The 'Mysterious' Birthplace of Chester A. Arthur


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And our episode about Julius sands letters to Chester Arthur, we've mentioned that when Arthur was selected as the Republican party's vice presidential nominee in eighteen eighty some questions came up about whether or not, he had been born in the United States and consequently, whether he was eligible to be the vice president at all. And some of the details of this are a little convoluted and it's not necessarily everyday knowledge today. I think the random people in my life that I asked if they'd ever heard about this head not. But at the same time, it has had a surprising amount of staying power and after doing a little bit of research into this while doing that. Julia sand episode, I couldn't decide what to make the whole thing. So I texted, my friend, Amy who's a history teacher. And I asked her do you have an opinion on whether Chester a Arthur was born in the United States? She did not have an opinion, and then we talked about it for the next two. Two hours over the course of that conversation. We were both like this needs to be a whole episode and not just a two sentence side reference in the Julius and thing. So here it is the questions about Chester a Arthur's birth really trace back to his dad. Arthur's father William Arthur was born December fifth. Seventeen ninety six in County, Antrim, Ireland his family had enough money for him to get an education, including pursuing a degree at Belfast college. But William wanted to practice law, and they didn't really have the money or connections that he needed to do that. So William immigrated to Canada around eighteen nineteen hoping to find more opportunities there. He settled in Quebec not far from the United States, border and supported himself by teaching while he was still studying law in eighteen twenty one. He married, an American woman named mal, Venus stone from Vermont her family had moved to Canada. And then they had a daughter named Regina born in Dunham Canada in eighteen. Twenty two two years later in eighteen twenty four the couple moved to Burlington, Vermont, and Arthur continued to teach and study law, and their daughter, Jane was then born in Burlington, Vermont that same year. William Arthur, never put those years of legal study into practice. This was during the religious revival known as the second great awakening Arthur had been raised Anglican and after attending a revival meeting, he converted to free Baptist as that was happening. He and his wife had another daughter l Mehta born in Jericho Vermont, in eighteen twenty six by eighteen twenty eight they were living in Waterville, Vermont, where their daughter, Anna Elisa was born and later that year Arthur was ordained in Waterville from that point on people mostly knew him as elder Arthur. He also apparently stopped registering, the births of his children with civil authorities at this time in may of eighteen twenty eight the family moved to Fairfield Vermont. We were congregation had hired William as their preacher. In Fairfield elder Arthur, continued to teach to help make ends meet often with his students lodging with the family, the congregation was growing and building things like a new personage and the new church. But the Arthur's often struggled financially winters were especially hard, because William was disabled due to some kind of abscess or injury to one of his legs back when he was still living in Ireland. It was harder for him to do physical work, or get around in the harsh snowy weather of winter Vermont, on October fifth eighteen twenty nine William and Malvina welcomed a son, and they named him Chester after Melvin his cousin, Dr Chester able, who had attended her during the birth. The baby's middle name Allen was after his paternal grandfather. So his full name was representing both sides of the family in October of eighteen thirty elder. Arthur, took a second job across the Canadian border, it east Stanbridge Quebec to try to support his still growing family. They would ultimately go on to have. Eight children. He took his eldest daughter Regina with him. He commuted back to Fairfield to preach, his Sunday, sermons there or thin a year, though. The family was moving yet again, in addition to being a teacher and a preacher William Arthur was an ardent abolitionist, Vermont had started the process of abolishing slavery back in seventeen seventy seven and black men in Vermont had been given the right to vote, but in the eighteen thirties, the idea of abolishing slavery throughout the United States was incredibly controversial, pro slavery and anti abortion riots and other violence were pretty common including in places where slavery had already been abolished William was really outspoken in his views against slavery, and before long he was no longer welcome in Fairfield. The family moved repeatedly over the next few years, mostly around Vermont, and New York, they would stay in place until they were run out of town by anti-abortionists or until church, leadership decided Williams, activities. Were too much of a liability throughout all of this Chester Arthur in his siblings or being taught at home that changed when the family moved to Schenectady New York in the summer of eighteen forty four for the first time Chester was enrolled in a formal school. He went to Schenectady lyceum academy. And then he started at union college in eighteen forty five. He took up the study of law that his father had previously abandoned. Also, like his