Chester A. Arthur, 21st President of the United States

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President Chester Alan Arthur, Sr.

Birthplace: Fairfield, Franklin County, Vermont, United States
Death: November 18, 1886 (57)
Chester A. Arthur House, New York City, New York County, New York State, United States
Place of Burial: Menands, Albany, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Reverend William Arthur and Malvina Arthur
Husband of Ellen Lewis "Nell" Arthur
Father of William Lewis Herndon Arthur; Chester Alan Arthur, Jr. and Ellen Herndon “Nellie” Pinkerton
Brother of Regina Malvina Arthur; Jane Arthur; Ann Eliza Arthur; Almeda Arthur; William Arthur and 3 others

Occupation: President of the US, 21st President of the United States, United States President & attorney
Managed by: Susan
Last Updated:

About Chester A. Arthur, 21st President of the United States

21st United States President. He was born in Fairfield, Vermont the fifth of eight children to a abolitionist Baptist minister. He was tutored at home until age nine then enrolled at a primary school in then Union Village, now Greenwich, New York. He graduated from Union College then taught school, studied law, admitted to the bar, and while practicing law in New York City met Ellen Herndon. After a brief courtship, they were married the day before the Civil War began and he spent the duration as the appointed Quartermaster General of the State of New York. He became a power broker in the Republic Party which led to a failed Presidential nomination at the 1880 Republican Convention but he reluctantly accepted the nomination of Vice President under President Garfield. Ellen passed away prior to his becoming Vice President leaving Arthur in deep mourning which sorrowed him the rest of his life. With almost a blink of the eye, he ascended to the Presidency after the assassination of Garfield. His first order of business was to remove and discard twenty-four wagon loads of White House furnishings. Public outrage led to declaring the White House a National Museum thus safeguarding its possessions for all times. The Arthur term was literally endured as a four year period of mourning. The president placed a portrait of his deceased wife in the hallway and arranged for fresh flowers to be put under her portrait each morning. Social functions were reduced to a minimum. His administration produced little of substance. He was a champion of civil service reform and tried to reduce tariffs rates to avoid annual surpluses of revenue but the Congress raised more rates then he trimmed. He denied reports of ill health but knew he was suffering from a fatal kidney disease during the second year of tenure. He kept himself in the running for a second term but was not renominated. Returning to New York, he tried to resume the practice of law but ill health prevented work as well as indulging in his favorite passion of simple fishing. He became frail and was unable to leave his bed. Death came at his New York City mansion in the same room where his wife Ellen passed away six years before. He was taken home to Albany by train and with President Grover Cleveland in attendance, a state funeral was conducted with interment beside his wife and son in the family plot at the Rural Cemetery in Albany. A bronze ornate sarcophagus was erected on the grave years later but the President was not placed inside but remained buried underneath. His physical legacy matches the accomplishments of his term in office and little remains today: The President Arthur State Historic Site in Fairfield, Vermont has a granite monument heralding a disputed site supposedly his birthplace and nearby is a facsimile, embellished house constructed to represent the second family home which was constructed by his father's Baptist Congregation to replace the original which was a hastily constructed primitive cabin. Albany Rural Cemetery is a beautiful historic cemetery in upstate New York. The grave of President Arthur is located on cemetery property purchased by his father, the Reverend William Arthur. The memorial was designed by Ephriam Keyser with friends contributing into a fund for its construction as well as a bronze statue erected in New York City's Madison Square Park not far from the Chester Arthur House. In residence when Garfield was assassinated, he then took the oath of office on the front steps. This 5-story brownstone row house is currently owned by a slum landlord and is generally deteriorated and rundown. (bio by: Donald Greyfield)

Chester Alan Arthur is Dorothy Willard's 10th Cousin 2 times removed.

American politician who served as the twenty-first President of the United States. Arthur was a member of the Republican Party and worked as a lawyer before becoming the twentieth vice president under James Garfield. While Garfield was mortally wounded by Charles J. Guiteau on July 2, 1881, he did not die until September 19, at which time Arthur was sworn in as president, serving until March 4, 1885.

Before entering elected politics, Arthur was a member of the Stalwart faction of the Republican Party and a political protégé of Roscoe Conkling, rising to Collector of Customs for the Port of New York, a position to which he was appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant. He was then removed by the succeeding president, Rutherford B. Hayes, in an effort to reform the patronage system in New York.

To the chagrin of the Stalwarts, the onetime Collector of the Port of New York became, as President, a champion of civil service reform. He avoided old political cronies and eventually alienated his old mentor Conkling. Public pressure, heightened by the assassination of Garfield, forced an unwieldy Congress to heed the President. Arthur's primary achievement was the passage of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act. The passage of this legislation earned Arthur the moniker "The Father of Civil Service" and a favorable reputation among historians.

Publisher Alexander K. McClure wrote, "No man ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted, and no one ever retired… more generally respected." Author Mark Twain, deeply cynical about politicians, conceded, "It would be hard indeed to better President Arthur's administration."

President Arthur was featured on a U.S. postage stamp issued in 1938.

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The matter of his American birth is still a matter of debate as a strong case also can be made for Stanbrige East, Quebec, Canada, where his father lived and served as Baptist pastor at the time.

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Chester A. Arthur, 21st President of the United States's Timeline

October 5, 1829
Fairfield, Franklin County, Vermont, United States
Age 20
Hoosick, Rensselaer, New York
December 10, 1860
New York, New York, United States
July 25, 1864
New York, New York, NY
November 21, 1871
New York, New York, NY
Age 50
New York (Manhattan), New York City-Greater, New York, United States
November 18, 1886
Age 57
Chester A. Arthur House, New York City, New York County, New York State, United States
November 18, 1886
Age 57
Albany Rural Cemetery, Menands, Albany, New York, United States