newport tower unsettled history (1).pdf

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Unsettled History

The purpose of these pages, is to present the evidence and logic for why the Newport Tower
cannot possibly have been built from the ground, as a colonial windmill in 1675. The claim that
Benedict Arnold (grandfather of the revolutionary period traitor), who was the new head of the
fledgling pioneer community of Newport, built the tower as a windmill has been under dispute
for over 200 years. The adherents to this theory are known as the “Arnoldists.” They hold sway
in the popular culture of the moment, but have not in the past, and may not in the future. The
foundation argument of the Arnoldists, since at least the early 19th century when the tower had
already long been in ruins, has been that the Indians could not have built it, and there was no-one
here before 1635, so Arnold must have built it in 1675. There are three bits of evidence the
Arnoldists use to support their theory, none of which can withstand examination. Each of them
will be detailed in later sections. Meanwhile, there is a wealth of evidence that the tower stood
long before the colonials arrived, that it could never have functioned well as a windmill, and that
its architecture is entirely consistent with a much older structure.
What we will offer the reader is a guided tour through the history of the dispute - through the
archeology, the architecture and finally, the logic of whether or not this structure could have, and
would have, been built by 17th century colonials. We are not unbiased and we will not pretend to
be. There has been so much bias brought to bear in favor of the colonial theory over the last 150
years that the only way to provide the present day inquirer with any measure of balance is to
unabashedly present the case against a colonial origin for the tower. We trust that the reader will
draw his own conclusions.