Descendants of Captain Arthur Fenner

Arthur Fenner & Mary Olney, Barbara Slade


Map showing the location of Fenner's Wharf (top left) and the progression of the Gaspee Incident (

[b 17 Oct. 1699; d 21 Jan. 1788] Arthur Fenner m 1st Mary Olney [b 30 Sept 1704; d 18 Mar. 1756, age 54 yrs., 5 mos., 18 days] on 2 June 1723, by James Jenckes, Deputy Governor. Mary was the daughter of Capt. James Olney and Hallelujah Brown. They lived in Providence and attended the First Baptist Church in America. On 19 Dec. 1762, Arthur m 2nd Barbara (Mason) Slade [d 3 May 1801 in her 83rd yr.], daughter of Joseph Mason and Elizabeth Barney and widow of William Slade. Barbara was buried in Somerset, MA.

Arthur Fenner owned Fenner's Wharf, a parcel of waterfront property in Providence at what is now 155 South Main Street. It was used as the launching point for the Gaspee Affair (June 9-10, 1772). Arthur was investigated for his involvement but cleared, owing mainly to his age at the time (72). 

In 1762, Arthur was an original petitioner for the charter of Brown University (PDF).

Children by Mary Olney:

1. Freelove [b 25 Aug. 1723; d before 1733]
2. Sarah [b 10 Sept. 1725; d before 28 April 1741]
3. John [b 17 Apr. 1727; d before 2 Oct 1739]
4. James [b 9 Feb. 1730; d 25 Oct. 1751] m Freelove Whipple.
5. Arthur [b 12 Oct. 1732; d before 1740]
6. Joseph [b 8 Nov. 1734; d 17 Nov. 1751].
7. Mary [b 15 May 1737] m Ebenezer Rumreill [b 4 Aug. 1736 at Newport, RI] on 7 Feb. 1760 at Providence.
8. John [b 2 Oct. 1738/9; d 28 Nov. 1821] m Phebe Brown on 11 June 1758.
9. Sarah [b 28 Apr. 1741; d 3 Jan. 1756, age 14 yrs., 8 mos., 8 days].
10. Freelove [b 13 July 1743; d 11 May 1820] m Capt. Simon Smith on 23 Mar. 1766 at Providence.
11. Arthur [b 10 Dec. 1745; d 15 Oct. 1805] Governor of Rhode Island, m Amey Comstock ca. 1768.
12. Lydia [b 1 Mar. 1748; d 1 June 1801] m Theodore Foster, Congressman.

Arthur | Thomas | Arthur

a. Memorial at FindAGrave, no. 31352473
b. Richard Lee Fenner, [unpublished Fenner history]; p. 8.
c. Eva Fenner, Notes, 1; letter to Eva from the San Fransisco Public Library, 10 Nov. 1955.
d. Eva Fenner, Notes, 201; Rhode Island Manual 1953-54 from the State of Rhode Island Executive Chamber, Providence.
e. Register of the First Baptist Church in America, Providence, RI.
f. Email from Richard Arthur Fenner to Chris Fenner, 26 Sept. 2003. Mary's parents were married 31 Aug. 1702; their 1st born was James Olney Jr. (b 18 Sept. 1703).
g. In a letter to Eva Fenner from Mr. Collins at the RI Hist. Soc. 14 Jan. 1957, Mary’s birthdate is 30 Sept. 1704. There is one daughter, Sarah [b 10 Sept. 1725; d 1756] and four sons: James, Joseph, John, and one son named Arthur, born 12 Oct. 1732, governor of Rhode Island.
h. Eva Fenner, Notes, 80. In a letter from Mr. Collins at the RI Hist. Soc., dated 29 Oct. 1956, he gives the birthdates of the surviving brothers: James (4), John (8), and Arthur (11).
i. The Chad Brown Memorial, p. 128, gives the dates of birth of children James, Mary, John, Freelove, Arthur, and Lydia and notes twelve children.
j. Eva Fenner, Notes, 25. In a letter dated 17 Apr. 1956, from the RI Hist. Soc., Arthur and Mary had only one son named Arthur on 12 Oct. 1732. Letter signed by Clarkson A. Collins III.
k. Eva Fenner, Notes, 582; historical background of the Fenner family, unknown origin. There are two children named Arthur, as printed, and a total of twelve children.
l. Eva Fenner, Notes, 495. In a letter to Eva Fenner from Lawrence Fenner, 3 June 1960, he states that there were two children named Arthur. One died young.