father Chester Arthur, worked as a teacher to support his study of law, this included summer, teaching jobs and in eighteen fifty one a post as principal of the school where two of his sisters worked there. He was also assigned to teach a group of particularly ill behaved boys. He also developed romantic friendships with two other young men, Campbell Allen, and James Masten James would later Mary, Chester sister omega as they got older Chester and some of his siblings became pretty disenchanted with their fathers, self righteous behavior and his almost zealous. Suit of both religion and abolition. So Chester having the option to do so left home. He moves to New York City in eighteen fifty three soon. He was moving in Republican political circles and the rest of that story is in our earlier episode on his letters from Julia sand. In June of eighteen eighty Chester a Arthur became the Republican party's nominee for vice president of the United States, soon, the Arthur family's nomadic life during the eighteen twenties and thirties, elder, Arthur's, not reporting, his younger children's births and Chester Arthur's extreme secrecy with the press all combined to cause a problem. Rumors started to spread among both Democrats, and the moderate Republican faction known as half breeds in some versions, Arthur had been born in his father's birthplace of Ireland in other versions, he had been born in Canada. The Ireland rumor was quickly dismissed as impossible. But that Canada rumor hung on, according to article two section one of the US. Institution, quote, no person except a natural born citizen or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this constitution. Shelby eligible to the office of president and according to the twelfth amendment which took effect in eighteen. Oh, four, quote, no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of president shall be eligible to that of vice president of the United States. The constitution doesn't define exactly what natural born citizen means, but it's generally defined as someone who was a citizen from the time they were born without having to go through a naturalization process when Chester Arthur was born it was generally agreed that free white people born in the United States were citizens from birth, although it wasn't formally part of the law until leader. The law also recognized that a person might be born outside of the United States. Two citizen, parents and still be considered a citizen from birth. But at that time, the law considered this citizenship. A pass through the father and not through the mother Arthur's father, didn't become a US citizen until eighteen forty three way after he was born. So if Arthur had been born in Canada, he would not be considered a US citizen, even though his mother was a citizen and we're going to get to how all of this unfolded after we I take a little sponsor break. 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So send subpar rental search sites packing, and visit apartments dot com to find your perfect place apartments dot com change her apartment change the world. Eighteen eighty Republican national convention ran from June second to eighth of that year and then on June ninth the day after it was over the New York Times ran a profile of the party's new vice presidential nominee, which stated, quote, general Chester a Arthur was born in Franklin county, Vermont October fifth eighteen thirty on June eleventh, the Saint John's break Caledonian of Saint John's brave Vermont wrote, quote, the papers say, Chester a Arthur was born in Lang's, Enberg, New York, fifty years ago, but as father used to live in Vermont, and some say the candidate was born in Fairfield on June twelfth the carbon advocate of Lee. Heightened Pennsylvania published an article that said he had been born in Vermont in eighteen thirty one the Abbeville press and banner of Abbeville, South Carolina published an article on the twenty third that said Arthur had been born in Albany in eighteen thirty one he was born seventeen. Times in various places. A little later in eighteen eighty General James as Brisbane published a biography for the campaign called from the towpath to the White House, the early life and public career of James a Garfield Major General USA, the record of a wonderful career, which like that of ABRAHAM LINCOLN by native energy and untiring industry, led this man, from obscurity to the foremost physician in the councils of the nation, including a sketch of the life of honorable Chester. A Arthur moment of silence for these fabulous titles. The text follows the same pattern as the titles spending more than five hundred pages on Garfield biography and Twenty-three on Arthur's with five of those being the text of Arthur speech, accepting the nomination Brisbane gives Arthur's date and place of birth as October fifth eighteen thirty in Fairfield Franklin county, Vermont, though, it's clear from just these examples, which are just some of the reporting around all of this. There was some confusion about exactly when and where Arthur was born I found zero references from eighteen eighty that said that he was born in Fairfield Vermont, on October fifth eighteen twenty nine which is what's considered correct today, by the late fall and early winter of eighteen eighty this lack of clarity about wearing win. Are there had been born head grown to include suspicion that wherever it was? It was not in the United States in article published on December twenty third eighteen eighty. The second daily record union read, quote