Who was Benjamin Arnold of Jeddore Nova Scotia

+5 votes
I need help with a complicated rearrangement of some early Nova Scotia families. Before I make a complete mess.

Benjamin Arnold Arnold-1286, who moved to Nova Scotia from New England ca 1766 originally had parents James and Joanna, and a birthdate of 1752. A comment was left, saying: "I believe this profile spans two different Benjamin Arnold's. Most of the profile appears correctly associated with the Benj. Arnold who arrived in the Liverpool, NS Area by 1767 and died aft. 1800. The Benj. Arnold Christened 12 APR 1752 in Duxbury, MA is however almost certainly a different person and died 18 JAN 1776 at Roxbury, MA. (A History of the Town of Duxbury, Massachusetts, with Genealogical Registers, Justin Winsor). This Benjamin is also too young for the established events c. 1766-67. The lineage of the Nova Scotia immigrant Benjamin Arnold is unclear. He may be the Benj. Arnold who Married Lydia Harris (b 1739, d/Henry) by 1762 in CT. (NEHGR 156:272 citing Parkhurst Manuscripts)".

This seems absolutely correct. Accordingly, I split off Arnold-16244 from Arnold-1286, and set Arnold-16244's parents as James and Joanna.

Next, I spent some time looking for additional documentation to support merging Arnold-1286 with Arnold-12331, and their wives: Unknown-95620 with Harris-33770. I've checked various Mayflower descendants archives (FamilySearch), and the linked books in the biographies of the profiles. Nothing really helps.

Does anyone have insight? I'm pretty happy that the balance of the evidence supports merging the profiles, but I'd like to be very sure I'm doing the right thing here. This is a prominent enough profile, that I think some people will be upset.
WikiTree profile: Benjamin Arnold
in Genealogy Help by Brad Foley G2G6 Mach 8 (85.2k points)
edited by Brad Foley

Its an excellent question, Brad! I can share what I've found about Benjamin Arnold, but I'm not sure I can help you find his origins.

Esther Clark Wright suggested that he may have been related to Luther Arnold, who was also in Barrington and Liverpool, but its got a big question mark - I suspect the link is based only on the coincidence of surname and place. 

An article published in NEHGR shows a theory that he was same Benjamin Arnold who married Lydia Harris in Connecticut, based on the name of a child in Nova Scotia: Benjamin Harris Arnold, but this seems to also be name-matching, and doesn't shed light on his parents. According to other material in NEHGS, this Benjamin may also have taken a second wife, a woman named Mary and lived in Connecticut. 

He figures frequently in Simeon Perkins Diary, but Perkins doesn't shed any light on relationships (not even with Luther Arnold), and the historians at the Champlain Society don't give any parents in their explanatory footnotes, which are usually a rich source of information. Similarly, Crowell is silent about Benjamin Arnold in his New Englanders in Nova Scotia collection, and TB Smith has extensive notes, but doesn't attempt give him parents (TB Smith Collection is now available on FamilySearch).  

Thanks Laurie! You've confirmed a lot of my suspicions about lack of evidence.

Looking through the profiles of James and Joanna Arnold, and Luther, I also came to the conclusion that it was the coincidence of surnames, and the relocation to Nova Scotia connects the Jeddore Benjamin with the Massachusetts Benjamin. I think the Harris theory is stronger, it was pretty common to give an eldest son the maiden name of the mother as a middle name. My own mother sometimes said she wished she'd called me Brad Winsor Foley, which frankly would've been pretty cool.

I'll check out the TB Smith collection, and see if I can find an online source for the Perkins diary. But absent any other evidence I'll probably go ahead with the merge into J Smith's Benjamin and Lydia.
You'll find most of the relevant Perkins extracts in TB Smith, otherwise the Diary itself is behind a paywall at the Champlain Society. Membership made sense to me, as the contents of the Diary are relevant to over sixty of my ancestors.  If you find it too steep, then I'm happy to do lookups for you.

I'll dig a little more into NEHGS and let you know if I find something in Connecticut, but I'm doubtful.  Of course I'm influenced by the local rumour ...

I'm sitting here wondering if you want to know about it. Some people might find it upsetting, and it is only a rumour, so I don't record it in any of the profiles. But its a very old rumour, passed down through the generations and still spoken today in a low voice with a finger on the side of your nose.  

There was really only one reason why anyone went to the Ragged Islands before the Revolution. It was a lucrative reason, and of course no records were made. In that rumour, Benjamin Arnold is named ahead of some of my ancestors, who were his closest associates and just as hard to pin down. One of those ancestors of mine is proven to have used an assumed name.  Just sayin.
Out of all the Puritans, Methodists, and straight-laced rectitude of my family tree, I welcome the odd smuggler and privateer as a breath of fresh air.
A number of years ago I went through the diaries looking for references to Benjamin Arnold and there are many.  He evidently knew Simeon Perkins before they arrived in Nova Scotia and was trusted enough to captain Perkin's sloops and schooners.  Arnold's wife also went to live with Perkins to care for his children after Perkins wife died.  

In any case there appears to be a pretty strong connection between the Benjamin Arnold who settled in Ragged Islands and the New London or Norwich area of Connecticut.  

Actual evidence of the connection has been elusive, the closest I have ever found is the marriage between a Lydia Harris from New London and a Benjamin Arnold.  The actual marriage record has not been found, just a probate reference.  See https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Harris-33770.

Searching for potentially matching Benjamin Arnold's in the digitized New England records has also been futile.  There were lots of them, just no potential matches.

I thought I read somewhere that many of the records from that area of Connecticut are still only available at the local archives, perhaps something will eventually turn up.

If anyone in the Connecticut area has the ambition to search, finding the marriage record for Benjamin Arnold and Lydia Harris would be a good place to start.  Could also be a probate record somewhere that ties everything together.  Until then, lots of speculation.
Would love more info on the rumor. I too descend from Benjamin Arnold and Lydia (Harris). I've hit that brickwall too but have definately ruled out that he is a son of James and Joanna of Duxbury, Massachusetts. Their Benjamin passed away young. Also, in the request for land grants it is said that Benjamin was from Connecticut. But really more interested in the rumor. LOL
I find it a little curious that the James and Joanna Benjamin has a 1752 birthdate when James would have been 52 or 53. Even though Joanna B1715? would have been in her mid 30's the other children fill out the 1735 to 1748 timeframe (with a 1739 gap). It may be the case that the 1752 Benjamin is the 1739 Benjamin that ended up in NS but so far I have been unable to find further evidence.
Not that curious. There is a birth record on his profile, dated 1752.
Be that as it may, despite all of the Ancestry, Wikitree etc. family trees there is not one solid connection for the NS Benjamin to the Duxbury Arnolds. This leaves me with a gaping hole in my tree which I originally thought had gone back to the Mayflower. There are some obscure links to Rhode Island Arnolds but nothing firm.

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