1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

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 James Utter Arnold Papers

 Textile manufacturer, of Providence and Warwick, R.I.

 Papers, 1790-1837

 Size: 0.75 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 269

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, September 2002

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            James Utter Arnold (1776-1852) was a native of Warwick, R.I., and the son of George and Ruth (Utter) Arnold. He served as a Justice of the Peace in Providence from 1801 to 1821. He married Mehitable Carpenter, and had at least two children: William Utter Arnold (1800-?) and George C. Arnold (1803-1884). He settled in Warwick, R.I. after 1830.

            The Utter Manufacturing Company was founded in 1814 as a partnership of James Utter Arnold (60%), John W. Arnold (10%), and John Waterman & Son (30%). It was dissolved on March 27, 1834, and the business continued as the sole proprietorship of James U. Arnold. The company apparently operated a textile mill near Posneganset Pond in Warwick, and operated two related company stores, in Providence and Warwick.


Arnold, Elisha S. The Arnold Memorial, 156, 196, 238, 266. Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle, 1935.

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Scope and content:

            This collection consists of two of Arnold's personal ledgers, six of his hand-written mathematics workbooks (ciphering books), a log of debts he collected as Justice of the Peace, two account books from the Utter Manufacturing Company, and a folder of loose papers.

            Arnold's personal ledgers are not generally very detailed, as their entries are for the most part summaries from daybooks which have since been lost. The second ledger was kept in the same volume as an older ledger kept by Rhode Island stone-workers Chauncey Cooley and Luther Bagley in 1807. The file of loose papers includes several lists of delinquents in a Providence militia unit from 1801 to 1812; Arnold as a justice of the peace was responsible for collecting the delinquent fines. Also included are several receipts re the estate of Stephen Dexter from 1812 to 1815.

            The two Utter Manufacturing Company volumes seem to represent the complete books of the company. The ledger and daybook are complimentary and cover the same period of time, from the company's incorporation in 1814 through Arnold's buyout in 1834 and beyond. The daybook includes transactions with weavers being paid for piece work, for suppliers to the company store, stockholder accounts, and more. The ledger is indexed (as are Arnold's personal ledgers).

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            The two Utter Manufacturing Company volumes and the 1835-1836 ledger were purchased from Fisher A. Buell in 1970. The 1799-1836 ledger was purchased from Charles Apfelbaum in 1987. The ciphering books and probably most of the loose papers were a gift of Harris Arnold in 1973. The provenance of the justice of peace volume is unknown, but the book tag appears to date to the early 1960s.

            One other volume was purchased with the 1970 purchase: a James Rhodes ledger, 1814-1821 (featuring his account with the Utter Manufacturing Company on page 3). It was transferred to the related C. & W. Rhodes Records (Mss 678) in 2002. James U. Arnold was apparently an executor of his brother-in-law James Rhodes' estate. Rhodes was the husband of Arnold's sister Sarah (1774-1826). The remainder of the Rhodes papers also arrived along with James U. Arnold papers, in the #1973.297 Harris Arnold accession, so they may safely be described as a related collection.

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Processing note:

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Personal ledgers

Box 1, folder 1. 1799-1836

Box 1, folder 2. 1835-1836 (in volume with ledger of Cooley & Bagley, 1807)

Miscellaneous loose papers

Box 2, folder 1. 1801-1830. Contents:

            Delinquent lists, Providence militia, 1801-1812

            Deed to Joseph Aborn, 1812

            Receipts and papers re Stephen Dexter's estate, 1812-1815

            Partial mortgage from James F. Rhodes, 1830

Ciphering books

Box 2, folder 2. "Division," 1790

Box 2, folder 3. "Geometrical Definitions," c1790

Box 2, folder 4. "Geometrical Problems," c1790

Box 2, folder 5. "Practical Multiplication," c1790

Box 2, folder 6. Two small undated volumes, c1790

Justice of Peace records

Box 2, folder 7. Debt collection book, 1802-1835 (bulk 1802-1821)

            Lists collection date, plaintiff, defendant, sum, and plaintiff's signature.

Utter Manufacturing Company / James U. Arnold's mill

Box 2, folder 8. Daybook, 1814-1836

Oversized volume. Ledger, 1814-1837

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Bagley, Luther

Company stores - Rhode Island

Cooley, Chauncey, c1768-1821

Cooley & Bagley

Ciphering books

Dexter, Stephen, c1731-1813

Justices of the Peace - Rhode Island - Providence

Militia - Rhode Island - Providence

Providence, R.I. - Commerce

Stone-cutters - Rhode Island

Textile industry - Rhode Island - Providence

Utter Manufacturing Company (Warwick, R.I.)

Warwick, R.I. - Commerce

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