Chester A. Arthur
Statue of President Arthur

Life as a Child

    The 21st president of the United States, born, Chester Alan Arthur, on 1829, October 5th. He was the first boy in a family of all girls named Regina, Jane, Almeda, and Ann. Chester's father was a Baptist minister and had a "quick temper," and the family was forced to move frequently because his father would insult congregation members in his sermon. Arthur's fifth sister was born in 1832 while they were living in North Feirfield. They then moved to Williston, Vermont, and his brother, William was born. Again they moved to Perry, and George was born in 1836; however, when they moved to York George died in 1838.   

School Life

    During the first 10 years of Arthur's life he did not go to school; instead, he learned to read and write by his father. His dad finally was able to stay a minister at a church long enough to where Arthur could go to school. His dad only made $500 a year (about $9,000 in todays money). Chet, as he was being called, was a natural born leader. He was friendly and could tell people how to do something without getting himself dirty. In 1841, another sister, Mary, was born. They moved to Schenectady, New York. Chet attended Lyceum High School and flourished there. He study Latin and Greek, and he became the coeditor of the school's newspaper. In 1845 Arthur enrolled in Union College and because of his excellent work at his high school he was allowed to skip his freshman year. He joined Psi Upsilon Fraternity, a social club. Arthur got fined for skipping chapel, got caught throwing the school bell in the Erie Canal, and jumping on and off slow-moving trains. He became president of the college's debating society. In 1848, he graduated from the college, and placed among the top three of his class. He was awarded membership in Phi Beta Kappa, an academic faternity.