Samuel G. Arnold, U.S. Senator

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Samuel Greene Arnold

Birthdate: (58)
Birthplace: Providence, RI, USA
Death: Died in Providence, RI, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Samuel Greene Arnold and Frances Rogers
Husband of Louisa Gindrat Arnold
Father of Louisa Caroline Appleton; Frances R. Arnold and Mary Cornelia "Nina" Rogers
Brother of Cornelia Elizabeth Arnold

Managed by: Private User
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About Samuel G. Arnold, U.S. Senator

Samuel Greene Arnold, Jr. (April 12, 1821 – February 14, 1880) was a United States Senator from Rhode Island. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, he received his early education under private tutors, and graduated from Brown University in 1841 and, in 1845, the law department of Harvard University, gaining admission to the bar that year. He was a lawyer and historian, and was trustee of Brown University from 1848 to 1880.

He married his cousin, Louisa Gindrat Arnold (1828–1905), the daughter of his father's uncle, Richard J. Arnold (1796–1873). Of Louisa he wrote that "...I have brought up my cousin for years to make her my wife, for I am so fastidious & particular on that matter that I knew I never should find a lady to suit me in all respects unless I educated her for the purpose. This is an original idea to be sure..."


Arnold was elected lieutenant governor of Rhode Island in 1852 and served as Acting Governor. In 1859, He was elected an Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[2]He was a member of the peace commission held at Washington, D.C. in 1861 in an effort to devise means to prevent the impending war.

In March 1861 Arnold was again elected Lieutenant-Governor after being nominated by the Constitutional Union and Democratic Conventions.[3] Arnold was again elected Lieutenant-Governor in 1862. During the Civil War he raised a company of light artillery which went to Washington D.C. and was mustered into the Union Army. He was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of James F. Simmons, and served from December 1, 1862, to March 4, 1863. After his time in the Senate he returned to historical research and was president of the Rhode Island Historical Society from 1868 to 1880. Arnold died in Providence in 1880; interment was in Swan Point Cemetery.

Theodore Francis Green, Samuel Arnold's grandnephew, was also a U.S. Senator from Rhode Island.

Samuel Greene Arnold was the author of the 2-volume History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations published in 1859-60. __________________________________________________________________________________ Samuel G. and Louisa G. Arnold papers Lists names and dates of children

Historical note:

           Samuel Greene Arnold, Jr.(1821-1880) was born to Samuel Greene Arnold (1778-1826) and Frances (Rogers) Arnold (1786-1865). He had one sister, Cornelia Elizabeth Arnold (1814-1897). He married his first cousin, Louisa Gindrat Arnold (1828-1905), the daughter of his father's uncle, Richard J. Arnold (1796-1873). They resided in Middletown, R.I., and had three children: Louisa G. (Arnold) Appleton (1849-1895), Frances R. Arnold (1854-1948), and Mary Cornelia "Nina" (Arnold) Rogers (1859-1932).
           Arnold's early education took place in Providence schools and St. Paul's College in Long Island. He then continued his education in 1836 at Brown University. During his studies he took some time off due to illness and traveled in Europe. When he came back to the United States he finished at Brown, graduating in 1841. From there he began working in the counting rooms of James T. Rhodes and went as a merchantman to St. Petersburg, Russia. Upon returning from Russia he continued his education at Harvard Law School, graduating in 1845. He was then admitted to the Rhode Island Bar.
           Arnold traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East, and South America. Due to his wealth he was able to pursue his passion for history and writing. Between 1859-1860 he wrote two volumes entitled the History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He also wrote histories of Providence and Middletown, gave public addresses, and wrote several memorial papers for prominent Rhode Islanders.
           He was a stockholder in several mining companies and in the Arnold Estate Company and president of the Navassa Phosphate Company. This company was based at Navassa Island off the coast of Haiti. The company was one of several in the business of harvesting guano. Of the men on the island, approximately fifteen were white officers and supervisors, and the rest were workers of African descent. The company's ownership of Navassa Island was challenged by the Haitian government in 1874. Haiti lobbied the U.S. government, arguing that they were entitled to compensation for the island due to their geography (see correspondence dated 1874).
           Arnold was also active in local and national politics. He was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1852 and elected again in 1861 and 1862. Also, in 1861 he was a delegate to the Peace Convention which hoped to stave off the Civil War. From 1862 to1863 he served as a Senator in the United States Congress and in 1876 he was chosen as a Republican presidential elector. He served as a Colonel in charge of the Providence Marine Corps of Artillery during the Civil War and gave money to refurbish the armory in 1862.
           He was very much involved with his alma mater and with his local community. In 1848 he became a trustee at Brown, was a member of the Committee of Examination, and in 1878 was awarded a Doctor of Laws degree. He also became the president of the Rhode Island Historical Society in 1868 and served in that position until his death in 1880. He also served as president of the Charitable Baptist Society, was a member of the Providence school committee, and served as a trustee at Butler Hospital.
           Samuel G. Arnold died in Providence on February 13, 1880 from chronic catarrhal pneumonia. He is buried at the Swan Point Cemetery. Louisa G. Arnold died in Pennsylvania on October 11, 1905 of Bright's disease.