a lawyer of Brooklyn has been investigating in Vermont, to see if Chester a Arthur was not really born on Canadian soil and left, apparently pleased with his discoveries old residents say there is no question of Arthur, being a citizen. The Brooklyn lawyer being referenced was Arthur p Henman, who in some accounts had been hired by the Democrats, and in others was an anti stalwart Republican. He really could have been both those things at the same time at first him and believe that Arthur had been born in Ireland. But he gradually started focusing on the idea that he might really be Canadian, he traveled to the Vermont Quebec of border area to interview people about what they remembered of the Arthur, family, and their baby boy from fifty years before later on in eighteen eighty four when Arthur was pursuing a nomination for reelection. Henman published these eighteen hundred findings in a book, titled how a British subject became president of the United. States without really citing any sources hinman allege that after being nominated for vice president Arthur couldn't say where he had been born hinman also alleged that Arthur had gone to Montreal after the Republican national convention to see if there was any evidence of his birth records, there, there is no evidence for either of these assertions. Although the day after the convention ended the New York Times did publish a column called campaign notes, which paraphrased Roscoe conquering as saying, he might spend some time that summer fishing with Arthur in Canada. Def Henman's content and was this was not a fishing trip. It was a go. See if you're out and if so cover it up trip, hin bins key witness was a quote MRs Stevens who had been a playmate and companion of MRs Arthur went at school. According to hinman MRs Stevens said that Chester Arthur's mother Melvina had given birth to her oldest boy on March sixteenth eighteenth eighteen twenty eight at her. Parents house in Dunham flats and Quebec. Mrs Stevens remembered that it was one day off from Saint Patrick's Day, but she couldn't really remember in which direction, it was one day off of Saint Patrick's Day, this baby. According to her was named William Chester Alan Arthur, hinman went on to say that in November of eighteen thirty Melvina Arthur had delivered another son Chester able Arthur, while living in Fairfield, Vermont Chester able had then died in eighteen thirty one while the family was visiting Burlington, Vermont from their Henman details. More moves and more births for the Arthur family before arriving at the eighteen thirty four birth of William Arthur junior, and Heinsburg Vermont, at that time hinman claimed the family decided to drop the William from their oldest son's name William Chester Alan Arthur, making him just Chester Alan Arthur, hinman connected all these dots to conclude that the man the world new as Chester Alan Arthur born in Vermont was really. Early. His eldest, brother born in Quebec, so dramatic and weird. Not only that hinman contended that William Chester Alan Arthur, had decided to adopt the birthdate and birthplace of his deceased baby brother Chester able when he decided to run for president. There are some problems with Henman's account. It is cobbled together from a hodgepodge of interviews, many of them with people in their elder years, who were recalling events and baby names from about fifty years before a lot of these accounts really contradict each other, and while hinman cherry picked the ones that supported his allegations when describing what he thought happened he then included, all of them in his book, whether they backed him up or not. So you can go read all of like the totally disparate accounts of what people thought this baby's name was, and when he was born in his explanation, so sort of the summary portion of this book, it is often, not clear, whose account hinman is referring to and in some spots. He doesn't seem to have a source for what he's saying at all. Maybe. Wouldn't pass muster in your journalism, one to one course now on top of that his whole argument, rests on the idea that Melvina or is there gave birth to a boy named William Chester Alan Arthur on, either March sixteenth, or eighteenth of eighteen twenty eight but we know that she gave birth to a daughter and Elisa Arthur on January, first of eighteen twenty eight the only way this could have happened would be for these two children to have been fraternal twins born eleven weeks, apart, or for Melvina Arthur, to have had to wombs and been pregnant in both at the same time, both of those scenarios are incredibly rare, and the I would have been virtually impossible, given the state of medicine in eighteen twenty eight has more likely to happen on Grey's anatomy than in the real world. Even so, though by February of eight hundred eighty one after the election. But before the inauguration papers were reporting on hinman speculations sometimes mentioning him by name and other times, not, for example, the center democrat of Bellefonte Pennsylvania published an article on February third. Eight eighty one that read, quote, it has been charged with great deliberation for several weeks, that Chester a Arthur, the vice president elect is not a native of the United States. These allegations have taken form and Affidavit's have been procured by those investigating the matter, which go on to prove conclusively that Mr. Arthur was born in Canada. Also on the third the western sentinel of Winston Salem North Carolina published. This statement quote the latest sensation. Now