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William Arnold (1587 - abt. 1676)

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William "Old Arnold" Arnold
Born in Ilchester, Somerset, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died about in Pawtucket, Providence, Rhode Islandmap
Profile last modified | Created 7 Mar 2010 | Last significant change: 3 Mar 2019
03:38: Jan Fillingim edited the Biography for William Arnold (1587-abt.1676). [Thank Jan for this]
This page has been accessed 5,044 times.

Categories: Puritan Great Migration.

The Puritan Great Migration.
William Arnold migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
Join: Puritan Great Migration Project
Discuss: pgm


False Pedigree

Horatio G. Somersby compiled a false genealogy of the Arnold family, which was published in NEHGR, vol. 33, pp. 432-38, immediately after a better-sourced article entitled "Early Records of the Arnold Family." NEHGR 33: 427, was published. Somersby's errors (intentional or otherwise) are discussed in "The Parentage of William Arnold and Thomas Arnold of Providence, R.I.," in NEHGR, vol. 69 (1915), pp. 64-69: William Arnold's father is proven to be Nicholas Arnold, not Thomas (as Somersby claimed).

Future Collaboration

There is more information on William the immigrant. Information can be found in Anderson's Great Migration[1] and Wikipedia has an article.[2] There are probably other books such as The Arnold Record written on the family.


William Arnold, son of Nicholas and Alice (Gully) Arnold was born 24 June 1587.[1][3] in the vicinity of Ilchester Parish, Somerset, England.

William married by 1611 Christian Peak, baptized 15 Feb 1583, daughter of Thomas Peak[1][3]

In the spring of 1635, William and Christian Arnold packed up their bags and their four children and left Ilchester, England. They caught an unidentified ship from Dartmouth on May 1, 1635. They sailed across the ocean to a new World. Landing in New England, America on June 24, 1635,[4][5]

He settled first at Hingham, Massachusetts, where he was granted a houselot 18 Sept 1635.[1]

William was an original Proprietor of the Providence Plantation. “Memr. We came to Providence to Dwell the 20th of April, 1636. per me Bennedict Arnold."[4]

Roger Williams sold to William and others the land on 8 of the 8th month 1638 (8 Oct 1838).

"Memorandum yt I Roger Williams haveing formerly purchassed | of | Caunounicus, & Miantenomue this our scituation, or plantation of New providence, viz the Two ffresh Rivers Wanasquatuckett & Mooshausick, and ye ground & Meadowes thereupon; Jn Consideration of Thirtie poundes received from the Jnhabetantes of the saide place, doe freely, & ffully passe grant & make over Equall Right and power of Enjoyeing & dispossing the same groundes & Landes unto my Lo: ffriends & neighbors Stukley Westcoot; Wm Arnold; Thomas James; Robert Cole: John Greene; John Throckmorton: Wm Harris: Wm Carpenter: Tho: Olney, ffrancis Weston, Rich: Waterman: Ezechiell Holliman: and such others as the Major part of us shall admitt into the same ffelloshipp of Voate with us. "[6]

He was the first Englishman to settle what is now Cranston, where he erected his home about a mile north of the Pawtuxet Falls. He was quickly followed by others who also settled in the fertile meadows of the Pawtuxet River.[7]

Death: Between 24 May 1675, when he drew a second division lot and 3 November 1677, when his son Benedict was eldest son and heir of William Arnold late of Pautuxett in the said Colony deceased[1]


  1. Elizabeth b. 23 Nov 1611;[3][1] m. William Carpenter.[1]
  2. Benedict b. 21 Dec 1615;[3][1] m Stukely Westcott.[1] He became the Governor of Rhode Island.[1]
  3. Joanna b. 27 Feb 1617;[3][1] m. (1) Zachariah Rhodes;[1] m. (2) Samuel Reape[1]
  4. Stephen b. 22 Dec 1622;[3][1] b. Ilchester, Somerset 26 Dec 1622;[4][1] m. Sarah Smith[1]

Presidents James A. Garfield, George H. W. and George W. Bush, Sen. Stephen A. Douglas, Commodores Oliver Hazard Perry and Matthew Calbraith Perry, Gen. Benedict Arnold, social reformer Rev. Adin Ballou, and Gail Borden (founder of Borden Inc.) are descendants.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 Great Migration 1634-1635, A-B. (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.) Originally published as: The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume 1, A-B, by Robert Charles Anderson, George F. Sanborn, Jr., and Melinde Lutz Sanborn. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1999 [ link at American Ancestors (pay site).
  2. Wikipedia Article "William Arnold (settler)"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Hubbard, Edwin. “Early Records of the Arnold Family.” New England Historical and Genealogical Register 33: 427-
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Jones, Edson Salisbury. “The Parentage of William Arnold and Thomas Arnold of Providence, R. I. New England Historical and Genealogical Register 69:64
  5. Quotation from Williams son Benedict quoted in “Early Records of the Arnold Family.” - “Memorandom 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.”
  6. The Early Records of the Town of Providence. Volume 3Printed Under the Authority of the City Council of Providence. Providence: Snow & Farnham, 1893. [ p. 90
  7. Historic District Commission. History of Cranston
  • Find A Grave: Memorial #34348560 No image of headstone, unknown burial.
  • Andrews, Henry Porter. The descendants of John Porter of Windsor, Connecticut, 1635-9, Vol. 2 Saratoga Springs 1893. link
  • Arnold, Elisha Stephen. The Arnold Memorial (Tuttle Pub. Co., Rutland, VT, 1935) Page 17
  • The Ancestry of Overmire Tifft Richardson Bradford Reed.


  • The Family of Arnold.[3]

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No known carriers of William's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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On 21 Nov 2018 at 18:17 GMT Gerald Jones wrote:

Arnold-12223 and Arnold-18 appear to represent the same person because: Duplicate.

On 28 Sep 2017 at 02:01 GMT James Stewart wrote:

Neglected to mention _The Arnold Memorial..." is freely available within The Hathi Trust (

On 28 Sep 2017 at 01:53 GMT James Stewart wrote:

_The Arnold Memorial..._ states that Nicholas is William's father (since you point out there is some min-information afoot...).

On 28 Sep 2017 at 01:52 GMT James Stewart wrote:

"For What It's Worth:" Potential source (it MUST be known before **I** added it???

The Arnold memorial; William Arnold of Providence and Pawtuxet, 1587-1675, and a genealogy of his descendants, compiled by Elisha Stephen Arnold. Main Author: Arnold, Elisha Stephen, 1843- Other Authors: Arnold, Fred Augustus, 1841-1926. Language(s): English Published: Rutland, Vt., The Tuttle Pub. Co., 1935.

(I have also added this potential new--as a Comment--on Stephen Arnold's WikiTree page.)

On 3 May 2016 at 00:46 GMT Anne B wrote:

Arnold-4797 and Arnold-18 appear to represent the same person because: We know from the bio on Arnold-4797 that this is the same person as Arnold-18

On 30 Apr 2016 at 00:13 GMT Anne B wrote:

Arnold-5170 and Arnold-18 appear to represent the same person because: The 1685 date is incorrect as his son declared him dead several years before. See bio.

On 7 Oct 2015 at 15:24 GMT Jack Day wrote:

The good source documentation in the narrative gives different parentage than the parents in the data field. Should I just go ahead and change the parents or would one of the profile managers like to weigh in?

William is 15 degrees from Caryl Ruckert, 12 degrees from Harriet Stowe and 9 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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