Chester Alan Arthur II

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Chester Alan Arthur II
Born (1864-07-25)July 25, 1864
New York, New York
Died July 18, 1937(1937-07-18) (aged 72)
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Nationality United States
Education College of New Jersey, 1885
Occupation sportsman, art connoisseur
Known for son of the President Chester A. Arthur I
Spouse(s) Myra Townsend Fithian Andrews (m. 1900)
Rowena Dashwood Graves (m. 1934)
Children Chester Alan (Gavin) Arthur III
Parents Ellen Lewis Herndon
Chester A. Arthur I

Chester Alan Arthur II, also known as Alan Arthur, (July 25, 1864 – July 18, 1937) was the son of President Chester A. Arthur I. He studied at Princeton University and Columbia University's Law School. After completing his studies, Arthur traveled throughout Europe for 10 years. In 1900 he married in Switzerland and moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado to improve his health.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Chester "Alan" Arthur's parents

Ellen Lewis Herndon Arthur (1837 – 1880), photograph taken between 1857 and 1870
Chester Alan Arthur I (1829 – 1886), photograph taken 1859

Chester Alan Arthur II was the son of Ellen Lewis Herndon and Chester A, Arthur I.[1] Ellen was the daughter of explorer William Lewis Herndon.[2] He was born on July 25, 1864[3] in New York City.[2] Chester was the second child; William Lewis Herndon Arthur, the first born to the couple, was born in December 1860, named after Ellen's father, and died in July 1863[4][5] from convulsions[2] or swelling of the brain.[6] It was particularly difficult for Nell, her husband wrote, "Nell is broken hearted. I fear for her health."[4] Feeling as if they had "taxed" William's brain with "intellectual demands",[2][6] they pampered their second son, who "led a life that closely resembled that of European royalty."[2] He wore nice clothes, learned to sail and ride, and was taught charm and vanity. His parents had somewhat of a laissez-faire attitude about his academics.[6]

He had a younger sister, Ellen "Nell" Herndon Arthur, who was born in 1871.[4][7][nb 1]

The family had a home at 123 Lexington Avenue in New York. There, Ellen held musical recitals, dinners and other parties at home to support her husband's professional and political ambitions. Chester had offices at Fifth Avenue Hotel, which was then the "epicenter of New York Republican politics. Although it was near his family's home, he used the hotel as a second home. He also spent many evenings away from the family at Delmonico's.[10] From March through April 1878, Arthur traveled with his mother and sister to Europe.[4]

His parents' marriage was not particularly happy; Ellen Arthur had difficulty managing her husband's "late hours and high living". His mother died in 1880 of pneumonia, before President Arthur was inaugurated.[1] Regarding his father's reaction to his wife's death, "It was said that something graver, softer, kindlier, was observable in the character of her husband, aft the falling of that heavy blow."[11]

If was said of his father's attentiveness to his children, "although Arthur loved to showcase his two children"[1] at New York[12] and "White House social affairs, he much preferred fishing, feasting with his cronies, and administrative work to family life."[1][7] His relationship with his children was considered "somewhat strained and aloof".[12]

Author Annette Atkins theorizes that Chester Alan Arthur II may have developed a "rosebud gathering", or live for the moment attitude about life due to his mother's early death at the age of 42. Another contributing factor may have been the zealousness of his father's ambitions that kept him away from his family, which was very difficult for his mother, and presumably the children.[6]

Prince of Washington[edit]

USS Despatch

The presidential yacht during Chester A. Arthur's presidency that his son enjoyed.

President Arthur did not spend much time with his children, but he liked to "showcase his children" during lavish parties he held in Washington. Ellen did not particularly enjoy the attention, but Chester Arthur II "took to the social life" and enjoyed a life of leisure over one of professional ambition.[7][nb 2] He was called "the Prince of Washington" for the way he made the most of being the son of the President, such as attending receptions and using the presidential yacht.[13] Arthur attended College of New Jersey (later named Princeton University) during his father's presidency and would take the train from the college town to Washington, D.C., and would party "into the wee hours".[14] During his White House visits he would play the piano and the banjo.[15]

Arthur was at his father's side at the family's 123 Lexington Avenue house when[16] President Chester A. Arthur died in 1886.[17] Shortly before his father's death, Arthur burned his father's official papers that filled 3 garbage cans; He was dubbed the "presidential papers destoyer". Someone intervened to prevent the destruction of all of the papers.[8]

