Frank B. Arnold

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Frank B. Arnold (March 29, 1839 County Clare, Ireland – December 11, 1890 Unadilla, Otsego County, New York) was an American lawyer and politician from New York.


He was born as Michael Edwards in County Clare, Ireland. The family emigrated to the United States during the 1840s and settled on a farm near West Hartford, Connecticut. Aged 12 years, he changed his name to Benjamin Franklin Arnold and went to live with a family in Gilbertsville where he attended the local Academy. Later he changed his name to Frank B. Arnold and had this change legalized by the court. He graduated from Hamilton College, paying his tuition by teaching at the Unadilla Academy. While teaching, he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1864, and commenced practice in Binghamton. In 1867, he removed to Omaha, Nebraska, but returned two years later to Unadilla.

In 1873, he married Clarissa Mygatt Sands (1845–1881), and they had a daughter Clarissa Sands Arnold (1877–1926). The mother died in 1881, after giving birth to a boy who died soon after too.

Arnold was Supervisor of the Town of Unadilla from 1879 to 1885; Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Otsego County in 1881; a member of the New York State Assembly (Otsego Co., 2nd D.) in 1885, 1886 and 1887; and a member of the New York State Senate (23rd D.) in 1888 and 1889.

In November 1890, he ran for Congress in the 24th District, but was defeated by Democrat John S. Pindar. During the election campaign, the newspapers unearthed the fact of his name change and intimidated that it had been done "for dishonorable and degrading reasons." Depressed by the defeat and the slander campaign, he shot himself dead in his office with a pistol which had been the "murder weapon" in a case which he had defended in 1887, when he had obtained a verdict of manslaughter for his client.

He was buried at St. Matthew's Cemetery in Unadilla.


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New York Assembly
Preceded by
Hartford D. Nelson
New York State Assembly
Otsego County, 2nd District

Succeeded by
Walter L. Brown
New York State Senate
Preceded by
John E. Smith
New York State Senate
23rd District

Succeeded by
Titus Sheard