is that Chester a Arthur is not eligible to the position of vice president to, which he has been elected in the probability that w h English will yet be vice president six days later. The Clearfield Republican of Clearfield Pennsylvania, quote, where was he born is now agitating, the public mind. The vice president elect Chester a Arthur claims that he was born in the state of Vermont. But a little investigation seems to show that he was born in Canada. And therefore is not eligible it is queer that a sensible man cannot tell where he was born and on February twenty third in the Indiana state sentinel, quote, it seems to be impossible to find out just where Chester eight Arthur, vice president elect was born Arthur does not know he was not born where nor win, he asserts, he was born he has no proof of his native, but the Senate committee on privileges and elections have come to the conclusion that he was born in three towns and all within the United States that will do, so I did not actually find evidence that the Senate committee on privileges and elections had come to that conclusion at all and the national Republican called the report that the committee was looking into. To it and idiot LA I also to be clear. These newspapers all had their own political slants, and some of them had initially been started to support a specific candidate or a specific party. So none of this should be interpreted as an impartial account of anything. I did for a while ago on this rabbit hole of trying to trace the political leanings of the editors of all these papers, and then I was like this is like fifteen different papers, where referring to you that's gonna take me a master's thesis. And this is a thirty minute podcast as an aside him, I'm the only one that doesn't think it would be that weird to not know where you're born. No. I think that's totally like one you don't remember. Right. And to his family was so no Matic yet. They might not even remember with any sort of clarity or consistency. Yeah. I, totally know where my, where I was born because my parents told me specifically and we lived like near enough to the hospital. I was born in that we would go pass it, and my mom would be like, that's reborn. But we'll and it was a recorded birth as well, right? Yeah. I have a birth certificate. But yeah, these are all babies who are mostly being born at home or at relatives house like in the family that we're moving around a whole lot and win babies weren't viewed with quite the same. There was not the level of preciousness, like yes, liberation. Yes. So many babies died when they were really young like sometimes people didn't even name their babies until later like it was not nearly as documented as now. So the, the fact that there was uncertainty is not really a strange. No. I don't think so either James Garfield was inaugurated as president on March fourth eighteen eighty one and at that point, the chatter about where Arthur was born seems to have quieted down, at least as far as what was being printed in newspapers. But after Garfield was shot by Charles j guitar. So the question took on a renewed urgency, and we're going to talk more about that after we have another little sponsor break. This episode is brought to you by joi bird. 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Find your joy today at joy bird dot com slash history. Create the furniture that. Brings you joy today at joy dot com slash history. Go to joy dot com slash history and receive an exclusive offer for twenty five percent off your first order by using the code history. President Garfield survive for weeks after being shot in March of eighteen eighty one and as his death seemed more and more likely people once again, started raising questions about his vice president and whether he was eligible to the presidency on September eighth. Eight eighty one. The national Republican of Washington DC published this exchange as a letter to the editor, quote to the editor of the Republican, will you? Please inform me where general Chester a Arthur was born CJ lemon. The answer quote, general Arthur was born in Fairfield. Franklin county Vermont on October fifth eighteen thirty. There are some persons who do averred that he was born in Canada. But they do not know what they are talking about. Surprisingly. The Republicans, definitive statement did not settle this issue. They do not know what they were talking about. I love that Garfield died on September nineteenth eighteen eighty one on September twentieth. The New York herald printed report written before his death, which definitively stated that Arthur was born in Fairfield. Vermont it based this conclusion on an interview with an anonymous source who was described as an intimate friend. This friend said the whole story of a foreign birth came about because Arthur's old neighbors, quote, assumed too much when hearing that Chester Arthur had been named for Dr Chester able, the Herald's reporter interviewed AP hinman and recapped his version of events as well. The herald also interviewed New York lawyer, and former US district attorney, George bliss, who was a colleague of Arthur's, who said in part, quote, I can only say that the whole thing is the most errant nonsense. I might as well have been asked whether Cicero was a citizen. And the question of the American citizenship of Mr. Arthur is so absurd that it would be a waste to say anything about it. The Herald's report was picked up and republished in other newspapers, including the Memphis, daily appeal on September twenty