Arthur and his sister remained close until her death in 1915. He had once expressed concern that when Ellen married, he would have lost all connections with any family. When Ellen became engaged, she told her brother that he was not losing her and that getting married hadn't altered the extent to which she loved him. When Myra became pregnant, Arthur told his sister first before anyone else.[18]

Education[edit]

Arthur attended College of New Jersey (later named Princeton University)[7] and graduated in 1885.[3] He studied law at Columbia Law School,[13] in the hope of taking over his father's law firm in New York City[2] but withdrew before he completed his studies.[19]

Europe[edit]

After graduation, in 1887, he sailed to Europe[3] and stayed there for nearly 13 years.[13][19][20] His was able to travel every major European city and "enjoy a gentleman's life" due to his inheritance from his father.[20] He was part of Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales's, circle of friends. His son described him as "the perfect pattern of an Edwardian gentleman and of a Europeanized American." He was described as "tall, handsome and athletic."[21]

He married wealthy divorcée Myra Townsend Fithian Andrews on May 10, 1900 at the English American Episcopal Church and at a civil ceremony in Vevey, Switzerland.[3][13][22] While in Europe he enjoyed the company of "female admirers", the cuisine, and horses, particularly "driving horse-drawn carriages throughout the French countryside." By this time, he preferred to be called Alan. He campaigned for the position of Ambassador to the Netherlands in 1897, but was unsuccessful.[19]

He returned to the United States in 1900 and had a home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and also had a residence in Europe.[8]

Colorado Springs[edit]

Chester Alan and Myra Arthur's home, Edgeplain in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In October 1900, Arthur and his bride came to Colorado for his health; he had asthma and bronchitis.[13] The couple's son, Chester Alan Arthur III, was born March 21, 1901.[3] Myra gave birth to a daughter, named Ellen for Arthur's mother and sister, but she did not survive.[20]

They lived on income from investments, including Arthur's interest in the 250,000 acre cattle ranch, Trinchera Estate. In addition to raising cattle, the company mined gold, cut timer, and created a game park reserve for antelope, elk, and bison.[19]

Arthur's health improved in the Colorado climate.[13][23] He was president of Cheyenne Mountain Country Club between 1905 and 1908. He also provided funding for facilities at the club.[24] Polo became a favored sport as the result of top polo players to the area. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt came to Colorado Springs, he had dinner at the Arthur's home, Edgeplain, and attended a polo match during his 1901 visit.[13][23]

Arthur and Spencer Penrose built a Cheyenne Mountain clubhouse, based upon the "gourmet, culinary" Rabbit Club in Philadelphia in 1914.[25]

Arthur's carriage is one of the exhibits at the Carriage Museum at Broadmoor Hotel.[26][27]

Memberships[edit]

Arthur was a member of New York's Member Union, Knickerbocker, Brook and Racquet and Tennis Clubs. In Paris, he was a member of the Travelers' Club. He was a member of the Denver Club, El Paso Club and Colorado Springs Country Club.[28]

Divorce and remarriage[edit]

Myra and Chester Arthur II divorced in 1927[3] or 1929. During the couple's marriage, Arthur had been a womanizer who enjoyed drinking and partying. Myra realized her husband has been having an affair in 1909, said that she would grant him his freedom but would fight to keep their son. The couple reconciled, but had a rocky marriage until they divorced.[20]

Arthur married Rowena Dashwood Graves in 1934.[3] She was 39 and he was 70 years of age when they married.[20]

Death[edit]

Arthur died on July 18, 1937[3] in Colorado Springs.[20] An obituary in the Miami Times said that Arthur was an "internationally known sportsman, art connoisseur and son of the late President Chester Arthur."[29] Rowena died in 1969.[20]

Legacy[edit]