Bibliography: Bibliographical Cyclopedia of Representative Men of Rhode Island, 450-451. Providence: National Biographical Publishing, 1881. "Navassa Phosphate Company." Flier in collection, published by the Journal of Commerce, Baltimore, December 1871. Rhode Island Cemetery Database

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Scope and content:

           This collection, ranging from1840-1893, consists of correspondence and financial papers of Samuel G. and Louisa G. Arnold, as well as company records for the Navassa Phosphate Company. Series one, Samuel G. Arnold, is broken down into three subseries. Subseries one consists of his correspondence from 1840 to1880. Almost all of these letters are financial in nature. Subseries two consists of his financial papers from 1843 to1879. Subseries three consist of miscellaneous items such as genealogical information, the dedication of the Roger Williams Monument, the dedication of Providence City Hall, newspaper clippings, real estate and stock belonging to the heirs of Samuel G. Arnold, and a pamphlet on the Sonoran (Mexico) railroad written in Spanish.
           Series two, Louisa G. Arnold, is also broken down into three subseries. Subseries one consists of her correspondence from 1879 to 1894. Almost all of these are financial in nature except for the many condolence letters in 1880 and an occasional letter from her daughter and granddaughter. One such letter sent in 1880, from her granddaughter, is written in reference to her grandfather's illness. She writes, "I would like to be with Grandpa very much to brush his hair and I wish you would give him a kiss for me. Subseries two consists of her financial papers from 1865 to 1893. Subseries three consists of miscellaneous items such as financial papers relating to a boarder at the Bingham School, one letter each addressed to her daughters Fanny and Nina, material from the Missionary Society of the Amity Baptist Church, and some poems.
           Series three consists of the financial papers of Richard J. Arnold, Jr., Louisa's brother. Series four consists of the company records for the Navasssa Phosphate Company. The records date from 1869 to 1879 with many gaps. The records provide information on provision returns, consolidated ration returns, division of labor, overall summary of activity, and a cost analysis of working the island.

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           These records were donated in 2000 by Arthur Rogers.

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Processing note:

            Related collections can be found in Mss 32, Richard J. Arnold Papers and in Mss 862, Frances Rogers Arnold Family Papers. Richard was Louisa G. Arnold's father and Frances was Samuel's mother.
           The financial papers of Richard J. Arnold, Jr. may contain receipts relating to his father, Richard J. Arnold. __________________________________________________________________________________

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Samuel G. Arnold, U.S. Senator's Timeline

April 12, 1821
Providence, RI, USA
September 18, 1849
Age 28
Middletown, Newport County, RI, USA
Age 32
Middletown, Newport County, RI, USA
Age 37
Middletown, Newport County, RI, USA
February 14, 1880
Age 58
Providence, RI, USA