Gov. Benedict Arnold

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Benedict Arnold, I

Also Known As: "Governor Benedict Arnold", "Rhode Island's first governor under the Royal Charter of 1663."
Birthdate: (62)
Birthplace: Ilchester, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
Death: June 19, 1678 (62)
Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island
Place of Burial: Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of William Arnold and Christian Arnold
Husband of Damaris Arnold
Father of Benedict Arnold, II; Dr. Caleb Arnold; Capt. Josiah Arnold; Damaris Bliss (Arnold); Priscilla Arnold and 8 others
Brother of Elizabeth Arnold, of Pawtucket; Joanna Rhodes and Stephen Arnold
Half brother of Joanna Rhodes and Stephen Arnold

Occupation: Governor
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Gov. Benedict Arnold

Oldest son of William Arnold ____________________________________________________________________________________

Arnold Family History there is evidence that in 1635 he and his family accompanied the family of William Arnold to New England, departing from the port town of Dartmouth in county Devon. Roscoe Whitman states this as a fact, [7] based upon a memorandum made in April 1656 by Benedict Arnold, the oldest son of William Arnold, and found among old family papers.[8] Reference 8: Bullock, J. Russell (1886). Stukeley Westcote and some of his descendents. privately published. Benedict Arnold was also a member of the Seventh Day Baptist Church of Newport and John Hiscox was his minister. ____________________________________________________________________________________

Early Records of the Arnold Family.

...If I were to attempt to assign the authorship to the several writers, it would be first, from the beginning to the second or third paragraph of page 4 of the quarto volume (the pages of which are given in brackets in the middle of the page), to William Arnold, born June 24, 1587 ; second, thence to the second paragraph of page 9, to Gov. Benedict Arnold, born Dec. 21, 1615, died 1678; ...

...[2 ]

8. Thomas Arnold my Brother, my Mother in lawes Sonne, was Baptized the 18° April,1599.

9. Elenor Arnold, my Sister was Baptized the 31° of July, 1603.

The age of my Sister Tamzens Children.

1. Robert Hacker was Baptized the 22° of Jany. 1597.

2. Francis Hacker was Baptized the 24° of Jany.1599.

3. John Hacker their brother was Baptized the 25° of October, 1601.

4. WilliamHacker was Baptized the 31° of October, 1604.

5. Alee Hacker was Baptized the 25 of August, 1607.

8. Mary Hacker was Baptized the 4th of March, 1609.

7. Thomas Hacker was Baptized the 7th of April,1616.

[3 ]

1. Christian the Daughter of Thomas Peak of Muoheny* my wife was Baptized the 15° of February, 1583.

2. Elizabeth Arnold our Daughter was borne the 23° of November, 1611.

3. Benedict Arnold her Brother was borne the 21° of December, 1615.

4. Joane Arnold their Sister was borne the 27° of Febry,1617.

5. Steven Arnold their Brother was borne the, 22° of December, 1622.


Memorandom yt wee Bennedict and Dameris Arnold' were marryed the 17th of December Anno Domina 1640.

Our Sonne Bennedict was born ffeb°10th 1641 being our first born &. bearest therefore his fathers Name about 2 hours before Day.

Our Second Sonne we Named Caleb, he was borne the 19th December Ano. 1644 about 8 clock in the Evening we named him Caleb in memory...

  • Query. Muchclney inSomerset ? - €”Editor.

Early Records of the Arnold Family. 5

...of that worthy Caleb which only acompanied Josuah in to ye Land of Prom- ise, of all y*came out of Egipt &.c.

Our Third Sonne was borne Decem° 22. (1646 about midnight, he was our Third child, &.we named him Josiah in Memory of that good Josiah which purged the house of Israel from Idolity &.c.

Our ffourth child being a daughter was borne about 2 clock afternoone the 23d February Ano. 1648. We named her after her Mothers name be- ing as then our first &. only Daughter.

Our ffourth Sonne was borne the 21. :Oct° inthe year 1651 &.we nam-


ed him William, Intending he should beare the name of his grandfather Arnold: but god has pleased in his great Wisdom to take him away. Oct° 23° 1651 he lived but a day &.3 quarters of a day in much weakn's & great Stoping.

Our Second Daughter was born on a Thursday Morning about an hour &1/2 before day ye Moon South & by East. Feb. 10th 1652 her name is called Penillour [Penelope].

Our ffifthSon named Oliver was born the 25th July 1655 at Newport on Rhode Island : it being Wednesday about 8 or 9 clock (or past) before noon.

' Our third Daughter Named Gods Gift was born on Friday 27th August 1658 about 8 Clock at night.

