Benedict Arnold b. 1615

Benedict Arnold 11th great uncle on RootsMagic tree

This Benedict Arnold was born in 1615 in Ilchester, England and was 19 when he sailed with his family to Massachusetts Bay. (This is Benedict Arnold No. 1, his 2nd great grandson was Benedict No. 5 of the American then British army). By 1636 the Arnolds were in Providence. In 1640 Benedict married Damaris Westcott, her family probably sailed to America on the same ship with the Arnold family. Benedict was President then Governor of Rhode Island for 11 years and with Roger Williams a trusted interpreter of the American Indian language. While looking for information on Christiana Peake Arnold, Benedict’s mom, I found a book, ‘The burying place of Governor Arnold’ by Alice Brayton about the establishment, destruction and restoration of the Governor’s burial grounds. Images are from this book. It’s in the public domain, an ebook at HathiTrust.

Alice Brayton of Newport, “In the spring of 1946 as I was walking down Pelham Street in Newport, Rhode Island, I saw a dozen people and a red flag in front of a dilapidated late nineteenth century cottage. It was an auction. The house was for sale. “How about the land behind the house Is it included?” “Yes, the house and the land behind the house.” “But the land behind the house, they tell me, is the burying place of Governor Arnold and his family. You can’t auction off a burying ground. It isn’t decent.” (It isn’t even legal in Rhode Island, as I found out later.) However, I bid in the house and the land behind the house. In this casual fashion I acquired Governor Arnold’s graveyard”.

Benedict Arnold wrote in 1675, “I order that my kindred relations may as they die be buried at convenient distance about my grave.” For a time Arnold and his family were buried in this cemetery then it was kind of forgotten. In 1901 a report was presented on the condition of the site, with nothing done and when Alice Brayton came along in the 1940s the site was “desolation and tin cans”.

Arnold, Benedict Newport home

Newport the seat of the Honorable Benedict Arnold

The book has b&w photos from the 1940s and stories of the family. Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries has full color photos. Originally Benedict and Damaris’s headstones had large plaques or stones, those are long gone. Photo of the cemetery today at Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries.

Brayton, Alice. The Burying Place of Governor Arnold, Newport, R.I.: Privately printed, 1960.

Page 19 Rhode Island. Commissioner to inquire into the condition of the Benedict Arnold burial place, and James N. (James Newell) Arnold.Report of J. N. Arnold, Commissioner to Inquire Into the Present Condition of the Governor Benedict Arnold Burial Place, And the Title Thereto. Providence: E. L. Freeman & Sons, 1901

Joanna Arnold b. 1615

Arnold, Joanna 10th great grandmother on RootsMagic tree.

Joanna was born February 27 1615 in Ilchester, Somerset England. At age 18 she and her family sailed to America. With the Arnolds were Frances and Thomas Hopkins, cousins of Joanna, kids of her aunt and namesake Joane Arnold who stayed in England. The Arnolds and Hopkins cousins were in Hingham Massachusetts near Plymouth for awhile then left for Providence, Rhode Island.

“A family census of Moshassuck and Pawtuxet, for September 1, 1636, would contain the following names: William Arnold, age 49. Christian Arnold, wife of W. A.. Benedict Arnold, son of W. A., 21. Joanna Arnold, daughter of W. A., 18. Stephen Arnold, son of W. A., 14. Thomas Hopkins, nephew of W. A. Frances Hopkins, niece of W. A.”

Map Providence original home lots

Original home lots (annotated)  in The history of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations by Bicknell.

screenshot copy

Joanna’s mark or seal on husband’s will.

In Providence on June 29,1647 Joanna married Zachariah Rhodes. Zachariah drowned in 1665 and Joanna married Samuel Reape and they stayed in Providence. Joanna and Zachariah had at least 7 children. 4 sons and three daughters who were living when Joanne made her will on January 28 1667. She gifts each of her children 20 pounds.

Joanna is most likely descended from Charlemagne, the King and conqueror. There is a book and a society “Some colonial dames of royal descent” with a pedigree line for Joanne. The book is considered a legitimate source.

Volume 1 page 29. The early records of the town of Providence

Volume 1 page 158 Providence It’s Beginnings. The history of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Map page 172b

Page 15 Pedigree 2. Some colonial dames of royal descent. Joanna is 3 on this list, the beginning of the pedigree starts on page 11 with: Charlemagne Emperor of the West, King of the Franks and his third wife Lady Hildegarde and so on …

English Origins of New England Families, Second Series, Vol. I [online database] Early Records of the Arnold Family p 2.
Written by William Arnold about his family, Joanna’s brother Benedict was Governor of Rhode Island.

Eleazer Arnold House


Eleazer Arnold 9th great grandfather on RootsMagic tree.
“Eleazer Arnold builder of the noted 17th century stone-end chimney house was a typical representative of second generation Rhode Islander settlers … Such were the conditions in Rhode Island as pictured by travelers of a period only fifty years after Eleazar Arnold created his mansion in 1687 on the Great Road to Mendon. The land he built on was fifty acres left to him by his father at “Worlds End” near Scott’s pond”.

Image 10 of 19, page 81. Eleazer Arnold House July 1952 Volume 2 No. 3 at Rhode Island Historical Society link to the publication page with an explanation of the journal. Link to the actual journal.


Elizabeth Arnold b. 1684

Elizabeth Arnold 8th great grandma on RootsMagic tree

Elizabeth Arnold was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1684 and died July 11, 1758. She spent her life in Providence, part of the time living in the Stone Ender her dad Eleazer built around 1693, it’s still standing today.

