Ohio History Journal







The Columbus Dispatch contained the following editorial in

its issue of April 5, 1934:


Tuesday was the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of a man

closely connected with the early history of Ohio, whose life was a pitiable

tragedy--Gen. Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Northwest Territory when

Ohio formed the body of it. He was born in Scotland, April 3, 1734, and

came to America in his young manhood.

With ability as a soldier he served with the British forces in America

before the Revolution and was with Wolfe at Quebec. He married an

American girl, daughter of a prominent Massachusetts family, and served

in the Revolutionary army, being a loyal supporter of Washington.

Afterwards he entered politics and was president of the Continental

Congress when the Ordinance of 1787 establishing the Northwest Territory

was enacted, and naturally became its governor. Sent to subdue Indians in

northwest Ohio, his army was entrapped and cut to pieces. It was necessary

to send Gen. Anthony Wayne to complete the task to which St. Clair had

been assigned.

As territorial governor he fell into conflict with the ruling element in

the state chiefly over the prerogative of establishing counties, and through

that, out of harmony with President Jefferson at Washington, and as a result

was removed. The sun of his life seemed to be setting. His wife, of gentle

breeding, whom he had brought into the Western wilds, died and with a

daughter he left Ohio to take up his residence on a small farm he owned near

Ligonier, Pa. There he became a truck gardener and one day as he was

driving to the village a lurch of the cart threw him from his seat and he

was fatally injured. In a little country graveyard not far from the Na-

tional road is his grave marked only by a headstone which his Masonic

brethren erected, expecting that a more suitable monument would some day

be placed there by the public. That has not happened."


It seems appropriate to publish in the QUARTERLY of the Ohio

State Archaeological and Historical Society during this bi-cen-

tennial year an article on the first governor of the territory of

which Ohio was originally a part.