Ohio History Journal

Monument at Fort Jefferson

Monument at Fort Jefferson.                   113


5. PRESENTATION ................................. Geo. A. Katzenberger

6. UNVEILING .................................. Elizabeth D. Robeson

7. MILITARY SALUTE ....................Gun Squad, Co. M., 3rd Regt.

8. STAR SPANGLED BANNER .     .............................Drum Corps


10. HISTORIC ADDRESS ............................Judge J. I. Allread

11. YANKEE DOODLE ......................................Drum  Corps

12. A WORD FROM THE RED MEN ......................L. E. Wills

13. BENEDICTION ............................Rev. G. W. Berry





One hundred and sixteen years ago to-day a military post which

was being erected on this very spot by the army of Maj. Gen. Arthur

St. Clair was named Fort Jefferson in honor of that great statesman

and author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson. We

are assembled to commemorate that event and to do honor to the mem-

ory of the heroes and patriots who sacrificed so much that we might

enjoy the benefits of a free nation. Father Time has been very good

to us, indeed, and it is hard to appreciate all the benefits conferred by

those who have gone before. Other men labored and we have entered

into the rewards of their labors. Under the inspiring influences of the

past I feel that it is good for us to be here. Let us unveil this tablet and

dedicate this monument with due reverence for the patriots who once

stood where we stand not knowing what another day might bring forth.

With these thoughts in mind I want to express a few words of appreciation

for the character and public services of one whose name has gone down un-

der a cloud because of defeat at a very critical moment in Western history.

Whenever the name of Arthur St. Clair is mentioned in this vicinity

our minds go back to that cold November morning in 1791 when his ex-

posed and decrepit army was surprised and suddenly attacked by a fierce

horde of howling savages on a branch of the upper Wabash. In face

of the terrible defeat that followed we are prone to forget or overlook

the previous and later record of this stalwart patriot. St. Clair was of

Scottish birth. He emigrated to America in 1755 and served with the

British in the French and Indian War, being in the important engage-

ments of Louisburg and Quebec. Like many of his hardy countrymen he

then settled in western Pennsylvania and engaged in farming until the

outbreak of the Revolution. The call of the Colonies appealed to him

and he espoused the cause of freedom, serving with distinction at Three-

Rivers, Trenton, Princeton and Hubbardstown and attaining the rank

of Major-General. In 1786 he was elected President of Congress and in

1788 was appointed Governor of the Territory Northwest of the Ohio

river. With such a record of faithful service on the credit side of

Vol. XVII.- 8.