first the New York sun published the findings of its own investigation into where her had been born. The sun's report ran under the headline general Arthur's birth birthplace, it is near the Canada line on the Vermont side. It began quote the son has received lately, many letters of inquiry as to the birthplace of Chester Alan Arthur, as well as other letters professing doubt of general Arthur citizenship. Some of them alleging that he was born in the neighborhood of Dunham Canada. And therefore, not eligible to the vice presidency to settle that question. Definitely a reporter for the sun visited Fairfield Franklin county, Vermont, which has generally been regarded as Mr. Arthur's birth place, the place in Canada, where it has been alleged that he was born was also visited fear. Thinking right now. Hey Tracy and Holly. Is that the same New York sun that published the great moon hoax? And the yes, Virginia letter. Yes, it is. Sure thing. It also seems to have at least in the like the hodgepodge of articles from there from this particular year because it's political leanings shifted over time. It really seems to be more critical of Republicans than Democrats in eighteen eighty one so like Arthur hinman, this sun reporter had gone to the general area where Arthur had been born and had tried to find formal documentation about win in wear that happened. But this reporter did not find anything conclusive, the church where elder Arthur had been preaching at the time and Fairfield was no longer standing and the greater free Baptist organization have really dwindled it no longer had any records. So the only record that he found the Arthur's and Dunham, Canada, which is where people were alleging Chester Arthur, had been born was a record of the birth of William Arthur's, eldest daughter from there. The reporter interviewed locals who were between the ages of sixty and eighty seven. The article contains such testimonies as well. I reckon, I recollect elder Arthur, he came here to preach when they were building the new meeting house. There was a kind of officiate vein with eighteen twenty eight painted on it. It was painted so bad that the feller is painted. It was ashamed of it. I like how this local person from Vermont is written of though he talked like a cowhand. Yeah. Texas. Yeah. So those that quote was purportedly the words of Leonard de Greer. He also remembered, the Arthur's and specifically remembered that Dr Chester able had delivered their son Greer was really certain that they had named this baby Chester able after the doctor other people that were interviewed around Fairfield had this same recollection, and that included doctor Abel's brother Calvin, the doctor himself by this point had passed on Calvin answered a question about this baby's name with quote. Well, I guess having been named after my brother. It's Chester able Arthur, the overall consensus of the people interviewed in Fairfield was that the Arthur's had a son while living there that they named him Chester able after the doctor who delivered him. And that he was the same person as the Chester Arthur, who had been elected vice president, although several people who thought about it were surprised his middle name was given as Alan rather than able other people had given that no thought whatsoever. The sun's reporter, they also talked to some people who maintain that this was not the same person. Their argument was that Chester able Arthur had died in Burlington, Vermont, while still a baby. And that elder Arthur had given his body to doctors quote to be dissected for scientific purposes, then while elder Arthur was working in east Stanbridge, according to this account, his wife and the rest of the children were living with her parents in megs corners, Canada. And then while they're these people alleged. She had another baby. And this other baby is the one who became president taking his brother's identity to do it. So it's really similar to the story that hinman had reported about Arthur, taking a deceased baby brothers name. But in this case, it was an older brother and not a younger brother, the residents of e Stanbridge Quebec on the other hand remembered things differently, seventy year old Lindell Corey reported that elder Arthur had come to town with his daughter. Gina in the autumn of eighteen thirty and taught there for eighteen months. Neither Corey nor anyone else interviewed in east Stanbridge recalled the rest of the family being present. Corey had heard this rumor about donating a baby's body to doctors but didn't have any recollection of a baby being born to the Arthur's in east Stanbridge, or of any of the Arthur's living there, besides elder Arthur, and his daughter, Regina. So as had happened within minutes report, the sub got a whole lot of contradictory accounts from locals and again, these were people being asked about a baby name from fifty years before. The sun. However, drew the opposite conclusion in its report to what hinman did citing an anonymous gentlemen, quote intimately connected with the president's life and family. This anonymous source said that Arthur was named after both Dr Chester able and his own paternal grandfather, the sun reported that this unnamed source had personally seen the Arthur family bible, and that the entry for Chester's birth read, Chester Alan Arthur, born in Fairfield Franklin county, Vermont October fifth eighteen thirty speculation continued in the months that followed and as we noted earlier, hinman published his book when Arthur was seeking reelection in