Person:William Arnold (1)

Find records: marriage
William Arnold
d.bef 3 Nov 1677 Pawtucket, Providence, RI
m. 1569
  1. Margery Arnold (3)
  2. Thomasine ArnoldBEF 1571 - BEF 1623
  3. Thomazine or Tamzen Arnold1571 - 1622
  4. Joanna Arnold1577 - 1620/21
  5. Marjorie Arnold1581 -
  6. John Arnold1584/85 - 1616
  7. William Arnold1587 - bef 1677
  8. Agnes Arnold1591 - 1595
  9. Robert Arnold1593 -
  10. Elizabeth Arnold1596 -
  11. Isobel Arnold1596 -
  12. Eleanor ArnoldBEF 1603 -
m. abt 1610
  1. Thomas Arnold
  2. Elizabeth Arnold1611 - est 1683
  3. Gov Benedict Arnold1615 - 1678
  4. Joanna Arnold1616/17 - AFT 1692/93
  5. Stephen Arnold1622 - 1699
Facts and Events
Name William Arnold
Gender Male
Birth[1][2] 24 JUN 1587 Ilchester, Somerset, England
Marriage abt 1610 Muchelney, Somerset, Englandto Christian Peak
Death[3] bef 3 Nov 1677 Pawtucket, Providence, RIreferred to as deceased

William Arnold re­sided in Cheselbourne, England and November 23,1616, he was appointed administrator of the estate of his brother John.[7]

A handwritten account of the family added by his son Benedict notes, “my father and his family Sett Sayle ffrom Dartmouth in Old England, the first of May, friday & Arrived in New England, June 24 Ano 1635... We came to Providence to Dwell the 20th of April, 1636...We came from Providence with our ffamily to Dwell at Newport in Rhode Island the 19th of November, Thursday in aftenroon, & arived ye same night Ano. Domina 1651....per me Benedict Arnold.”[8]

In Dartmouth, he met with those pioneers who were establishing the town of Hingham. His name appears here as number thirteenth on the first list of those who drew houselots on the north side of the road from the Cove to Fort Hill. [9] After residing in Hingham a short time, he and others from Hingham joined Roger Williams in the purchase from the Indians of lands at Mooshausick, afterwards called Providence. They left Hingham on April 20, 1636. [10]

William's initials W. A. are second in the famous Initial deed of Roger Williams on October 8, 1638 and became one of the original proprietors of Providence Plantations in 1636, the lands being purchased from the Indian Sachems, Conanicus and Miantonomi of Mooshansic, afterward called Providence. He was one of the thirteen original proprietors of Providence, and signed the agreement of government in 1640. [11]

In 1638, William moved about 5 miles south of Providence to the Pawtuxet River where he, and his two sons, his son-in-law William Carpenter, a nephew Thomas Hopkins, and others, bought large tracts of land from the Indians, and here William Arnold lived until his death in the fall of 1675. He with his sons Benedict and Stephen, owned nearly ten thousand acres of land and paid the highest tax in the Colony.[12]He was President of the four towns, Portsmouth, Newport, Providence and Warwick for five years and Governor of the Colony for ten years. [13]


He was a man of large affairs, admired and respected in the community and held various important offices of public trust. [14]

William Arnold was interested in the Church in England, having been Warden of the Church of St. Mary in Ilchester until he left England. Samuel Gorton in his Simplicity's Defense writes that William Arnold was a great professor of religion in the west of England. It was therefore natural that he should be one of the first twelve members to organize the First Baptist Church in Providence in 1639, it being well, the first of that denomination in America. On January 27, 1640, Arnold signed an agreement with thirty-eight others of Providence for a civil government. In 1641, the Pawtuxet settlers sent a letter to MA Authorities complaining of their neighbors, the Gortonites in Warwick. The authorities replied that they could not assist them because the Pawtuxet settlement was not under their jurisdiction. In 1642, William Arnold, William Carpenter, Robert Cole and Benedict Arnold subjected themselves to the MA Government, and William Arnold was appointed to keep the Peace, as he was one of the most prominent and influential settlers.

In 1650, he protested against Roger William's proposed errand to England to seek a charter, and speaking in uncomplimentary terms of the Rhode Island settlers said: "under the pretense of liberty of conscience about these parts, there came to live all the scum and runaways of the country, which in time for want of better order, may bring a heavy burden on the land. " William not only had an excellent education in England, but in America acquired the Indian language and acted as interpreter many times.

