Scholefield Family Tree

Since it is possible that Arnold and Abigail were Charles’s parents, the next step is to gather further information about them.1 George’s biography points in some interesting directions.

blockquoteOf interesting ancestry, the best remembered of the family is the paternal great-grandfather, Sir William Scholefield, who was born in England, as was his son Arnold, the paternal grandfather. Arnold Scholefield was a dissenter from the Church of England, and in consequence was disinherited by his father, who cherished the old-time intolerance of all save his own method of worship. In search of broader and more liberal fields in which to preach the gospel as propounded by the Methodist Church, Rev. Arnold Scholefield came to America, and ministered to the spiritual necessities of his locality in New York state until his death.2

However, could all of the details of this sensational story be true?

Google Books has several resources that support the fact that Arnold was a reverend. He is listed in the Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature3 and also the Troy Conference Miscellany.4 Both report that Arnold was born in Nova Scotia — not England. The longer biography in the Troy Miscellany reports that his parents were believed to be natives of the United States. He became pious at a young age and was admitted on trial to the Reading Conference in Connecticut in May of 1810 when he was about 22 years of age. He became a travelling preacher and served in Vermont, Connecticut, and New York. He became ill in 1828, which served to remove him from active ministry, returned in 1831 and died in 1836 or 7 (each source reports a different year) of Paralysis. He and his wife had been visiting friends and he was stricken near Palatine on the trip home. His wife took the reins and got him to the nearby tavern and he died a few days later. Reports were that he was a great minster, a lively preacher, and was well liked.

And apparently his family didn’t rate a mention… But, these articles directly call into question the report of his birth in England. It is still possible that his parents were born in England (as one source only “believed” his parents to be US natives). Nothing is found to support the assertion that Arnold’s father was a “Sir William” or that this father was a religiously intolerant person. The reports about Arnold were written in 1854 and 1889 — the biography for George was written in 1901 — and Arnold had died in the mid 1830s. It seems that the stories about him may have become more exaggerated as time passed.

One last fact about Arnold for now — a Google search led to his burial location. He was buried in Siloam Cemetery in Siloam, Madison, New York.5 He died 22 July 1836 at age 49. This places his birth date at about 1787 and agrees with the above mention of him being age 22 in 1810. The cemetery transcription states that he was “an itinerant minister of the Methodist Church for 26 years.” Siloam is about 75 miles away from Palatine.

Research Plan:

  • Search for facts about a Sir William Scholefield who was having children about 1787 in Nova Scotia.

1. See post dated 8 Dec 2008.
2. See post dated 13 Nov 2008.
3. Rev. John McClintock DD and James Strong STD, editors, Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1889), 12 volumes, 9: 426; digital images, Google Books ( : downloaded 21 Apr 2009).
4. Rev. Stephen Parks, editor, Troy Conference Miscellany: Containing a Historical Sketch of Methodism Within the Bounds of the Troy Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, with Reminiscences of Its Deceased, and Contributions by Its Living Ministers (Albany: J. Lord, 1854), 126-133; digital images, Google Books ( : downloaded 21 Apr 2009).
5. “Siloam Cemetery,” transcription ( : accessed 21 Apr 2009), entry for Scholefield, Rev. Arnold.


Scholefield Family Tree

Well, since what has been found only allows at a possiblity that Arnold and Abigail were Charles’s parents, it is time to cast our net a bit wider and look (or “relook”) at some additional resources.

A second websearch turns up an entry for Charles from which has a secondary subtitle of “The Web Site That Tells Where the Dead Politicians are Buried.”

blockquoteScholefield, Charles M. – of Oneida County, N.Y. Republican. Member of New York state assembly from Oneida County 1st District, 1859, 1862; alternate delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1868. Burial location unknown.1

This supports the biographical data already located. Additional resources on Google Books also list him in several lists of New York Assembly Members.

Another look at GenealogyBank (remember that re-searching is a good thing!) turns up some facts that help to spin a story about this person — the type of story that keeps me interested in genealogy because it makes the person metaphorically come alive. One of the collections available on the service is the “U.S. Serial Set (1817-1980).”

Several documents in that set reveal that Helen applied for a pension based upon her husband’s service in the Civil War.2 However, before she could receive relief, a small matter of $10,000 which was reportely owed to the goverment had to be settled.

During the war, Major. C. M. Scholefield was acting additional paymaster for the Army of the United States. His duties included recieving and paying out large sums of money and filing the resulting accounting statements and vouchers. When he was discharged, he settled the accounts and repaid to the government all monies that were outstanding. Or so it seemed. About a year before his death on 21 Nov 1869 it was discovered that an advance of $10,000 was made which he did not report as income and had not repaid at his discharge. This caused the government to lay claim to the money. A legal battle followed and the eventual verdict was that Scholefield’s signature had been forged. It took a congressional bill to negate the debt which had appeared due. Once the debt was cleared about 1882, it can be assumed that Helen recieved her pension.

1. Lawrence Kestenbaum, “Index to Politicians,” database, The Political Graveyard ( : accessed 20 Apr 2009), entry for Scholefield, Charles M.
2. U.S. Congress, “U.S. Serial Set (1817-1980),” database with images, GenealogyBank ( : accessed 20 Apr 2009), House of Representatives Report No. 327, 47th Congress, 1st Session (February 1882).