Chester Arthur

Family and Descendants of Chester Arthur

Portrait of Chester Arthur

Born on October 5, 1829, Chester Alan Arthur was a lawyer and politician who served as the twenty-first president of the United States. Following the death of President James A. Garfield in September 1881, two months after Garfield was shot by an assassin, he was previously the 20th vice president.

Malvina Arthur and Reverend William Arthur, a committed abolitionist, gave birth to Chester Alan Arthur. When he was still young, and his family moved from one Baptist parish to another in Vermont and New York. Chester was the fifth of eight children, and had six sisters and an older brother. He learned the basics of reading and writing at home prior to starting school in Union Village, New York.

Malvina Stone Arthur

portrait of Malvina Stone Arthur

Malvina Stone was born on April 28, 1802 to George Washington Stone and Judith Stevens in Berkshire, Frankling, Vermont. She was married to William Arthur on April 12, 1821. She was a mother of eight children and her fifth child was Chester Alan Arthur, the twenty-first president of the United States of America.

William Arthur

William Arthur was Chester Arthur’s father. He was born in Ireland and immigrated as a young man to Canada. He married Malvina Stone in 1821, and they had eight children, with their fifth child being Chester. William Arthur became a Baptist preacher in 1821, and in the following years pastored eleven churches in Vermont and New York. He was also a co-founder of the Antislavery Society of New York.

Ellen Lewis Herndon Arthur

portrait of Ellen Arthur

Ellen Lewis Herndon, also called “Nell” was born on October 10, 1817 in the town of Culpeper Court House, Virginia. She was the daughter of William Lewis Herndon and Frances Hansbrough. Her father was a former naval officer. His father became renowned after he went down with the ship he is commanding, the SS Central America, a mail steamer in 1857. He died as a hero after ensuring that passengers and some crew were safe in the lifeboats. Ellen was only twenty when her father died. She was an only child and the third among the seven first ladies of the United States who were only children.

A stunning singing voice that was developed at a very early age was the primary talent of Ellen Arthur. Her uncle had reported that singing was also an outstanding gift from her mother, and it was likely that the daughter was emulating her mother, given the unique closeness between the two women.

During her second residency in Washington, D.C., Ellen grew into her teenage years and was able to take full advantage of the social life in which elite women were expected to engage entirely. She was introduced to the most influential figures in national politics, culture, and the military, with the great wealth of her mother and the popularity of her father’s military rank, who were also entertained by her mother, paternal uncle, and paternal aunt.

Ellen Herndon was on holiday with her mother in Saratoga the year after her father’s death, when her cousin, Dabney Herndon, then a medical student, introduced her to the lawyer, Chester Alan Arthur, his roommate in New York. It was the beautiful singing of Ellen Herndon which first caught the attention of Arthur. He offered to marry her a year later, in 1858, again at Saratoga, on the front porch of the United States Hotel, and she agreed.

She was twenty-two years old when she married Chester Alan Arthur, the future twenty-first president of the United States of America. Accounts indicated that their wedding reception was held in Mrs. Herndon’s home. After the wedding, the two lived with Ellen’s mother and were blessed with three children; two boys and a girl. Their eldest son was William Lewis. He died of convulsion when he was only two and a half years old, leaving his parents devastated. Their second son was Chester Alan Arthur II. Lastly, their only daughter, Ellen Hansbrough. She was still young when her father became the president; although, she was sheltered from the media. Chester Arthur managed his mother-in-law’s real estate assets and investments. Soon, he became successful in practicing law.

The social network of Ellen Arthur expanded the political contacts of her husband. It was clear to many observers that the respect and prestige that could come with his rise to an influential political role is ambitious for both of them.

Nell Arthur came down with a cold on January 10th, 1880. She developed pneumonia soon and died two days later, in New York City, New York, on January 12, 1880, at the age of 42. In Albany, New York, she was buried in the Arthur family plot. Her husband mourned her death and even ordered to put fresh flowers before her portrait in the White House daily.

Chester Alan Arthur II

portrait of Chester Alan Arthur II

He was born on July 25, 1864 in New York City. He was the second son of Ellen and Chester Arthur and the only surviving child of the late president. In 1885, he graduated from the University of Princeton and went on to Columbia Law School. A gentleman of leisure, he became.

On his deathbed, President Arthur warned his son not to go into politics. Alan Arthur traveled widely, maintained a fine horse stable, and relied on polo for practice. A celebrated playboy, he married Myra Townsend Fithian, an heiress from California, at the age of 36. After 16 years of marriage, the pair split and, in 1927, divorced. He eventually settled in Colorado Springs. He married a real estate and insurance businesswoman, Rowena Graves, in 1934. His first marriage gave him two children. His daughter Myra who died at an early age. On the other hand, Chester Alan “Gavin” Arthur III was married; however, he never had any child.

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