Table of Contents

Unsettled History



Colonial Theory


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.

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