Our fourth Daughter named Freelove was born on Saturday July 20th 2 a clock afternoon 1661.

Caleb Arnold was Marryed to Abagail Willbur upon the 10th Day of June, 1666.

Damiris Arnold Was Marryed to John Bliss January 24th,1666. __________________________________________________________________________________

Governor of Rhode Island

Benedict was born in Lichester, England and died in Newport, R.I. Was Governor of R.I. for more than 30 years between 1657 - 1678. Buried at the Stone Build Wind Mill in Newport, R.I.

This is the great-great grandfather of the noted Benedict Arnold, labeled traitor during the Revolutionary War. It should be noted that modern historians are not altogehter certain the he deserved that label.

Genealogical and family history of western New York: a record of ..., Volume 1 edited by William Richard Cutter Pg. 274,+1719&source=bl&ots=fm7PVAwehc&sig=P0qLaudI_M0sIGh6MwVM-07Liuc&hl=en&ei=yfXmS5KxGJfMNNvmvIYI&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CDwQ6AEwCTgK#v=onepage&q=benedict%20arnold&f=false

First Governor of Rhode Island


Birth: Dec 21 1615

Death: Jun 19 1678

Colonial Gov. Aft coming w/father to New Eng, in 1637, in RI, he signed "compact as 1 of 13 to any agreements made by the masters of families." He mastered native languages & became negotiator w/Indians in 1645. In 1653 he moved to Newport & was elected Assistant. In 1657 he was 1 of purchasers of island of Conanicut. May 19,1657, aft Roger Williams retired from office of Pres of Colony, he was elected to that office. In 1660 he was elected Assistant again. May 22, 1663, he was elected as 1st Gov of RI. He was re-elected in 1664, 1669, 1677 & 1678, & helped bring abt union of RI & Providence Plantations into 1 colony. (bio by: Linda)

Burial: Gov Arnold Burying Grd, Newport, Newport Co, RI, USA Plot: rear of house


Notes for Gov Benedict Arnold Sr:

William Arnold, father of Benedict, came w/Stukely Westcott, father of Damaris, to Am from Eng in 1635. Burial lot is few rods westerly from old "mill," which, for many yrs, has excited so much of antiquarian interest, & which belonged to & which he referred to in his will as my "mill." Aft accompanying his parents to Hingham, MA & then to Providence, RI, where he remained until Nov 1651 or 1653, Benedict removed to Newport, RI. He is said to have been 1 of wealthiest men in colony, as well as one of its most eminent citizens. He owned lrg tracts of land in & around Newport, also owned southern part of large island in Narragansett Bay (Quonaniquot) Canonicut, now forming town of Jamestown & 1/7 part of Pettiquanscut purchase, now S Kingstown, RI. In 1645, having acquired knowledge of Indian language, he was employed by colony as its interpreter in its negotiations w/Indian tribes. In 1670, he was chosen by Genl Assembly as agent of colony to go to Eng, to protest its rights under Charter against claims of CT. In 1654 & 1660, he was chosen 1 of Gov's "Assistants." In 1657, 1662 & 1663, he was chosen Pres of colony, highest office under 1st Charter of 1643. In 1663, he was named in 2nd Charter as Gov, 7 was afterwards elected by people to that office in 1663-64-65-66, 1669-70-71-72, 1677 & in 1678 d in office. Original seal of Gov Arnold, w/mahogany handle, bearing letters B A & an anchor, is now in archives of RI Historical Soc. Official chair he occupied when, in 1663, he rec'd Royal Charter from Eng, is in possession of Redwood Library at Newport. (History & Genealogy of Stukely Westcott, Vol 1, p 127, 1932)

Benedict d in office Jun 19 1678, his wife surviving him. They removed from Providence to Newport, RI on Nov 19 1651 where they d & are buried. (Book of Appendices, Stukely Westcott, Vol 2, p 76, 1939)

Was richest man in colony & by thorough acquaintance w/manners as well as language of Indians became most effective in all negotiations w/them. In 1653 he removed to Newport, was chosen Assistant next yr & in 1663 made by royal charter Pres & by annual election so continued for 8 yrs & d 1678. His will of Dec 24 1677 w/codicill of Jun 10 1678, was proven Jul 1 1678. Both Godsgift, & Freelove, are by different authors made to marry Edward Pelham &, possibly he had two wives; Penelope is said to have m Roger Goulding; & Damaris m John Bliss. See RI History Coll II 51, & III 294; Callender; Winth. & Knowles. (Genealogical Dictionary of New Eng Settlers, Vol 1, p 67)

