Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fire Damages Ancestral Home of President Chester A. Arthur

The Belfast Telegraph reports fire broke out at around 8:20 PM in the ancestral home of Chester Alan Arthur, the 21st US President.

The thatched Arthur Cottage and interpretive center in Cullybackey, Co Antrim present the story of President Arthur to tourists and other visitors.

President Arthur’s grandparents, Alan Arthur and Eliza née Meharg lived at the cottage. William Arthur, President Arthur's father, was born in the Cottage on December 5, 1797. He and other members of the family left for North America sometime between 1816 and 1820. He married Malvina Stone and became a Baptist Minister. Chester A. Arthur was born on October 5, 1830 in Fairfield, Vermont.

Besides Fairfield, there are other connections of Chester A. Arthur to the northeast US. Arthur attended Union College in Schenectady, New York in 1845 where he studied the traditional classics. As a senior in 1848, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and president of the debate society. He regularly donned a green coat to show his support for the Irish Republicans.

After living outside of Hoosick Falls, New York, Arthur returned to Union College and received his Master's degree in 1851.

At Union College, Arthur was a student of Eliphalet Nott, whose civil rights beliefs may have influenced Arthur's opinions. Union College Political Science Professor Clifford Brown has said Arthur became a New York City lawyer after graduation, and fought for civil rights. Arthur was involved with integrating the transportation system in New York City when the system depended on horse drawn trolleys.

Chester A. Arther died on November 17, 1886 and his grave is Albany Rural Cemetary in Menands, New York.

There is a statue of him at Madison Square in New York City and another outside the gate to Jackson's Gardens at Union College.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is investigating the fire at the Arthur Cottage in Ireland. Evidence is no one was at the property at the time the fire started. Apparently, the interpretive center and cottage remain intact.

Read more: Belfast Telegraph

Or: Union College article

1 comment: