Benedict ARNOLD

Family tree of Benedict ARNOLD

French Revolution & Empire, 19th Century

AmericanBorn Benedict ARNOLD

General during the American Revolutionary War

Born on January 14, 1740 in Norwich, Connecticut, USA , United States

Died on June 14, 1801 in London, England

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Benedict was born the second of six children to Benedict Arnold (1683–1761) and Hannah Waterman King in Norwich, Connecticut, on January 14, 1741. Like his father and grandfather, as well as an older brother who died in infancy, he was named after his great-grandfather Benedict Arnold, an early governor of the Colony of Rhode Island. Only Benedict and his sister Hannah survived to adulthood; his other siblings succumbed to yellow fever in childhood. His siblings were, in order of birth: Benedict (August 15, 1738 – April 30, 1739), Hannah (December 9, 1742 – August 11, 1803), Mary (June 4, 1745 – September 10, 1753), Absolom (April 4, 1747 – July 22, 1750) and Elizabeth (November 19, 1749 – September 29, 1755). Through his maternal grandmother, Arnold was a descendant of John Lothropp, an ancestor of at least four U.S. presidents.



Arnold's father was a successful businessman, and the family moved in the upper levels of Norwich society. When he was ten, Arnold was enrolled in a private school in nearby Canterbury, with the expectation that he would eventually attend Yale. However, the deaths of his siblings two years later may have contributed to a decline in the family fortunes, since his father took up drinking. By the time he was fourteen, there was no money for private education. His father's alcoholism and ill health kept him from training Arnold in the family mercantile business, but his mother's family connections secured an apprenticeship for Arnold with two of her cousins, brothers Daniel and Joshua Lathrop, who operated a successful apothecary and general merchandise trade in Norwich. His apprenticeship with the Lathrops lasted seven years.

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In 1755, Arnold, attracted by the sound of a drummer, attempted to enlist in the provincial militia for service against the French, but his mother refused permission. In 1757, when he was sixteen, he did enlist in the militia, which marched off toward Albany and Lake George. The French had besieged Fort William Henry, and their Indian allies had committed atrocities after their victory. Word of the siege's disastrous outcome led the company to turn around; Arnold served for 13 days. A commonly accepted story that Arnold deserted from militia service in 1758 is based on uncertain documentary evidence.



Arnold's mother, to whom he was very close, died in 1759. His father's alcoholism worsened after the death of his wife, and the youth took on the responsibility of supporting his father and younger sister. His father was arrested on several occasions for public drunkenness, was refused communion by his church, and eventually died in 1761.



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Geographical origins

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