|Comfort ARNOLD76,77 was born in 1743.49,78 He died on 23 March 1827 at the age of 84 in Cayuga County, New York.49,78 |
Marriage of Comfort Arnold, of John, dec., and Mary Brown, of William, dec; married by Welcome Arnold, Justice, Dec 22, 1786. Vol 1, p.293 of Arnold's RI Vital Records. They were first cousins once removed.
1790 Census. Adams, Berkshire, MA:
Comfort Arnold: 3 white males over age 16. 2 white males under 16. 5 females in the household.
The NATIONAL GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY, Vol 90, no. 2, June 2002, has an article "Historical Truth, Clothed and Naked: The Peculiar ways of Judith (Bowen) Freeman Arnold", p.99-110, that tells a fascinating story about the second wife of Comfort Arnold.
Comfort Arnold was part of a set of families that migrated from Bristol County in Massachusetts and adjacent parts of Rhode Island out to Berkshire County in western MA then on to Cayuga Co NY. His first record in Berkshire places him in Adams, where he witnessed a Bowen deed in 1773. The family of Judith Bowen lived in Cheshire, a town neighboring Adams. He was in Adams for the 1790, 1800, and 1810 censuses; aged 45 or older in 1810. His last known Berkshire record was in Sep of 1810 when he witnessed another Bowen deed in Cheshire. Between 1814 and 1819, Comfort Arnold bought four properties in Cayuga County; in 1820 he was enumerated in Aurelius, Cayuga Co. He sold parts of his land in 1822 and 1823 and died in 1827. Comfort and his wife, Mary who died in 1818, are buried side by side in a small graveyard near the town of Fleming NY, now called the Arnold-Comstock Cemetery.
The "Cayuga Republican", newspaper in Auburn, NY, carried the following account on 29 Dec 1819:
"Comfort Arnold of Aurelius was married to Mrs. Judith Freeman of Brutus on Sun. the 19th inst. by Hon. John Grover."
The problem with this marriage is that all the evidence points to the fact that Judith (Bowen) Freeman was at this time still married to her first husband Warren Freeman and that there was never a divorce. After the death of Comfort Arnold, Judith returned to the household of Warren Freeman. She continued to use both surnames. She made deeds, appeared in the 1850 census, wrote her will, all as Judith Arnold. She was buried next to Warren Freeman as Judith Freemen and her children and grandchildren never indicated that she was ever anyone other than their mother/grandmother and the wife of Warren Freeman. In fact in the 1820 census, both Warren Freeman [Ontario Co] and Comfort Arnold [Cayuga County] enumerate a lady of Judith's age in their household. Subsequent genealogies of the Freeman family indicate two Freeman children born during the time Judith appeared to be living with Arnold - a boy George, born 31 Aug 1820, and a girl, Sarepta, born 24 May 1822. These two were certainly not recognized in the will of Constant Arnold and were obviously not his children, but Freeman's.
There is a deed made 8 Apr 1837, between Judith Arnold, widow of Comfort Arnold and formerly wife of Warren Freeman, late of Canadice in the county of Ontario, deceased, and Warren, Ira & John Freeman, of lawful age, children & heirs of said Warren Freeman and Noah B. Freeman to Sheldon Ashley. These children & heirs - Warren, Ira & John - were sons of Judith Bowen & Warren Freeman, as was Noah B. who was deceased. The problem with this deed is that Warren Freeman was at this time very much alive - he did not die until 11 Jul 1845 in Champaign Co, Ohio where the Freemans had moved about the same time as the deed of April 1837.
Now Judith Bowen had married Warren Freeman in Cayuga Co NY in Dec of 1801 - there is no official record as they were not yet kept at this time in New York. Seven of their children were born prior to Jun of 1816 in Brutus, Cayuga Co NY. Before the 1810 census, Warren Freeman had moved to Ontario Co and Judith was apparently married to Comfort Arnold. Perhaps they did divorce, or agree to disagree, or perhaps there had not been a legal marriage in the first place. They had sold property in Cayuga County as Warren & Judith Freeman, wife. Judith did buy and sell land in Cayuga Co during the time she was married to Comfort Arnold - this could have happened if she had a previous agreement with Arnold which would no doubt been agreeable to his children given that he had considerable property. Judith received only £15 in the will of Constant Arnold though he referred to her as "beloved wife Judith Arnold".
On 13 Dec 1822, Comfort Arnold sold two properties in Brutus to Seth Comstock, his son-in-law. Judith did cosign both deeds. The larger property of 50 acres, Comstock then sold back to Judith. Perhaps a prearranged sale for Judith's benefit. She sold this property in Nov of 1828 as Judith Arnold of Richmond, Ontario Co [Comfort had died and she appeared to be back with Warren Freeman.]
There seems to be way no way to now understand exactly what was going on here. There's every indication that Judith [Bowen] Arnold Freeman used whichever name was of greatest benefit to her at the time. It's difficult to explain the two children born during the time she was married to Comfort Arnold, unless Freeman had some other lady living with him at the time, or unless he had visits with Judith. Was there some sort of agreement between Arnold, Freeman and Judith, that she would take care of Comfort in his old age - he was some 36 years older than she? Or was there some sort of fraud going on? A granddaughter of Judith's told the family story, never hinting at the above problem except to refer to "peculiar ways" of her grandmother.
Comfort Arnold's will was dated 17 Nov 1825, proved 17 May 1827. He gave his youngest son, Comfort Jr. 1/3 use of the farm in Fleming and 1/2 the buildings on the east side of the road. He provided for Mary Brown Arnold, a daughter of Comfort Jr. The other 2/3 of the farm was given to his daughters Mary Comstock and Belinda Arnold [married to Silas Arnold]. Daughter Amarilla Haskins received use of a property in Brutus that was in possession of John Haskins [presumably his son-in-law] and Comfort gave Amarilla's daughter, Polly M. Haskins $50 at the age of 18. The eldest son Joseph received $30. Beloved wife Judith received $15 [a quite small bequest and raises further question about the situation]. Executors were Joseph Arnold, Seth Comstock, and Silas Arnold.