He never lived the life his father had envisioned for him as an attorney. He may never have held a job. Instead his interests were polo, art and social gatherings. Among his friends were artists James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. He "thoroughly enjoyed a lifetime romp with wine, women and song."[6][8]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Nell married Charles Pinkerton. She led a private life and died in 1915.[8][9]
  2. ^ Ellen came to live at the White House and was looked after by President Arthur's sister, Mary McElroy. McElroy was also hostess at White House events.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Chester A. Arthur: A Life in Brief". Miller Center, University of Virginia. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Sandra L. Quinn (1 January 1995). America's Royalty: All the Presidents' Children. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-313-29535-5. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Arthur Family Papers". Library of Congress. pp. 3–4. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Dehler, Gregory J. (2007). Chester Alan Arthur: The Life of a Gilded Age Politician And President. Nova Science Publishers. p. 13. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  5. ^ William Osborn Stoddard (1888). Rutherford Birchard Hayes, James Abram Garfield, and Chester Alan Arthur. F.A. Stokes & Bro. p. 40. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Annette Atkins (2001). We Grew Up Together: Brothers and Sisters in Nineteenth-Century America. University of Illinois Press. pp. 39–41. ISBN 978-0-252-02605-8. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Family Life". Miller Center, University of Virginia. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d Sandra L. Quinn (1 January 1995). America's Royalty: All the Presidents' Children. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-313-29535-5. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  9. ^ Ruth Tenzer Feldman (24 October 2006). Chester A. Arthur. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 101. ISBN 978-0-8225-1512-8. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  10. ^ Zachary Karabell (21 June 2004). Chester Alan Arthur: The American Presidents Series: The 21st President, 1881-1885. Henry Holt and Company. pp. 35–36. ISBN 978-0-8050-6951-8. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  11. ^ Ruth Tenzer Feldman (24 October 2006). Chester A. Arthur. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8225-1512-8. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c Matthew Manweller (2012). Chronology of the U.S. Presidency. ABC-CLIO. p. 656. ISBN 978-1-59884-645-4. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "Arthur House". Colorado College Historic Walking Tour. Retrieved June 8, 2013. 
  14. ^ Carl Sferrazza Anthony (2 November 2000). America's First Families: An Inside View of 200 Years of Private Life in the White House. Touchstone. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-684-86442-6. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  15. ^ Carl Sferrazza Anthony (2 November 2000). America's First Families: An Inside View of 200 Years of Private Life in the White House. Touchstone. p. 253. ISBN 978-0-684-86442-6. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  16. ^ Zachary Karabell (21 June 2004). Chester Alan Arthur: The American Presidents Series: The 21st President, 1881-1885. Henry Holt and Company. p. 138. ISBN 978-0-8050-6951-8. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  17. ^ William Osborn Stoddard (1888). Rutherford Birchard Hayes, James Abram Garfield, and Chester Alan Arthur. F.A. Stokes & Bro. p. 99. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  18. ^ Annette Atkins (2001). We Grew Up Together: Brothers and Sisters in Nineteenth-Century America. University of Illinois Press. pp. 51–52, 53. ISBN 978-0-252-02605-8. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  19. ^ a b c d "Arthur Family Papers". Library of Congress. p. 5. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g Annette Atkins (2001). We Grew Up Together: Brothers and Sisters in Nineteenth-Century America. University of Illinois Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-252-02605-8. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  21. ^ Thomas C. Reeves (Summer 1972). "The search for the Chester Alan Arthur papers". Wisconsin Magazine of History (State Historical Society of Wisconsin (print version), Wisconsin Historical Society (electronic version)) 55 (4): 313. ISSN 1943-7366. 
  22. ^ Princeton Alumni Weekly. Princeton Alumni Weekly. 1900. p. 103. PRNC:32101081974634. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  23. ^ a b El Paso County - Colorado State Register of Historic Properties. History Colorado. June 8, 2013.
  24. ^ Steve Bogener (2003). Ditches Across the Desert: Irrigation in the Lower Pecos Valley. Texas Tech University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-89672-509-6. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  25. ^ "Timeline: History of The Broadmoor". The Gazette (via HighBeam Research) (Colorado Springs, CO). The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO). September 15, 2011. 
  26. ^ Janet H. Lee (August 28, 2000). "A carriage ride into our past/El Pomar museum displays vehicles from the 19th, 20th centuries". The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO). 
  27. ^ Judith C. Galas; Cindy West (1 July 1997). Walking Colorado Springs. Globe Pequot Press. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-56044-535-7. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  28. ^ Psi Upsilon Fraternity (1917). The twelfth general catalogue of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity. The fraternity. p. 353. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  29. ^ "Deaths Elsewhere - Colorado Springs - Chester Alan Arthur". Miami Times. July 19, 1937. Retrieved June 10, 2013.