Hannah Arnold Gravesite

Located in the Colonial Cemetery

Plaque sponsored by Bill & Peg Stanley

Located in the Colonial Cemetery

Once upon a time in Norwich, an 18 year old Benedict Arnold stood on this spot and watched as they lowered his long-suffering mother into her grave. Benedict himself was an apprentice, bound by indentured servitude to his mother’s cousins, the Lathrop Brothers. His father was suffering from alcohol-induced dementia, believed caused by sadness over losing four children: Absalom, Elizabeth, Mary, and an earlier son named Benedict, who died an infant in 1739. The children are all buried here.

Hannah Arnold died on August 15, 1759; her husband some years later. Young Benedict moved to New Haven with his sister, Hannah, and became extremely successful. He married Margaret Mansfield who died June 19, 1775. In New Haven, Arnold founded and commanded the 2nd Connecticut Foot Guard. During the American Revolution, he was a hero and became George Washington’s finest field general, winning many victories. Benedict Arnold built and commanded America’s first naval fleet of 16 vessels. The crew included 30 Marines that engaged the British in America’s first naval battle at Valcour Island on Lake Champlain, October 11, 1776.

After the Battle of Saratoga, October 7, 1777, British General John Burgoyne said of Arnold, “it was his victory.” Then a major general, Arnold was severely wounded and crippled for life. Assigned to Philadelphia, he married Margaret Shippen from a neutralist-loyalist family. She was later awarded a lifetime pension by Kind George III for “Her service to the Crown in the Colonies.” General Arnold, after the marriage, betrayed his young country and returned his loyalty to the Crown and planned to surrender West Point, which he later commanded, and General Washington to the British. To this day, he is America’s most famous traitor.

As British brigadier, he was ordered by Commanding General Henry Clinton to rout the privateers from the Port of New London. On September 6, 1781, troops under the command of Benedict Arnold burned the City of New London. Other British troops, under the command of Lt. Colonel Edmund Eyre, attacked Fort Griswold in Groton where many lives were lost in what was described as a massacre.

Local citizens, outraged at the treasonous act, descended as a mob on this cemetery and removed the gravestones of the father, Benedict, and the infant son, Benedict.

The only epitaph that remains is to Hannah King Arnold:

IN MEMORY OF

Hannah ye well beloved Wife of Capt. Benedict Arnold & Daughter of Mr. John & Elizabeth Waterman, (She was a Pattern of Piety Patience And Virtue) who died August 15, 1759 AEtatis Suae 52”

Lathrop Home

Lathrop Home

This site is the John Olmstead home lot

Located on 380 Washington Street

This site is the John Olmstead home lot, later the Samuel Lathrop home lot, inherited by Daniel Lathrop, Samuel’s son, in 1774. The original home was burned in February 1745. Recent restoration disclosed charred lumber, indicating that the original house forms part of the present structure.

Dr. Daniel Lathrop was the son of Thomas and Lydia (Abel) Lathrop. He was born in 1712 and 1744 married Jerusha Talcott, daughter of Governor Joseph and Abigail (Clarke) Talcott of Hartford. In 1733 he graduated from Yale and went to Europe to study “Chirurgery,” but started the first apothecary shop between Boston and New York. Dr. Daniel died in 1782.


A Note on Benedict Arnold

In his youth, Benedict Arnold served five years of indentured servitude and lived in this house. Benedict Arnold came from an excellent family background. His grandfather was Governor of Rhode Island. His mother was the daughter of a prominent citizen, and her epitaph states that “she was a pattern of piety, patience, and virtue.”

Many tales have circulated about Arnold’s wild, undisciplined childhood but virtually none is true. His father’s health problems caused young Benedict to leave school and become and apprentice to his mother’s cousins, Daniel and Joshua Lathrop. Those two Norwichites taught him the apothecary’s trade and then helped set him up in business in New Haven, Connecticut. There, Arnold became a prosperous merchant, heavily involved in the West Indies trade.