Arnold, Eleazer House Stone Ender at Wikipedia

Eleazer Arnold House, a stone ender

She married 1st William Hawkins in 1704 and 8 years later was a widow. She married 2nd Israel Smith in 1718,  was a widow 8 years later and didn’t marry again.

Her will and inventory is online, last on the page:
In the name of God Amen this 1st day of July in the 35th year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second of Great Britain &c King AD 1758: I Elisabeth Smith widow being Sick & Week of body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given to allmighty God for the Same, Do make and ordain this to be my Last will & Testament

Elizabeth gave her daughter Naomi, who married Oliver Angell, a square table and 5 pounds money ‘old tenor.’ Elizabeth left her best silver sleeve buttons to her granddaughters.


Benedict Arnold b. 1614, the Govr’s son


Photo at Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Commission

Benedict the 2nd born about 1641 has this headstone with the family crest, three shells, a center star and (not shown) a rose in each corner. This is gorgeous and indexed at the Rhode Island Historic Cemetery Commission : the stone was “carved by John Stevens II and lettered by his brother Philip”. Benedict, other Arnolds and Arnold in laws are at the Governor Arnold Burying Ground in Newport, Rhode Island, in a residential area, a tiny cemetery with less than 70 memorials. On Google maps it appears next to a private home with a bike parked on the side fence and a Starbuck’s within 100 feet or so.

There were five Benedict Arnolds in this family in the early days of America.

Benjamin 1- born 1615, son of William and Christiana Peake Arnold, married Damaris Westcott. He became President then Governor of Rhode Island. Father of

Benjamin 2- born about 1641 married Mary Turner, then Sarah Mumford. Parents of

Benjamin 3- born 1683 married Patience Coggleshall. Parents  of

Benedict 4- born 1719 married Hannah Waterman. Parents of

Benedict 5- born 1741 married Margret Shippen. This Benedict is the one of the American Revolution, labeled a traitor. He is buried in London, at St. Mary’s of Battersea, where William Blake was married, near the river Thames. Changes in Longitude has a full article and a comment section with many opinions about Benedict 5s actual crimes and intentions.

Benjamin 5s mom Hannah Waterman is buried at Old Norwichtown Cemetery in Norwich, Connecticut. This family suffered. From 1738-1755 four of six children died of yellow fever. For some reason, maybe the death of four children, the dad Benedict 4 drank, a lot. By 1756 the life planned for great-grandson of the Govr Benedict 5, private schools then Yale, was dashed, the money was gone, the family somewhat scorned by their community because of the dad’s drinking. Hannah the mom died in 1759, the dad drank more and died soon after. Benedict 5 got an apprenticeship with his mom’s side of the family, then the rest is history.

Hannah’s grave has an anonymous admirer who decorates the grave about once each year, 2011 story here: An anonymous admirer has once again shown devotion to the mother of one of history’s most infamous figures with a gift of flowers and light.

Israel Smith b. 1689 and Elizabeth Arnold b. 1684

The wills of Israel Smith and his wife Elizabeth Arnold Smith Hawkins (8th great grandparents) contain inventories along with written wishes. Israel was a yeoman or landowner. He died at 37 in 1726. His inventory included: bookes, livestock, tools, seeds, a gun, a feather bed, blankets, linens, clothing, kitchenware, including pewter platters, 10 pounds of woolen yarns, thirty eight pounds of flax, spinning wools, furniture, tobacco and candlesticks.

Elizabeth outlived 2 husbands, she died at 74 in 1758. She left specific items for her daughters and granddaughters. Naomi Smith Angell inherited a Square Table and five pounds old Tenor. Daughter Elizabeth gets the Long Cloke, Deborah gets the Kettle and divides the featherbed with Ruth. Elizabeth’s will directs that her best buttons are for her granddaughters, “My will is that my Grand Daughter Elisabeth Hopkins have my large Silver Sleeve Buttons. Item, I give my Grand Daughter Martha Smith my Small Silver Sleeve Buttons, my looking Glass.” Elizabeth’s will is transcribed at Rhode Island USGenweb, last will towards bottom.

So in the mid 1700s seeds and buttons.


Providence, Rhode Island, Wills (1678-1916) and Indexes, Volume 3-4, 1726-1754, page 121, 122, 123, 124 -at Ancestry $

Rhode Island USGenWeb Project, Rhode Island Reading room Wills page 4 public document transcribed at:


Godsgift Arnold b. 1658 and Jireh Bull b. 1659

Bull, Jireh and Godsgift house

Godsgift Arnold 1st cousin 9 times removed from Elizabeth Speedy who married Stanley Roose Sr.

Godsgift was born on 27 Aug 1658 in Newport, Rhode Island, USA to Benedict (11th great uncle) and Damaris Westcott Arnold, the governor. Benedict Arnold who joined the British Army was her great grand nephew. Godsgift married Jireh Bull, their grandfathers William Arnold and Henry Bull were original Rhode Island settlers in the 1630s. Godsgift and Jireh lived in Newport, Rhode Island in a home still standing, now known as The Captain John Maudsley House. In 1952 it was discovered that the house was actually built by Jireh Bull. The August 27, 1952 Newport News tells the house’s history, I haven’t found the actual source. The Library of Congress has photos and floor plans of this house that Jireh started building in 1680. The house is still standing and privately owned today, at Wikipedia . 

The photo is from early 1900s. Jireh began building in 1680.  At the Library of Congress: John Maudsley House, Other Title Jireh Bull House.