114 Ohio Arch

114        Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


life's ledger the new Government naturally turned to him with con-

fidence when its western borders were assailed by savage foes. The

new settlements of the Americans on the north side of the Ohio river were

regarded by the Indians of the North as an invasion of their ancient

domains. The British, who still retained the military posts at Detroit

and along the lakes, took advantage of the situation and goaded on the

savages to attack the scattered settlements, furnishing them with arms,

ammunition, food, clothing, etc. To meet this alarming situation three

expeditions were sent against the Indian villages of the Maumee and

Wabash with indifferent success. These raids so greatly exasperated the

Indians against whom they were sent that they formed a confederacy

and entered into a conspiracy to drive the white settlers beyond the

Ohio. At this juncture St. Clair appeared on the scene. With a poorly

Monument at Fort Jefferson

Monument at Fort Jefferson.                   115


equipped and inadequately disciplined army of mixed and insubordinate

troops, which had been collected with great pains and labor, he left camp

at Ludlow's Station, near Fort Washington, September 17th, 1791, and

marched northward to the crossing of the Great Miami where he built

and garrisoned Fort Hamilton. Cutting a road through the wilderness the

army arrived on this ground October 12th, and proceeded to build another

post as one of a chain of forts connecting Fort Washington with the Maumee

at the present site of Fort Wayne, Indiana. On the 24th of October

this post, which was nearing completion, was named Fort Jefferson by

St. Clair, and a detachment with two pieces of artillery left to defend

it. Proceeding northward along an old Indian trail through the beautiful

open forest the army arrived on the present site of Greenville, Ohio, and

encamped until the 31st, awaiting supplies. Again taking up the line of

march the army veered a little west of north. About this time sixty of

the Kentucky militia deserted and the entire First Regiment of Regulars

was detached and sent in pursuit to protect the provision train and bring

back the deserters. In this weakened and disorganized condition the army

encamped on a branch of the upper Wabash on the evening of November

3rd, 1791. St. Clair intended to cast up a light earthwork on the follow-

ing day and make a forced march for the Maumee, which he thought

to be about fifteen miles distant but which was, in fact, about fifty miles

away. This he was not permitted to do but was surprised, surrounded and

terribly defeated early the following day. In this engagement St. Clair

had two horses shot from under him and several bullet holes shot through

his clothes. Altho suffering with the gout he rode up and down the lines

encouraging the troops but failed to save the day. After nearly three

hours of hard fighting the army retreated pell-mell and kept on with un-

told hardship and suffering until this place (Fort Jefferson) was reached

near night-fall-a distance of nearly thirty miles. The story of this de-

feat cast a gloom over the whole frontier and encouraged the Indians

to renew their attacks on the scattered settlers. This condition prevailed

until "Mad Anthony" Wayne defeated the allied tribes on the Maumee in

1794 and caused them to sign the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. St. Clair

was court-martialed and exonerated, and continued to serve as Governor

of the Territory Northwest of the Ohio until 1802, when he was removed

for stubborn persistence in ideas which he thought to be right but which

were at variance with the growing principles of equal rights and popular

representation. Broken in health and greatly reduced in fortune he died

in a log house near Ligonier, Pa., in 1818. He had sacrificed the comforts

of home and the social advantages of a brilliant political career besides

a considerable fortune in attempting to direct the destinies of a vast and

newly organized territory in the western wilderness. Measuring success

by conventional standards we might be tempted to call his later public

life a failure. Shakespeare makes Mark Antony say over the dead body

of Caesar-

116 Ohio Arch

116        Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


"The evil that men do lives after them;

The good is oft interred with their bones."


May it not be thus with Arthur St. Clair but rather may this

monument long stand as a fitting tribute of respect to his memory. May

the broken granite boulders typify the strength and rugged virtues of that

stalwart patriot and his faithful followers and may this bronze tablet fit-

tingly recall the advancement of the western frontier to this place.

Mr. President, on behalf of the Committee on Construction, I now

tender this beautiful and appropriate memorial to the Greenville Historical

Society to be disposed of at its pleasure.





We have met to-day in the golden month of October to unveil a

monument erected to the memory of the brave pioneers who built here

a fort in the wilderness, one hundred and sixteen years ago. As in this

month the latest crops are gathered, so ought we to realize that we are

reaping the fruits of the labors of the pioneers.

Monuments not only contribute to our civilization, they mark its

progress and degree. They keep green the memory of patriotic services.

The members of the Greenville Historical Society after placing a me-

morial boulder in Greenville, were of the opinion that the most important

work to be done was the erection of a memorial at this place. Fort Jef-

ferson is the oldest historic spot in this county and we are glad to state

that we have had no difficulty in securing the co-operation of the citizens

of this village.

We all realize that great credit is due to Messrs. Patty and Coppock

for their unselfish action in deeding these two lots to the Trustees of

Neave Township for park purposes.

This is also an appropriate time to acknowledge the aid and co-

operation on the part of the residents of this place.

In presenting this monument to the public in behalf of the donors

we express the hope that it will be a reminder to us and to those who

come after us, of our indebtedness to the brave soldiers and pioneers who

opened this country to civilization ! May it increase our love for this, our

country, which extends its protection over all of us.





This fort was built, not for the protection of the white settlers in

its immediate vicinity, for there were none there at that time. Then

the howl of the wolf, the scream of the panther or the whoop of the