1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

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 Henry Arnold Papers

 Tavern-keeper and merchant, Warwick, R.I.

 Papers, 1790-1834

 Size: 0.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 268

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, January 1998

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Henry Arnold (1756-1831) was the fifth of nine children of Benjamin Arnold (1722-1799) and Barbara (Rice) Arnold (1723-1814) of Warwick. He inherited a farm in Warwick, on the south side of the Pawtuxet River, in what became the village of Pontiac. There, he operated a tavern for many years, which according to the family genealogist "was one of the most celebrated public houses outside of the city of Providence until the Providence and New Haven Turnpike was built." He also dabbled in shipping, and was in a mercantile partnership with Henry Remington and Thomas Arnold in 1805. Circa 1810 he also seems to have been involved in the textile industry, as there are several accounts in his papers for yarn and other supplies. A June 23 1815 account with Christopher Hill describes Arnold's purchase of spindles, a loom ("Lomb"), wheels, hooks and other equipment. He also opened a saw and grist mill in conjunction with his brother Dutey Arnold.

            Henry Arnold married Zilpha Ralph (1762-1834) circa 1786. They had two children: David Ralph Arnold (1788-1862) and Zilpha Arnold (1805-1823).


Arnold, Elisha Stephen. The Arnold Memorial: William Arnold of Providence and Pawtuxet... (Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 1935), 119-121, 160-165.

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Scope and content:

            The bulk of this collection consists of household receipts, with a few deeds, personal and business letters thrown in. Many seem to relate to the operation of the tavern, and some also relate to the textile industry. Interspersed through the later folders are occasional receipts addressed to Henry's son David. There are three excellent family letters, 1825-1831, relating to the children and grandchildren of Henry's uncle Thomas Arnold (1730-1819) that settled in Herkimer County, New York.

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            The provenance of this collection is unknown. Most or all of the collection was originally in volume 14 of the miscellaneous scrapbook collection known as "Rhode Island Historical Society Manuscripts", which indicates an accession date before 1940.

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Processing note:

            A large portion of this collection was originally taped into pages 385 to 445 of volume 14 of the "Rhode Island Historical Society Manuscripts" scrapbook circa 1930. It was apparently removed from the scrapbook circa 1975 by Nathaniel Shipton, who may have added some items, pencilled dates on some documents and did the original cataloging. Harold Kemble reboxed and foldered the collection circa 1980. Other related collections at the R.I.H.S. include :

MSS 9001-A  Benjamin Arnold Papers. 4 items re Henry's father, including a deed to Henry dated 1786.

MSS 9001-A  David R. Arnold Papers. Estate inventory dated 1862.

MSS 9003, vol. 14, p. 385-445. Several unsigned documents likely pertaining to Henry Arnold.

MSS 9003, vol. 17, p. 23. Deed to David R. Arnold, 1832.

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Folder 1. 1790-1799. Of particular interest:

                        Deed from Stephen Arnold of land in Warwick, 2/5/1799

Folder 2. 1800-1809. Of particular interest:

                        Letter from Elizabeth Carter to Sophia ___, 11/20/1802

                        Letter from John Jenckes to Remington, Arnold & Arnold, 12/27/1805

                        Liquor licence, Warwick, 6/9/1806

                        Deed from Elizabeth Mumford, 12/13/1806

Folder 3. 1810-1819. Of particular interest:

                        Deed from Thomas Arnold, 3/13/1811

                        Letter and bill of lading from Phillip Budlong, 7/30/1815

                        Indemnity of damages for dam below Arnold's Bridge, 10/15/1815

                        Letter from Phillip Budlong, 12/18/1816. Mercantile.

Letter from John R. Waterman, 3/28/1817. Appoints Arnold as Republican Party committee member for the Arnold Bridge district of Warwick. Marked "Confidential."

Letter from cousin Wanton Rice, 8/12/1817, dated Athens, Penn. Asks help in paying judgement; "I dont mean for you to be hurt by being my Bale."

                        Power of attorney to John Tibbitts to collect debt from Wanton Rice, 4/17/1818.

Folder 4. 1820-1829. Of particular interest:

                        Receipt for coffin from Wilbur Sweet, 2/18/1823 (2 days after death of daughter)

Letter from Polly Arnold, 5/11/1825. Dated "Russia". "Varnum Arnold is hear, he has been sick last winter and was not able to work on his land, he is going to try the Factory again." Probably Henry's unmarried first cousin Polly Arnold (1769-1850). "Varnum" may be her nephew James Varnum Arnold, b. 1800.

Folder 5. 1830-1831. Of particular interest:

Letter from George Arnold, 11/7/1830. Dated Poland, Herkimer County, New York (near Utica). "As respects my situation, it is not distressing, but is as good as I could reasonably expect." Refers to the arrival of "sister Polly and Albert". Almost certainly Henry's first cousin George, son of Thomas, #153 in genealogy.

Letter from Polly Arnold, 8/1831. Dated "Russia". "Warren talks of coming to get work in some of the factorys, if he does I schall come with him, he is an industrious young man and can bring recommendation of the first rate, he is weaver carder and spinner, when you write to me let me know what encouragement there is for him...People have become so temperate taverns and groceries are good for but little here, theire is a great reformation all round us, I saw twenty baptized last first day...all denominations is stirred up to preach to sinners...I am the same old creature, we have Whisky all the time but I take it in reason and dont like it very well." "Warren" is probably her nephew Warren Arnold, b. 1802.

Folder 6. Undated. Of particular interest:

                        Draft of a sermon or religious letter addressed to Dutee Arnold of Warwick.

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Arnold, David R. (1788-1862)

Arnold, Thomas (1730-1819)

Taverns - Rhode Island - Warwick

Temperance - New York

Textile industry - Rhode Island - Warwick

Warwick, R.I. - Social life and customs

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