also served as Commissioner to the General Court, Moderator,Treasurer, and Deputy, among other jobs. He reportedly received some of his land from Indian Chief Massasoit and held land in 4 counties. Arthur's home was dubbed "Fenner Castle" because of its large chimney and served as a garrison during Indian uprisings. There is an oil painting of Fenner Castle in the Historical Society of Providence, RI. King Phillip's warriors burned it to the ground in 1676; it was rebuilt the following year around the chimney, which survived the fire. It eventually collapsed from neglect in 1887. A second house which Arthur built for his son Thomas in 1677 still stands in Cranston, RI.

Posted by James

From Tony Fenner at FAG:

FACTS CONCERNING: Capt Arthur Fenner

Arthur Fenner the immigrant who is as far as is known, the progenitor of all Fenner's of early ancestry in the colonies of male heritage. His ancestry hails from Horely Surrey England. He is reported to have been an Officer in Cromwell's Army.

It is believed his two brothers William and Arthur immigrated with Arthur sometime around 1646 along with their sister and her two children. Their brother Joseph stayed behind. Arthur would have been in his later 20's when he arrived. He married Mehitable Waterman in about 1649 and their union produced seven children as you see above.

In the Colony of RI, Arthur became an important part of the community. In addition to acquiring a substantial amount of land, he wore many hats, to include: Many years in the Judicial arena and that as a Governor's Assistant (which was like a superior court Judge), Commissioner to the General Assembly - Justice of the Quarter Session and Inferior Court of Common Pleas (Judge), General Assembly Member for eight years, commander for United Colonies... 1653, Member of Town Council, Surveyor chosen to make out Western line of the colony 1659, Surveyor chosen to make out Northern line of the colony 1695, Commissioned as Captain of the Train Band 1672, Town treasurer 1672-79, Selectmen 1677-78, Engineer Surveyor, Agent to England and there is a lot more.

His military background seems to have been of great value to the colony in those early years. Especially at the time of King Philip's wars. King Philip was known by that name to the English but he was in fact an Indian Chief who lead an uprising against the colonists all over New England. In 1676 Arthur had been appointed by the colony as Captain and Chief Commander of the King's Providence Garrison and all other private Garrison's, during the King Phillip war.

Many colonists were killed in New England during this war. As part of the campaign, Indians burned many homes of the colonists, including Arthur's. In fact they burned all the homes in the area.

After the war Arthur re-built his home on the same site using a still standing very large chimney. His home is pictured in it's later years, here on this memorial. That home was demolished in the later 1800's. Arthur's home was known as Fenner Castle because of the way it was built.

In 1677, near the end of the Indian war, Arthur built a home for his son Thomas Fenner. The home is still standing today. It's located in Cranston and is owned (at the time of this writing) by Richard Arthur Fenner, one of Captain Arthur's descendants.

Arthur figures into another contentious part of RI History involving the way a line was drawn (surveyed) which was known as the "7 mile line". It was a huge bone of contention back in those times and the dispute lasted for many years even into the next generation. The line would favor certain individuals over others depending on the way it was "layed out".

Arthur Fenner determined the line. Arthur, Roger Williams and that faction were on one side, William Harris and his on the the other. Roger Williams was the founder of RI and Harris was an original RI settler. It was a bitter feud with an interesting turn of events and some very interesting circumstances. It's way too lengthy to go into here.

Another irony, considering Fenner and Harris were bitter political enemies is that Fenner married Harris's daughter, Howlong Harris after Harris's death. William Harris died in England. Actually he was captured by Algerian Pirates on a voyage to England attempting to sway favor for his views on the 7 mile line dispute. He was made a slave and was in captivity for a couple of years. When his ransom was paid he made his way to England where he died withing two weeks.

An interesting side note is that every descendant of Arthur Fenner's son Thomas and his wife Dinah Borden are direct descendants of BOTH Arthur Fenner and William Harris which is kind of ironic since they were enemies. Howlong Harris and Arthur Fenner had no children. Sadly we know very little about Mehitable.

Arthur Fenner and Roger Williams were friends and political allies, a fact well documented. Roger Williams wrote that Arthur Fenner and his son Major Thomas Fenner "stayed and went not away" at the time of King Phillips war. There is much more to be said about Arthur known from early records.

Inscription: No visable stone. There are only 14 burials with inscriptions at the Major Thomas Fenner Lot, and at least 40 unidentified graves. Aunt Polly Fenner (Mary Abbott Fenner 1766-1861), who lived with her brothers Benjamin and Samuel in the old Fenner Castle, the three constituted the last relics of that branch of the family, was a woman of very retentive memory and well versed in the traditions of the family. She strongly affirmed that a rough stone on the South East Corner of the ancient Maj. Thomas Burying ground, near the site of the "Castle" marks the grave of Capt. Arthur Fenner (1619-1703),

Tony Fenner

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Capt. Arthur Fenner, Jr.'s Timeline

October 17, 1619
Horley, Surrey, England, United Kingdom
October 17, 1619
Horley, Surrey, England
October 17, 1619
Horley, Surrey, England
Age 30
Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
October 27, 1652
Age 33
Providence, Providence Plantation, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Age 35
Pawtuckett, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Age 38
Age 40
Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Age 42
Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States