In July 1675, when King Philip's War burst in all it's fury upon the Colony, the neighbors tried to persuade William to go to some garrison or down to his son Benedict's house at Newport and he finally consented to go to the garrison of his son Stephen. He was carried there in feeble condition. In 1675, at the age of eighty-eight, William Arnold passed away. [15]

Text References

  1. Hubbard, Edwin, “Early Records of the Arnold Family”, in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society), Vol. 33:427.

    (reprinting original family record by William Arnold, has dates only).

    Reproduction of handwritten family record Reproduction of handwritten family record
  2. Salisbury, Edson Jones, “Parentage of William Arnold and Thomas Arnold”, in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society), Vol. 69:64, 1915.

    (demonstrating origins at Ilchester)

  3. William Arnold, in Anderson, Robert Charles; George F. Sanborn; and Melinde Lutz Sanborn. The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635. (NEHGS, 1999-2011).

    Alive at the beginning of King Phillips War in mid 1675.

  4.   Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England: Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692, on the Basis of Farmer's Register. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co, 1860-1862), 1:67.

    WILLIAM, Hingham 1635, br. of the first Thomas, b. as is said, 1589, had Benedict, Thomas, Stephen, beside one d. Joanna, wh. m. Zechary Rhodes, and ano. Elizabeth wh. m. Thomas Hopkins, all b. as is thot. in Eng. rem. 1636, with Roger Williams to Providence, and was one of the found. of the first Bapt. ch. on our side of the ocean, had gr. of Id. at Newport 1638, but I presume resid. at P. was among, freem. 1655. Backus notes, that he was anc. of the infamously unhappy Benedict of West Point. Of the ch. of one Arnold of Reading recov. from sickness near to d. we may read the story in Mather's Life of Brock, Magn. IV. 142, that is lamenta. extravag. and seems more ridicul. than extravag. Arnold is the name of a parish in Eng. a. 6 miles N. from the borough of Nottingham.

  5.   Cutter, William Richard. New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of the Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation. (New York, New York, United States: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1913-14), Vol 2; page 1011.
  6.   William Arnold (settler), in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. (Online: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.).

    the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

    William Arnold (24 June 1587 – c. 1676) was one of the founding settlers of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, and with his sons was among the wealthiest people in the colony. He was raised and educated in England where he was the warden of St. Mary's, the parish church of Ilchester in southeastern Somerset. In 1635, along with family and associates, he immigrated to New England, where he initially settled in Hingham in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, but soon relocated to the new settlement of Providence with Roger Williams. He was one of the 13 original proprietors of Providence, appearing on the deed signed by Roger Williams in 1638, and was one of the twelve founding members of the first Baptist church to be established in America.

    After living in Providence for about two years, Arnold moved with his family and other relatives and associates to the north side of the Pawtuxet River forming a settlement commonly called Pawtuxet, later a part of Cranston, Rhode Island. He and his fellow settlers had serious disputes with their Warwick neighbors on the south side of the river and as a result separated themselves from the Providence government, putting themselves under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. This separation from Providence lasted for 16 years, and as the head of the settlement, Arnold was appointed as the keeper of the peace. He died sometime during the great turmoil of King Philip's War in 1675 or 1676. Arnold's son, Benedict Arnold, succeeded Roger Williams as President of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in 1657, and under the royal charter of 1663 became the first Governor of the colony.

    Highly unusual for a 17th-century American settler, Arnold began a family record based on entries from the local parish registers in England and brought this with him to New England; this family record would eventually span more than 200 years and six generations. Nearly 300 years after his birth, a fabricated pedigree for Arnold was published, claiming his descent from 12th-century kings living in Wales. Three and a half decades later, in 1915, his correct ancestry was published, but not before the misinformation had been printed in an important source for Rhode Island genealogy.

  7. Cutter, New England Families, below
  8. Hubbard, Early Records of the Arnold Family, below
  9. Cutter, supra
  10. Cutter, supra
  11. Cutter, supra
  12. Cutter, supra
  13. "Colonial Families of the United States" Vol VII edited by Nelson Osgood Rhoades
  14. A transcript from a book in Adriance Library, Poughkeepsie, NY titled Arnold Line and Lineage: The line and lineage of the Arnold family, a paper, prepared and read by Ethel Zwick Luckey at the reunion held in Berne, June 15, 1930. The majority of this record, reproduced on the talk page, repeats erroneous theories regarding the ancient lineage of the Arnold line. The lineage was disproved by Salisbury (S2 below).
  15. Cutter, supra