eighteen eighty four. But when Arthur didn't earn the Republican nomination for president the question faded away, and then he died in eighteen eighty six Arthur never directly address this controversy. But according to an article published in the New York Times on February twelfth eighteen eighty one he did give a speech at a celebrate Ori dinner at del Monaco. Ios in New York City, about two hundred people were there, including politicians and high profile supporters in his speech. Arthur said, quote, I don't think we had better go into the minute secrets of the campaign, so far, as I know them because I see reporters present who are taking it all down. And while there is no harm in talking about some things after the election is over. You cannot tell what they make of it, because the inauguration has not yet taken place. And while I don't mean to say anything about my birthplace, whether it was in Canada. Or elsewhere still if I should get to going about the secrets of the campaign, there is no saying what I might say to make trouble between now and the fourth of March. So after all of that when and wear was Chester a Arthur born we actually have more information on that than you might think from the quality of all of those nineteenth, century reports, and there's more to go on than oral testimony from people living fifty years later, not that Earl testimony is without value, but. Seriously who really remembers the middle name of the baby, that was born in your neighborhood to a family that lived there for a couple of years, fifty years before I mentioned, they're the people here, and there that might but overall, I would not put a whole lot of stock in those accounts now now, so three different members of the Arthur family, compiled genealogies, all of them, started decades before Chester became vice presidential nominee. William Arthur, senior started compiling one about the time he converted to free Baptist Chester Arthur compiled when in eighteen fifty nine and Chester's sister, Melvina Arthur, Haynes worth route one in her diary, all three of them. Give Chester state of birth as October fifth eighteen twenty nine. We also have two different Arthur, family bibles, one belong to William Arthur, senior, and the other two Chester. Arthur, both of those lists his birthplace MD as Tober fifth eighteen twenty nine in Fairfield, Vermont. If you're not familiar with the tradition. Of keeping a family bible. These are bibles that are passed down through families that have designated pages for keeping family records family members. Right. Down important dates like births baptisms marriages on these pages. And that might seem like an informal document, but family bibles are or have been used to substantiate. People's births for things like school enrollment driver's licenses and even passports. Get you can't really just show up at the passport office with your family bible, and get a passport. But it's like part of the substantiating documentation, a lot of context, and then we also have census records, the Arthur family was enumerated, in the eighteen fifty census on August eighth of eighteen fifty Chester. Arthur is listed as a student born in Vermont age twenty since they were counted in August. And he was born in October, that would put his birth year at eighteen twenty nine Arthur was counted in the eighteen sixty census on July. Thirtieth and he's listed as thirty years old inborn in Vermont, and they teen seventy cents this. He was counted in December after his birthday, and in that year's record says, age is listed as forty one which follows the same mathematical pattern. But his birthplace is listed as a pair of Ditto marks, like same as the line above. But the line above, is the last entry from another household. That person was born in New York. That discrepancy is a mystery in our theme of bad uses for time machines, I would go back in time and ask that census taker. Hey, what's up with the? And is this an error like what happened and they would say, oh, I don't know. I was tired probably. And then there's the eighteen eighty census taken in June, which lists Arthur's place of birth as Ramon and his age is forty nine following the pattern of all this, other documentation, it really should be fifty. So it seems as though between eighteen seventy and eighteen eighty when Arthur was between the ages of forty one and fifty he may be started fudging his age by year. Thomas C Reeves chalked it up to quote, simple vanity calling Arthur, quote, one of the most vainglorious men of the gilded age. And the fact that he was lying about his age, apparently intentionally like that year is even on his tombstone made people sort of go. Well, what else was he about? He was lying about when he was born Z lying about where maybe his weight. Like we said at the top of the show, the story that Arthur was really Canadian has kind of stuck around Canada's history magazine published an article on this subject in two thousand and at that time, the magazine was called the beaver this article kicks off with quote presidents of the United States must be borne on US soil. So says the American constitution but evidence suggests that Chester Arthur, the twenty-first, president was born in a foreign land Canada. Perhaps, don't tell the Americans later on this article says, quote, Chester Arthur was most likely a citizen of lower Canada, a British subject. Born in Dunham flats Quebec near the Vermont border. So among other things. This article kind of misrepresents, what natural born citizen really means