Kurt's Historic Sites

Lemuel H. Arnold

Lemuel H. Arnold

Interment LocationVisited 
Providence, RIFebruary 9, 2022 

Photographed February 9, 2022.

One of Rhode Island’s most noted burial grounds is Swan Point Cemetery in Providence. Swan Point is the final resting place of numerous Rhode Island politicians, such as Lemuel Hastings Arnold, the state’s twelfth governor. His tombstone appears at the left hand side of this image, decorated with the flags of his country and his state.

The outer edges of Governor Arnold’s tombstone frame the carved bunting that is draped over his epitaph, which is chiseled into an oval. The inscription relates that Arnold was a graduate of Dartmouth College in 1811 at the age of 19. It also notes that he was elected governor 20 years later, and that he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1845. The epitaph also includes that he was born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, and that he died in Kingston, a village within the Rhode Island town of South Kingstown. Additional biographical notes not listed on the gravestone: Arnold had a background in law and manufacturing; he was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate, defeated in the 1840s by Major General Nathanael Greene’s nephew, Albert C. Greene; he served as a member of the Governor’s Executive Council during the enfranchisement-inspired rebellion led by Thomas Wilson Dorr from 1842 to 1843.

Photographed February 9, 2022.
Photographed February 9, 2022.

Among the other Rhode Island governors buried at Swan Point is Theodore Francis Green, Lemuel Arnold’s great-great-nephew. Green served as governor from 1933 to 1937, a century after his ancestor held the post.

Fast Facts

Born: January 29, 1792 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont

Spouses: Sally Lyman Arnold (m. 1819-1837); Catherine Shannard Arnold (m. 1847-1852)

Primary Political Affiliation: Whig Party

Gubernatorial Tenure: 1831-1833

U.S. House Tenure: 1845-1847

Died: June 27, 1852 in Kingston, Rhode Island

Age: 60

Interment: Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island

"This subject is one, that addresses itself to you as freemen having the prosperity of you State at heart, and not as political partizans. The public conduct of the man who heads the opposition is before you. We ask, after mature reflection, can you support him for the Chief Magistracy? Can you consent to bestow your suffrages upon such men as Lemuel H. Arnold and James F. Simmons, and those, who, from an inordinate love of Office, have attached themselves to the National Party? Are you willing to divest yourselves of all power in the management of you State affairs? Are you prepared to have the resources of the State, converted to the private uses and emoluments of individuals? Are you ready to have your good old republican form of Government exchanged for one, based on a monied aristocracy? If you are, vote for Lemuel H. Arnold and the National Senate.
"Whatever may be your disappointment and regret hereafter, we shall have the proud consolation to reflect, that we earnestly warned you against so rash and injudicious a measure."
- Investigator
1831, in an exposé written prior to Lemuel H. Arnold's election as Rhode Island governor. The report looked into the alleged corruption of Arnold and James F. Simmons during their tenure in the Rhode Island General Assembly. The conduct in question related to the speculation of state funds on the Providence and Pawtucket Turnpike.

Sources Consulted and Further Reading

Investigator. Attempted speculation of Lemuel H. Arnold and James F. Simmons upon the funds of the State, while they were members of the General Assembly. Providence: Republican Herald, 1831. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.a0000183319.

Office of the Historian, United States House of Representatives. “ARNOLD, Lemuel Hastings.” Accessed March 11, 2023. https://history.house.gov/People/Detail/8666.

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