The Revolution fostered Arnold’s remarkable talents as a daring commander on land and water. He fought courageously in Ticonderoga, Quebec, Lake Champlain, and at the pivotal battles of Saratoga. He repelled a British force at Danbury, Connecticut for which the Continental Congress finally named him a major general. George Washington praised Arnold and his fighting general.

Wounded seriously at Quebec and then again at Saratoga, and seeing how poorly Congress supported its army, Arnold started to doubt the merits of the patriotic cause. Problems with the local officials in Philadelphia during 1778, after Washington named him military governor there, added to his growing disillusionment. After a vicious public attack on his character, Arnold opened negotiations with the British. He believed the Revolution had lost its way and would collapse, and he hoped to lead the people in settling their differences with the Crown short of independence.

In September 1780, Arnold led attacks on Richmond, Virginia, and in September 1781 on New London, Connecticut. The massacre of American soldiers at Fort Griswold across the Thames River that day, as well as the burning of New London, further increased patriotic enmity toward Arnold. He was not at Fort Griswold but was in overall command of the troops and who attacked that bastion.

After the war, Arnold resumed his mercantile career, trading out of Canada and England. He never quite enjoyed the prosperity of his earlier years. Arnold died in London in June 1801, aged 60 years, his name, despite his invaluable service to the patriotic cause, to become synonymous with treason.

His remains are interred at St. Mary’s of Battersea Church in London with his wife, Margaret Shippen Arnold, and daughter, Sophia.

Text by Professor James Kirby Martin, author, historian, professor of history.

Benedict Arnold

Plaque sponsored by Bruce McDermott

Located on 299 Washington Street

Benedict Arnold was born here in January 1741. He and a younger sister, Hannah, were the only children in the family of his father, also named Benedict, and his mother, Hannah Waterman King, to survive killer childhood diseases and reach adulthood.

Many tales have circulated about Arnold’s wild, undisciplined childhood, but virtually

Benedict Arnold was born here in January 1741

none is true. His father’s health problems caused young Benedict to leave school and become an apprentice of his mother’s cousins, Daniel and Joshua Lathrop. Those two Norwichites taught him the apothecary’s trade and then helped set him up in business in New Haven, Connecticut. There, Arnold became a prosperous merchant, heavily involved in the West Indies trade.

The Revolution fostered Arnold’s remarkable talents as a daring commander on land and water. He fought courageously at Ticonderoga, Quebec, Lake Champlain, and at the pivotal battles of Saratoga. He repelled a British force at Danbury, Connecticut for which the Continental Congress finally named him a major general. George Washington praised Arnold as his fighting general.

Wounded seriously at Quebec and then again at Saratoga, and seeing how poorly Congress supported its army, Arnold started to doubt the merits of the patriot cause. Problems with local officials in Philadelphia during 1778, after Washington named him military governor there, added to his growing disillusionment. After a vicious public attack on his character, Arnold opened negotiations with the British. He believed the Revolution had lost its way and would collapse, and he hoped to lead the people in settling their differences with the Crown short of independence.

In September 1780, amid a failed plot to turn patriot defenses at West Point, NY over to the British, Arnold defected. The British awarded him the rank of brigadier and indemnified him for his property losses, although more had been requested.

As a British officer, Arnold led attacks on Richmond, VA and in September, 1781 on New London, Connecticut. The massacre of American soldiers at Fort Griswold across the Thames River, that day, as well as the burning of New London, further increased patriotic enmity toward Arnold. He was not at Fort Griswold but was in overall command of the troops who attacked that bastion.

After the war, Arnold resumed his mercantile career, trading out of Canada and England. He never quite enjoyed the prosperity of his earlier years. Arnold died in London In June 1801, aged 60 years, his name, despite his invaluable service to the patriot cause, to become synonymous with treason.

His remains are interred at St. Mary’s Battersea Church in London with his wife, Margaret Shippen Arnold, and daughter Sophia.

Text by Professor James Kirby Martin author, historian, professor of history.