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Josias Lyndon Arnold


Evert A. Duyckinck, 1 Cyclopaedia of American Literature 549 (Philadelphia: T.E. Zell, 1875)(2 vols.):

JOSIAS LYNDON, the son of Dr. Jonathan Arnold, was born in Providence in the year 1765. The family removed soon after to St. Johnsbury, Vt. Arnold entered Dartmouth College; on the completion of his course taught school for a few months in Plainfield, Conn., and then commenced the study of law in Providence. He was admitted to practice, but instead of pursuing his profession, accepted the office of tutor at Brown University. On his father's death in 1792, he removed to St. Johnsbury, where he married Miss Perkinson, March, 1795, and died after a ten-weeks' illness on the 7th June, 1796.

His poems were collected after his death in a small volume, with a biographical preface signed James Burrell, jun. . . .

"Born in Providence, R.I., 1765, he spent his youth in Winchester, N.H., and St. Johnsbury, Vt., and was graduated from Dartmouth College, 1788. He taught school in Plainfield, Conn., and studied law in Providence, Rhode Island. Both Dartmouth and Yale granted him an A.M. degree, 1791. In the winter of 1791-2 the death of his father brought him to Vermont where he practiced law, was twice elected to the legislature, and was married in March, 1795, to Susan, daughter of Dr. Nathan Perkins of Plainfield, Conn., of 'metallic tractor' fame. He died June 7, 1796. He is described as being spare in person, handsome and very sprightly. His widow collected his verse, and in 1797 appeared 'Poems by the Late Josias Arnold, Esq'r, of St. Johnsbury'—the first volume of verse ever published by a resident of Vermont."

[Walter John Coates & Frederick Tupper (eds.), Vermont Verse: An Anthology 224 (Brattleboro: Stephen Daye Press, MCMXXI)]

Walter John Coates (ed.), A Bibliography of Vermont Poetry and Gazetteer of Vermont Poets 35 (Montpelier: Vermont Historical Society, 1942)(vol. 1):

Dr. Jonathan Arnold, his father, was a congressman from Rhode Island and a friend to Vermont in her early struggle for statehood. He removed about 1780 to Winchester, N.H., becoming that year one of the charter proprietors of the town of Lyndon, Vt. Arriving in Vermont May 7, 1787, he became the first settler, and proprietary patron, of St. Johnsbury. At that time Josias was nine years of age, having been born April 22, 1768, in Providence. After childhood days at Providence, and several years of training in the family of Daniel Cahoon at Winchester, N.H., Josias in 1788 entered Dartmouth College, having evidenced "splendid proofs of poetical talents." Graduating in 1788 at the head of his class (Daniel Chipman being a classmate), he officiated for a time as rector of the Academy at Plainfield, Conn.—then took to the study of law in the office of Dr. Howell at Providence. From 1790 to '92 he was tutor in Rhode Island College, meanwhile pursuing literary studies. In 1791 both Yale and Dartmouth conferred on him the A.M. degree. His father's illness in 1791-2 called him to Vermont; and at Jonathan Arnold's death, March 9, 1793, he became guardian of the minor children, settling down in St. Johnsbury to the practice of law—being the first settled attorney in that town. He was not popular with the rough settlers because of his cultured manners, but was nevertheless elected to represent the town in the Vermont legislature three terms, 1793-4-5. Entering military life, he attained to the rank of colonel, and was rapidly rising in public and private esteem. In March 1795 he married Susan Perkins—daughter of that Dr. Nathan Perkins whose "metallic tractors" later occasioned the satirical poem of Thomas Green Fessenden, entitled "Terrible Tractoration." With his wife, however, he lived only one year, for he died of quick consumption July 7, 1796. He wrote considerable prose and verse of real finish, both before and during his residence in St. Johnsbury, contributing to the Dartmouth Eagle, The Rural Magazine, and to other publications. A wide knowledge of the Greek and Roman classics, and a satiric bearing, added flavor to his writings. Incidentally it may be be worth noting that Susan Arnold, his widow, married (second) Charles Marsh of Woodstock, thus becoming mother to George P. Marsh, once President of the University of Vermont. The town of Lyndon got its name from Josias Lyndon Arnold, who is described as being "spare, handsome and very sprightly."


Josias Lyndon Arnold, Poems by the Late Josias Lyndon Arnold, Esq., of St. Johnsbury (Providence, Rhode Island: Printed by Carter and Wilkinson, 1797)