Arthur St. Clair


Arthur St. Clair II
ArthurStClairOfficialPortrait-restored.jpg
1st Governor of the Northwest Territory
In office
July 15, 1788 – November 22, 1802
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byCharles Willing Byrd
7th President of the Confederation Congress
In office
February 2, 1787 – November 4, 1787
Preceded byNathaniel Gorham
Succeeded byCyrus Griffin
Personal details
Born(1737-03-23)March 23, 1737
Thurso, Caithness, Scotland
DiedAugust 31, 1818(1818-08-31) (aged 81)
Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Resting placeSt. Clair Park, Greensburg
Signature
Military service
Allegiance Great Britain
 United States
Branch/serviceFlag of the British Army.svg British Army (1757–1762)
Gadsden flag.svg Continental Army (1775–1783)
 United States Army (1791–1792)
RankLieutenant (UK)
Major General (USA)
Battles/warsFrench and Indian War, American Revolutionary War, Northwest Indian War

Arthur St. Clair (March 23, 1737[1] [O.S. 1736] – August 31, 1818) was a Scottish-American soldier and politician. Born in Thurso, Scotland, he served in the British Army during the French and Indian War before settling in Pennsylvania, where he held local office. During the American Revolutionary War, he rose to the rank of major general in the Continental Army, but lost his command after a controversial retreat from Fort Ticonderoga.

After the war, he served as President of the Continental Congress, which during his term passed the Northwest Ordinance. He was then made governor of the Northwest Territory in 1788, and then the portion that would become Ohio in 1800. In 1791, St. Clair commanded the American forces in what was the United States's worst ever defeat by the American Indians. Politically out-of-step with the Jefferson administration, he was replaced as governor in 1802.

Early life and career

St. Clair was born in Thurso, Caithness, Scotland. Little is known of his early life. Early biographers estimated his year of birth as 1734,[2] but subsequent historians uncovered a birth date of March 23, 1736, which in the modern calendar system means that he was born in 1737. His parents, unknown to early biographers, were probably William Sinclair, a merchant, and Elizabeth Balfour.[1] He reportedly attended the University of Edinburgh before being apprenticed to the renowned physician William Hunter.[1]

In 1757, St. Clair purchased a commission in the British Army, Royal American Regiment, and came to America with Admiral Edward Boscawen's fleet for the French and Indian War. He served under General Jeffery Amherst at the capture of Louisburg, Nova Scotia on July 26, 1758. On April 17, 1759, he received a lieutenant's commission and was assigned under the command of General James Wolfe, under whom he served at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham which resulted in the capture of Quebec City.

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