Question raised as to 2 Mary Wards. Investigation showed they were both descendants of James Ward & Officer in Cromwells army, Sion Arnold, bro to Benedict, III, m Mary Ward, dtr of Thomas Ward of Newport, RI, Feb 1700. Sion d in 1753 & was buried in common burying ground at Newport. Next to his grave is that of Mary Arnold, his wife, who d in 1754. Benedict, III m1 Patience Coggeshall Jan 23 1705. She d Feb 2 1719; m2, Mary Ward, dtr of Thomas Ward of Middletown, CT. At Hartford State Historical Library are records from Middletown, CT, which show land conveyances by Benedict Arnold III & will of Thomas Ward Sr which makes bequest to his dtr Mary, wife of Benedict Arnold of Newport. (Arnold, Benedict by Ethan L Arnold; via email from Sandra Zak, May 1998)

Gov Benedict Arnold, son of William Arnold, colonist (see p 15), b Dec 21 1615, d Jun 10 1678. He signed agreement of 1640 for form of govt. Removed to Newport Nov 19 1651, & was made Freeman of that town; was Commissioner, 1654-1663; Assistant, 1655-1656, 1660- 1661; Pres of 4 towns, 1657-1660, 1662-1663, & 1st Royal Gov of RI, 1663-1666, 1669-1672, & 1677-1678. He was on council w/15 others, appointed by Gen'l Assembly, to advise w/Assembly. In will of Benedict Arnold, probated in Newport in 1677, testator says: "I devise that my body shall be buried near the path leading from my dwelling house to my stone windmill in the town of Newport, and that the lot shall forever be reserved for my kindred." He left stone windmill to his wife, w/lands & mansion house, for life. At Gov Arnold's funeral nearly 1000 persons were present. He m Dec 17 1640 Damaris, dtr of Stukeley Westcott, of Warwick; she d 1678. Their son, Caleb Arnold, b Dec 19 1644, d Feb 9 1719. In 1671 & 1680 he was Deputy. Aug 24 1676, was of court-martial at Newport for trial of certain Indians chged w/being engaged in King Philip's designs. He was at this time called Capt, having served thru Indian war of 1676. In 1684 he was elected Deputy from Portsmouth, but refused to serve on acct of his profession (physician), & another was elected in his place. In 1707 he was again elected from Portsmouth, which established his residence in that place. He styled himself "Practitioner of Physic." In old public documents he is called "Doctor." At time of his death he had considerable landed estate. His father left him 1/4 of all his land in Newport & 160 acres in Canonicut to be held until his eldest son was of age, when he should possess it.

His marriage to Abigail, dtr of Samuel & Hannah (Porter) Wilbur, took place Jun 10, 1666. She d Nov 17 1730. Their dtr Penelope, to whom in his will he left silver tankard & 10 shillings, m George Hazard I. (Ancestral Records & Portraits Vol 1,

More abt Gov Benedict Arnold Sr:

Burial: Newport, Newport Co, RI

More abt Benedict Arnold & Damaris Westcott:

Marriage: Dec 17 1640, Providence, Providence Co, RI


During the devastating events of King Phillips War (1675-1678), the Rhode Island General Assembly sought the counsel of 16 prominent citizens of the colony, one of whom was Benedict Arnold.

Notable descendants of Benedict Arnold, through his son Benedict, include his great-grandson, also named Benedict Arnold,[51] one of the great generals of the American Revolutionary War who was best known for his treason to the American cause when he switched sides to fight with the British. Descendants through his son Caleb Arnold include Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry,[52] American hero of the Great Lakes during the War of 1812 and his younger brother Commodore Matthew C. Perry,[52] who compelled the opening of Japan to the West with the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854; and Senator Stephen Arnold Douglas[53] who debated Abraham Lincoln in 1858 before a senate race and later lost to him in the 1860 presidential election. Rhode Island colonial Deputy Governor George Hazard is another descendant.

Gov. Benedict Arnold , who with his father, William first upon arriving in New England June 25, 1635, settled in Higham, Mass. Then on April 20, 1639 in Providence he succeded Roger Williams in 1644 as President of the colony becoming Governor under the charter granted by King Charles II. Benedict moved his family from Providence to Newport November 9, 1651 where he died in office. Benedict and Damaris are both buried in Newport.

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Gov. Benedict Arnold's Timeline

December 21, 1615
Ilchester, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
February 10, 1641
Age 25
Pawtuxet, Kent, Rhode Island
December 19, 1644
Age 28
Newport, Newport Colony
December 22, 1646
Age 31
Newport, Rhode Island, United States
February 23, 1648
Age 32
Newport, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Age 34
Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
October 21, 1651
Age 35
Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
February 10, 1652
Age 36
Newport, Rhode Island
July 25, 1655
Age 39
Newport, Providence, Rhode Island, USA