The 'Mysterious' Birthplace of Chester A. Arthur


Portrait of Chester A. Arthur circa 1882. Charles Milton Bell/Public domain

When Arthur was selected as the Republican party’s vice presidential nominee in 1880, questions arose about whether he had been born in the United States and consequently whether he was eligible to be vice president at all.

Tracy's Research:

  • Reeves, Thomas C. “The Mystery of Chester Alan Arthur's Birthplace.” Proceedings of the Vermont Historical Society. Vol. XXXVIII. No. 4. Autumn 1970. https://vermonthistory.org/journal/misc/MysteryOfChester.pdf
  • McAdam, Pat. “Arthur’s Secret.” Canada’s History. 1/17/2017. Originally from The Beaver, June-July 2000. https://www.canadashistory.ca/explore/politics-law/arthur-s-secret
  • Hinman, Arthur P. “How a British Subject Became President of the United States.” 1884. Via archive.org. https://archive.org/details/Hinman/page/n1
  • Greenberger, Scott S. “The Unexpected President: The Life and Times of Chester A. Arthur.” De Capo Press. 2017.
  • Brisbin, James S. “From the Tow-Path to the White House: The Early Life and Public Career of James A. Garfield, Major General U.S.A., The Record of a Wonderful Career Which, Like That of Abraham Lincoln, By Native Energy and Untiring Industry, Led This Man From Obscurity to the Foremost Position in the Councils of the Nation. Including a Sketch of the Life of Hon. Chester A. Arthur.” 1880. Via HathiTrust. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=iau.31858048850204;view=1up;seq=13
  • “The sun., September 21, 1881, Image 1.” Image provided by: The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation. Via Library of Congress. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030272/1881-09-21/ed-1/seq-1/
  • CBS Sunday Morning. “Born in the USA?” Produced by Mary Lou Teel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Khn1qOfUeyY
  • Aggarwal-Schifellite, Manisha. “Was Our 21st President Secretly Canadian? 19th Century Birthers Sure Thought So.” Atlas Obscura. 2/23/2106. https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/was-our-21st-president-secretly-canadian-19th-century-birthers-sure-thought-so
  • "GEN. CHESTER A. ARTHUR." New York Times (1857-1922), Jun 09 1880, p. 8. ProQuest. Web. 30 Apr. 2019.
  • National Archives. “Chester A. Arthur in the U.S. Census Records.” https://www.archives.gov/research/census/presidents/arthur.html
  • "CAMPAIGN NOTES." New York Times (1857-1922), Jul 09 1880, p. 4. ProQuest. Web. 30 Apr. 2019 .
  • Idaho semi-weekly world. “Is Arthur an American?” Portland Standard. October 07, 1881. Via Library of Congress. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84022135/1881-10-07/ed-1/seq-1/#date1=1880&index=3&rows=20&words=Arthur+born+Chester&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=&date2=1886&proxtext=chester+arthur+born&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
  • St. Johnsbury Caledonian. “Garfield and Arthur.” June 11, 1880. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84023253/1880-06-11/ed-1/seq-2/#date1=1880&sort=date&rows=20&words=Arthur+born+Chester&searchType=basic&sequence=0&index=0&state=&date2=1886&proxtext=chester+arthur+born&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
  • Sacramento daily record-union. December 23, 1880. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82014381/1880-12-23/ed-1/seq-1/#date1=1880&sort=date&rows=20&words=Arthur+born+Chester&searchType=basic&sequence=0&index=7&state=&date2=1886&proxtext=chester+arthur+born&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
  • The true northerner. (Paw Paw, Mich.), July 02, 1880, Image 4. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85033781/1880-07-02/ed-1/seq-4/#date1=1880&sort=date&rows=20&words=Arthur+born+Chester&searchType=basic&sequence=0&index=4&state=&date2=1886&proxtext=chester+arthur+born&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
  • The Abbeville press and banner. (Abbeville, S.C.), June 23, 1880, Image 4. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026853/1880-06-23/ed-1/seq-4/#date1=1880&sort=date&rows=20&words=Arthur+born+Chester&searchType=basic&sequence=0&index=3&state=&date2=1886&proxtext=chester+arthur+born&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
  • The Carbon advocate. (Lehighton, Pa.), June 12, 1880, Image 2. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83032231/1880-06-12/ed-1/seq-2/#date1=1880&sort=date&rows=20&words=Arthur+born+Chester&searchType=basic&sequence=0&index=1&state=&date2=1886&proxtext=chester+arthur+born&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
  • Centre Democrat. (Bellefonte, Pa.), February 03, 1881, Image 1. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84009409/1881-02-03/ed-1/seq-1/#date1=1880&sort=date&rows=20&words=Arthur+born+Chester&searchType=basic&sequence=0&index=9&state=&date2=1886&proxtext=chester+arthur+born&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
  • Western sentinel. [volume] (Winston [i.e. Winston-Salem], N.C.), February 03, 1881, Image 2. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026526/1881-02-03/ed-1/seq-2/#date1=1880&sort=date&rows=20&words=Arthur+born+Chester&searchType=basic&sequence=0&index=10&state=&date2=1886&proxtext=chester+arthur+born&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
  • Clearfield Republican. (Clearfield, Pa.), February 09, 1881, Image 2. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83032199/1881-02-09/ed-1/seq-2/#date1=1880&sort=date&rows=20&words=Arthur+born+Chester&searchType=basic&sequence=0&index=13&state=&date2=1886&proxtext=chester+arthur+born&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
  • The Indiana State sentinel. [volume] (Indianapolis), February 23, 1881, Page 4, Image 4 https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87056600/1881-02-23/ed-1/seq-4/#date1=1880&sort=date&rows=20&words=Arthur+born+Chester&searchType=basic&sequence=0&index=17&state=&date2=1886&proxtext=chester+arthur+born&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
  • National Republican., September 08, 1881, Image 2. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86053573/1881-09-08/ed-1/seq-2/#date1=1880&sort=date&rows=20&words=Arthur+born+Chester&searchType=basic&sequence=0&index=18&state=&date2=1886&proxtext=chester+arthur+born&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
  • Hylton, J. Gordon. “President Chester A. Arthur and the Birthers, 1880s Style.” 10/14/2009. Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog. https://law.marquette.edu/facultyblog/2009/10/14/president-chester-a-arthur-and-the-birthers-1880%E2%80%99s-style/
  • Memphis Daily Appeal. Friday, September 28, 1881. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045160/1881-09-23/ed-1/seq-2.pdf

Topics in this Podcast: 19th century, history mysteries, Vermont, conspiracy theories, U.S. history, U.S. presidents