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Andrew Arnold, the grandfather of William S. Arnold, married Catherine Reynolds, of North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Their children were two in number, Philip being the survivor. He was born in Warwick, and married Catherine, daughter of William Searls, and granddaughter of Richard Searls, of Cranston, Rhode Island. The children of Philip and Catherine Arnold were: Andrew R., born in 1810; William S., November 3d, 1811; Albert H., in 1813; George E., in 1816; Jabez, in 1818; Susan E., in 1821; Henry R., in 1823; and Catherine M., in 1827.
William S. Arnold, who is a native of Warwick, Rhode Island, at the age of seven years accompanied his father to Woodstock, Connecticut, where, until seventeen, he attended the common schools in winter and spent the summer months on the farm. He then removed to Masonville, in Thompson, and until 1841 filled the position of clerk, subsequently acquiring an interest in the store and cotton factory owned by the Masonville Company. In 1852 he became the exclusive owner of the store, and conducted the business successfully and profitably until the fall of 1867. Mr. Arnold having devoted his whole life without cessation to active business, then determined to retire from trade, and accordingly on the disposal of his interest became a man of leisure. He resided in East Greenwich and North Kingstown, and at other points where he found congenial surroundings, until 1884, when his present house near Putnam was purchased. Mr. Arnold was formerly a whig, and on the formation of the republican party joined its ranks. He has, however, been content to exercise the privilege of the ballot without controlling the offices within its gift. His pleasures have been found amid the peaceful scenes of domestic life rather than in the excitements attending a public career.
Mr. Arnold in 1836 married Lucina, daughter of Lot Underwood, of Pomfret, who died in September, 1865. Their children are: Harriet A., wife of Jacob F. Tourtellotte, of Winona, Minnesota, and Nason Henry, deceased, who married Mary Newman. Mr. Arnold was again married in 1886 to Mary E., daughter of Alphonso Williams, of West Glocester, Rhode Island, a descendant of Roger Williams.