and at least in the online version, it does not cite any sources for where it's information came from. But it does seem like a lot of it is from AP Henman's, how a British subject became president of. The United States which we noted lots of problems with earlier in the episode. CBS Sunday morning produces segment in two thousand twelve that takes more of a both sides approach interviewing a museum curator in Quebec who says she's pretty convinced. He was born in Canada, along with Fairfield, Vermont locals who say he was not. They also talked to John dumb Ville, Vermont's historic sites operations chief, who says of the Canadian question there is a chance, but I doubt it this debate has also come up over the last decade or so in the context of Ted Cruz eligibility for the presidency because he was born in Canada, as well as the birther conspiracy theory about President Barack Obama's citizenship for all three of these men. These questions were definitely attempts to discredit them and suggests that they were not fit for office. But in a lot of other ways these controversies don't really compare because Ted Cruz and Barack Obama both released their birth certificates showing where they had been born are. Arthur on the other hand, was not at all forthcoming, he released a no documentation of where he had been born. And this was really totally in line with how secretive he always was with the press about everything and really, who knows whether if he had brought out his family, bible, and was, like, right, here, it says, whether people would have moved onto insisting that, that family bible was fake, really. It's not impossible that Chester a Arthur's mother visited her parents, or his father in Canada, while she was pregnant with him and gave birth to him there. But there's no evidence whatsoever that Arthur assumed the identity of deceased brother. And there are multiple family in census records, listing his birthplace as Vermont. Most of them date back to before the civil war long before Arthur became the vice presidential nominee and long before he had any reason to prove that he was in hetero born citizen. Why would he have started lying about it in eighteen fifty? We call that the lone cone. A long time, especially because he personally might not have been the person talking to the census taker that day. Right. Right. So anyway, that is the kooky story Chester a Arthur when the first little reference to that. I read was like. And then people ask, whether he was born in candidate. I said, okay, that's weird. And then I got to the part of people saying he hit assumed the identity of a dead baby brother, and I was like, okay, now this is just strange. We are going to talk about it a little more. Yeah. Do you have listener mail? The talk about I'd be what's for Meghan, and I wanted to read this, because it's just funny to me, Meghan, first of all, has the subject line. In the Email of urine. Look you are I in an assist. Dear Tracy and Holly. I hope that pun didn't send this note straight to your spam folder. I just wanted to write a quick note to say thank you for your recent episode on Hennig and phosphorus. I was having a very bad day. And I was cracking up listening to this episode, I felt like I could hear you guys trying so hard not to laugh and that made me laugh harder. So thanks for that. It is right up there in my favorite episodes with hessian Marjorie Kemp. And the boy Jones also Holly, I know you don't like musicals, but I really think you should check out the music for the show. You're in town. I was thinking about it the whole time you were talking about P barrels. I know nothing about this show just for the record FYI. I for clarification, I feel like I am forever defending this. I don't mind musicals. I don't wanna watch them because I don't watch people's I love music. I don't wanna watch people singing. This is sort of, like how I said something in an episode one time about not enjoying Sondheim. And we got a number of emails explaining to me how, how like gifted and brilliant, Sondheim was, and I was like, I'm not arguing the mastery of Sondheim. I'm talking about my personal enjoyment. Listening to it rate, anyway, Megan goes on to thank us and says that she runs on Mondays and Wednesdays because she has the show to listen to you on those days. Thank you so much, Meghan for sending this note, it made me laugh just now made Holly laugh. I really excited when we get to that make people laugh sometimes because not all of them new new p-, if you would like to write to us about this or any other podcast. We are at history podcast that how stuff works dot com, and then we're all over social media missed in history. That's where you'll find our Facebook Twitter Pinterest and Instagram you can come to our website. We just missed. In history dot com, where you will find shouts of all the episodes that highly and I have worked on together in share notes. For today include links to scans of a whole lot of nineteenth century newspapers. You can also find a searchable archive of our episodes, ever, and you can subscribe to our show on apple podcast, the iheartradio app and wherever else you get podcasts. Stuffy missed in history classes, a production of iheartradio's. How stuff works for more podcasts for my heart radio. Visit the iheartradio app, apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows. Episode of Steffi missed in history class is brought to you by Lisa. Lisa knows how important rest is to a better life. 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