Thursday, October 19, 2023

President Chester Arthur

By Susan G Mathis

As an avid fisherman, President Chester A. Arthur often visited the Thousand Islands. Born in Vermont to a Baptist preacher, Chester A. Arthur graduated from Union College, taught school, then became a lawyer in New York City. During the Civil War, he served as Quartermaster General of New York State, and in 1871, President Grant appointed him as Collector of the New York Port.

Chester A. Arthur was known to be honest, honorable, and faithful to his work. But in government, honesty often brings attacks by opponents, and Arthur received many. While Vice President under President Garfield, Arthur often stood against the President as well as his own party machine when he disagreed or went against his conscience. As a Republican reformer, he worked to reunify the nation after the Civil War.

Chester A. Arthur looked like a President—dignified, handsome, tall, with huge side-whiskers, and was known as a champion of civil service reform. He became America’s twenty-first President, succeeding President James Garfield upon his assassination and served from 1881-1885. His wife, Ellen, had died before he took office, so his sister, Mary, served as the unofficial First Lady and cared for his two sons and a daughter, William, Chester, and Ellen.

In 1883, the Pendleton Act protected employees against removal from their jobs for political reasons. Arthur also signed the Tariff Act of 1883, lowering egregious tariff rates. His administration also enacted the first Federal immigration law excluding paupers, criminals, and lunatics.

Unfortunately, Arthur suffered from a fatal kidney disease and he died at the age of 56. But he lived large. In 1883, he took a fishing trip to Yellowstone National Park that convinced many to protect the park.

Because he loved fishing in the Thousand Islands, I imagined that he visited the Staples Island entertainment pavilion, as it was the best in the area. In my latest story, A Summer at Thousand Island House, the President was instrumental in helping a child and resolving a terrible situation.

About A Summer at Thousand Island House

By Susan G Mathis

She came to work with the children, not fall in love.

Part-nanny, part entertainer, Addison Bell has always had an enduring love for children. So what better way to spend her creative energy than to spend the summer nannying at the renowned Thousand Island House on Staple’s Island? As Addi thrives in her work, she attracts the attention of the recreation pavilion’s manager, Liam Donovan, as well as the handsome Navy Officer Lt. Worthington, a lighthouse inspector, hotel patron, and single father of mischievous little Jimmy.

But when Jimmy goes missing, Addi finds both her job and her reputation in danger. How can she calm the churning waters of Liam, Lt. Worthington, and the President, clear her name, and avoid becoming the scorn of the Thousand Islands community?


Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands in upstate NY. Susan has been published more than twenty-five times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books. She has eleven in her fiction line including Mary’s Moment. Find out more at


  1. Thank you for posting today. As a Vermonter by birth, I am proud of Presidents Arthur and Coolidge.

  2. I knew very little about Chester Arthur except that Garfield's assassin wanted Arthur to be president. What an interestng man.

  3. Thanks for sharing about President Arthur.