Thursday, July 19, 2007

13 Things About Arthur St. Clair

Welcome to my 31st Thirteen list.

If you are regular reader around here you are aware that I love to share with students obscure yet important figures in American History. These people have very interesting stories and are often instrumental behind the scenes. They often are participants in the little stories that motivate students into further learning action

Arthur St. Clair is one of those interesting fellows. He served his country in many different positions, and made some mistakes, however, he didn’t stop participating.

Eric over at Secondhand Thoughts almost immediately guessed who my mystery image was yesterday for Wordless Wednesday. Check out the comments for my thoughts on lesson planning and how students can be taught to analyze images as well.

Here are 13 facts about Arthur St. Clair:

1. He was born and educated in Scotland. There is some discrepancy regarding his birth year (1734 to 1736), however, the information presented at this site states Arthur St. Clair was descended from the St. Clair family of Roslin Chapel fame via a common ancestor with the Earl of Roslin. Roslin Chapel played an inportant role in the plot line of the novel, The Da Vinci Code.

2. He traveled to the American Colonies during the French and Indian War after he purchased a commission in the British army.

3. Following the war he settled in the Ligonier area of Pennsylvania where he became the largest landowner in western Pennsylvania and owned several mills.

4. As a citizen of the colony of Pennsylvania, St. Clair became very active in the colony’s legal system from the court of common pleas to the orphan’s court, and served as a member of the proprietary council.

5. When Virginia claimed a part of Pittsburgh as their own, St. Clair was the individual who issued the arrest order for the leader of the Virginia troops. This little known skirmish between the two colonies became known as Lord Dunmore's War in 1773 and 1774 and it had much to do with Native Americans who lived in the area.

6. During the American Revolution, St. Clair once again donned a military uniform except he wore the uniform of a Continental. He took part in organizing the New Jersey militia, crossed the Delaware with Washington and took part in the battles of Trenton, Princeton and Ticonderoga.

7. It was his failure at Ticonderoga that led to a court martial where he was eventually acquitted. He returned to duty and completed his service at Yorktown.

8. Many Americans don’t realize the United States has not always had the Constitution as its plan of government. Our first plan was the Articles of Confederation and several different men served as our president under the Articles. St. Clair was the ninth president under our first plan of government. In fact, he was in charge during the time of Shay's Rebellion which is one of the key events people like me teach to students in order to show the Articles of Confederation were flawed and made our vulnerable infant country extremely weak.

9. Following a loss of the governorship of Pennsylvania, St. Clair was appointed as governor of the Ohio Territory under provisions provided for in the Northwest Ordinance, a key factor in the settlement of the west that I teach to students. Once the territory was divided he was the governor of Ohio where he was instrumental in establishing Maxwell’s Code, the first written law in the area. Unfortunately his efforts to establish treaties with the Native Americans in the area often were met with extreme resistance on the part of the various tribes.

10. In 1791 he became the highest ranking officer in the United States Army and led his forces against many different Native American leaders. President Washington requested his resignation, however, after the Battle of Wabash (also known as St. Clair’s Defeat or the Columbia Massacre) as over 600 American soldiers along with many women and children were killed. It was a tremendous defeat for the Americans.

11. Thomas Jefferson removed St. Clair from his role as governor of Ohio in 1802. He was seen by many to be partisan, and he didn’t always consult all parties before acting. Critics state his arrogance in governing led to a weak Ohio government early on.

12. St. Clair died in 1818 in Pennsylvania. He was basically penniless as he had given away wealth over the years and just as his career had its ups and downs so did his business ventures as well.

13. You can learn more about St. Clair here as well as see some of his handwriting.
You can see his home here.

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CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

It sounds as though his career had more downs than ups!

EHT said...

Your right, but that's the point. He kept going. He kept trying even with some severe dips.

Elle Fredrix said...

Wow. What a lesson in perseverance! Thanks for sharing.

Robin said...

Interesting as always! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the "shout-out" EHT!

St. Claire is an interesting individual to say the least. Can you imagine someone making those or similar mistakes today?

They'd be washed out quickly. I knew guys in the military and with one mistake they'd not be given a second chance.

I'll find some arcane individual and see if you can find out who it is! ;)

Anonymous said...

EHT, I posted a picture for you to guess at. Mmmm....can you? The only real clue I gave you is in my hint.

Alasandra, The Cats and Dogs said...

He sounds like a very interesting man. He will be making an appearance in my classroom this year.

Mrs. Bluebird said...

I used to live (and just was up there visiting) near Fort Recovery, Ohio, the site of Sinclair's Defeat. Lovely reconstruction of the fort there, as well as a huge obelisk commemorating the battle. A site few people even know exists - Fort Recovery itself is a fairly small town.

Anonymous said...

How interesting! See, this is why I keep coming back here. :-)


I have two TTs:
13 Snarfs (Historical Markers) at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
13 Things I want to do

Unknown said...

St. Clair and his followers got what was coming to them. As a Native person, and named after one of the Osage Warriors who participated in this battle, I am proud of the victory our people accomplished over the American invaders.