About this Famous Person
Chester A. ARTHUR
21st President of the United States
Source : Tim DOWLING
Chester Alan Arthur was born in Fairfield, Vermont. His father, William Arthur, was born just outside the village of Cullybackey, County Antrim, Ireland, and emigrated to Dunham, Lower Canada (in present-day Quebec) in 1818 or 1819 after graduating from Belfast College. Arthur's mother, Malvina Stone, was born in Vermont, the daughter of George Washington Stone and Judith Stevens. Malvina's family was primarily of English descent, and her grandfather, Uriah Stone, fought in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Arthur's mother met his father while he was teaching at a school in Dunham, just over the border from her native Vermont, and the two soon married. After their first child, Regina, was born in Dunham, the Arthurs moved around Vermont in quick succession to Burlington, Jericho, and Waterville, as William moved to jobs with different schools. In Waterville, William Arthur departed from his Presbyterian upbringing and joined the Free Will Baptists, spending the rest of his life as a minister in that sect. He also became an outspoken abolitionist, which at times made him unpopular with parts of his congregations and contributed to the family's frequent moves. In 1828, the family moved again, to Fairfield, where Chester Alan Arthur was born the following year. He was named "Chester" after Chester Abell, the physician and family friend who assisted in his birth, and "Alan" after his paternal grandfather. After Arthur's birth, the family remained in Fairfield until 1832, when the elder Arthur's profession took them on the road again to several towns in Vermont and upstate New York, finally settling in the Schenectady area.
William Arthur's frequent moves would later form the basis for accusations that Chester Arthur was not a native-born citizen of the United States. After Arthur was nominated for Vice President in 1880, his political opponents suggested that he might be constitutionally ineligible to hold that office. A New York attorney, Arthur P. Hinman, apparently hired by his opponents, explored rumors of Arthur's foreign birth. Hinman initially alleged that Arthur was born in Ireland and did not come to the United States until he was fourteen years old, which would make him ineligible for the Vice Presidency under the United States Constitution's natural-born citizen clause.[note 3] When that story did not take root, Hinman spread a new rumor that Arthur was born in Canada, but this claim also failed to gain credence.