Probably a stepbrother to Thomas Arnold who married Phebe Parkhurst. In William's statement his says that "Thomas Arnold my brother, my Mother in lawes sonne, was Baptized the 18th April, 1599. It is not clear if Thomas' father was Thomas or Nicholas Arnold.
The Arnold Family of Smithfield
It can be truly claimed that the family of Arnold is not only a historic family in New England but world wide historic as well so as European influence has extended the history of the human races.
Henry II of England, called the great “ Lawgiver,” took a great interest in genealogy. Ethelred of Rievaux, the great authority of the age, dedicated his great work, “Genealogic Regum,” to the king. He traced his pedigree back to Adam without referring to his Angevin father or Norman grandfather. This pedigree line in another form is one of the rich manuscript treasures of the crown of England today. Without venturing to dispute or prove its authenticity to Adam the line can be well proven back to one of the so called “Twelve Imrnortals” which name I think the poet Virgil gives to the twelve patrician families of Rome. This one was known as Arno. What is still singular, the name has remained from that far back period in history until now without change save in the terminal letters. During the age of heraldry for deeds done the public service I have seen drawings of more than 200 arms. To one versed in the reading of these emblems a history of the family could be written.
A branch of the family became settled on the border of Wales and England where it built up a strong following. From here, Abergaveny, came two of the family to New England. It will thus be seen that so far as family history goes no New England one can point to a more aristocratic origin.
William and his younger and half-brother left Portsmouth May i and arrived at Boston June 24 in the year 1635. He had the forethought to take the date of birth and baptism of his father's family. The first addition to this paper was the date of the emigration; the next was this item: “ Memorandum-We came to Providence to dwell April 20, 1636.”
This is the earliest date where the word Providence can be found. The first official using of the word is at the head of the Report of the Arbitrators, 27 of 5 mo., 1640.
That William Arnold and his brother Thomas were the wealthiest men of the Colony goes without saying. Thomas owned at the time of his death in September, 1674, near 10,000 acres of land. His brother William and two sons Benedict and Stephen could own nearly as much. They paid the heaviest tax in the Colony.
William Arnold has been very much misunderstood. Williams has given him a bad name. Mr. Williams was like our modern Teddy in some ways in giving characteristics to those who did not agree with him. In order to settle the general belief that Arnold was a bad man I intend to publish his letters to Massachusetts and the deeds he recorded there. Mr. Williams' letters have been published. It is now no more than right that the other should be also.
Thomas Arnold does not appear to have aroused~ Mr. Williams' ire so much as did his brother William or his nephew Benedict. Perhaps this was because Thomas would not quarrel with him. His son Richard appears to have been a man of influence as he was a member of Coy. Andros' Executive Council which made him practically acting Governor of the State for three years.