Chester Alan Arthur
Burial Location Visited President Grave #
Menands, New York April 2004 6th Visited

President Arthur's burial site is marked by
a patina-covered angel of mourning. The
grave was designed by sculptor Ephraim
Keyser. Arthur is interred beneath the
monument, not inside the sarcophagus.

This plaque is located at the base of the
president's monument. Despite what is
written on the plaque, Arthur was born in
1829. In the 1870s he changed his birth
year to 1830 to seem more youthful.

                                       *** Interesting Facts ***

* Chester Alan Arthur, a prominent New York politician that later became the president of the United States, was born on October 5, 1829. The site of his birth was a tiny cottage in Fairfield, Vermont, but the Arthur family later moved to a small farm in Canada, just a few miles from the border. During his run for the vice presidency in 1880, his political rivals used this against him, twisting the facts to say that Arthur was actually born in Canada and was thus ineligible to be vice president. Even after Arthur became the president, his enemies continued to try to get him thrown out of office. None of their attempts succeeded.

* In 1845, Chester Arthur enrolled at Union College in Schenectady, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1848. Studying to become a lawyer, Arthur was also the principal of Vermont's North Pownal Academy. Later, he relocated to New York City, where he practiced law after being admitted to the bar in 1854. Around this time, Arthur handled a notable Civil Rights case that helped him establish himself in the field of law. In court he represented an African American woman named Elizabeth Jennings, who had been forced off of a New York City streetcar because of her ethnicity. Arthur succeeded and Jennings won the case. In 1859, he married Ellen Lewis Herndon, with whom he fathered three children. Ellen would succumb to pneumonia over a year before her husband became the vice president.

* Arthur was one of several U.S. presidents that were veterans of the American Civil War. He was a brigadier general, and served as both the state militia's inspector general and its quartermaster general. In 1871, with the help of political ally Roscoe Conkling, he became the collector of the port of New York. After that, Chester Arthur took up law once again. Then, in 1880, Arthur became Republican James Garfield's running mate for the upcoming election that year. It had been decided that, in order to win the election, Garfield would need to run with a member of the Stalwarts, a faction within the Republican Party. Against advise, Arthur stepped up to the plate, and was the only Stalwart willing to do so. Garfield and Arthur defeated Democratic opponents Winfield Hancock and William Hayden English, and were sworn in on March 4, 1881.

* Both Garfield and Arthur's lives changed soon after, though. On July 2, not even four months after he took the oath of office, James Garfield was struck down by a crazed office-seeker named Charles Guiteau. The president lay on his deathbed for over two months before succumbing to his injuries (or more likely infection due to unsterile probing of his wounds). This made Arthur the new president of the United States. Many government officials were not pleased with this revelation, and most of the members of his cabinet resigned before long. During his administration, Arthur did his best to continue the policies of both Hayes and Garfield, who set their sights on revising the civil service system, which was really the spoils system as anyone with connections could get into office. This was very surprising, as Arthur himself had benefited from the spoils system. Roscoe Conkling had helped his friend Arthur become the collector of the port of New York (until President Hayes booted him out). He supported the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, which created the much-needed Civil Service Commission. Many of his fellow Republicans did not support the bill, though, so Arthur did not find himself on the 1884 GOP ticket.

* President Arthur was an avid outdoorsman and used to fish frequently. Once, while in the state of Rhode Island, he supposedly caught a saltwater bass that weighed around 80 lbs. Going fishing and spending time outdoors made Arthur very appealing to some people, as it made him seem like a regular man. There were some things, however, that Arthur did that were fairly unusual. He is known to have changed his clothes several times a day for no apparent reason aside from the fact that he had over seventy-five pairs of pants. Arthur also had a full-time valet at the White House who would help the president with his clothing. But at the beginning of his administration, Arthur's valet did not accompany him to the White House, because the president did not live there himself. The stuck-up New Yorker refused to live in the Executive Mansion, which he viewed as shabby, until it was redone. Virtually all of the building's artifacts were carted out and auctioned off, despite their historical significance. While items belonging to John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln were being sold at public auction, Chester Arthur was supervising the addition of an ornate glass screen to the White House, courtesy of Louis Tiffany. Given the president's taste in decor, one would be surprised to learn that, instead of playing a classical instrument such as the piano, Chester Arthur used a banjo.

First Lady: Mary Arthur McElroy

  - Spouse: Ellen Lewis Herndon Arthur (m. 1859-1880)

Political Party:
Republican Party

Vice President:

Last Words:

- Cemetery: Albany Rural Cemetery, Menands, New York
- GPS Coordinates: 42°42'27.0"N 73°44'01.1"W

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