St. Clair was a member of the Pennsylvania Council of Censors in 1783, and was elected a delegate to the "Confederation Congress, serving from November 2, 1785, until November 28, 1787. Chaos ruled the day in early 1787 with "Shays's Rebellion in full force and the states refusing to settle land disputes or contribute to the now six-year-old federal government. On February 2, 1787, the delegates finally gathered into a quorum and elected St. Clair to a one-year term as "President of the Continental Congress. Congress enacted its most important piece of legislation, the "Northwest Ordinance, during St. Clair's tenure as president. Time was running out for the Confederation Congress, however: during St. Clair's presidency, the "Philadelphia Convention was drafting a new "United States Constitution, which would abolish the old Congress.
Under the "Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which created the "Northwest Territory, General St. Clair was appointed governor of what is now "Ohio, "Indiana, "Illinois, "Michigan, along with parts of "Wisconsin and "Minnesota. He named "Cincinnati, Ohio, after the "Society of the Cincinnati, and it was there that he established his home. When the territory was divided in 1800, he served as governor of the "Ohio Territory.
As Governor, he formulated Maxwell's Code (named after its printer, "William Maxwell), the first written laws of the territory. He also sought to end Native American claims to Ohio land and clear the way for white settlement. In 1789, he succeeded in getting certain Indians to sign the "Treaty of Fort Harmar, but many native leaders had not been invited to participate in the negotiations, or had refused to do so. Rather than settling the Indian's claims, the treaty provoked them to further resistance in what is also sometimes known as the ""Northwest Indian War" (or "Little Turtle's War"). Mutual hostilities led to a campaign by General "Josiah Harmar, whose 1,500 militiamen were defeated by the Indians in October 1790.
In March 1791, St. Clair succeeded Harmar as commander of the "United States Army and was commissioned as a "major general. He personally led a "punitive expedition involving two Regular Army regiments and some militia. In October 1791 as an advance post for his campaign, "Fort Jefferson (Ohio) was built under the direction of General Arthur St. Clair. Located in present-day "Darke County in far western Ohio, the fort was built of wood and intended primarily as a supply depot; accordingly, it was originally named Fort Deposit. One month later, near modern-day "Fort Recovery, his force advanced to the location of Indian settlements near the headwaters of the "Wabash River, but on November 4 they were routed in battle by a tribal confederation led by "Miami Chief "Little Turtle and Shawnee chief "Blue Jacket. More than 600 soldiers and scores of women and children were killed in the battle, which has since borne the name ""St. Clair's Defeat", also known as the "Battle of the Wabash", the "Columbia Massacre," or the "Battle of a Thousand Slain". It remains the greatest defeat of a US Army by Native Americans in history, with about 623 American soldiers killed in action and about 50 Native Americans killed. Although an investigation exonerated him, St. Clair resigned his army commission in March 1792 at the request of President Washington, but he continued to serve as Governor of the Northwest Territory.
A "Federalist, St. Clair hoped to see two states made of the Ohio Territory in order to increase Federalist power in "Congress. However, he was resented by Ohio Democratic-Republicans for what were perceived as his partisanship, high-handedness, and arrogance in office. In 1802, his opposition to plans for Ohio statehood led President "Thomas Jefferson to remove him from office as territorial governor. He thus played no part in the organizing of the state of "Ohio in 1803.
The first "Ohio Constitution provided for a weak governor and a strong "legislature, in part as a reaction to St. Clair's method of governance.
St. Clair met Phoebe Bayard, a member of one of the most prominent families in Boston, and they were married in 1760. Miss Bayard's mother's maiden name was Bowdoin and she was the sister of "James Bowdoin, colonial governor of Massachusetts.
In retirement St. Clair lived with his daughter, Louisa St. Clair Robb, and her family on the ridge between Ligonier and Greensburg.
General St. Clair died in poverty in "Greensburg, Pennsylvania, on August 31, 1818 at the age of 81. His remains are buried under a Masonic monument in St. Clair Park in downtown "Greensburg. His wife Phoebe died shortly after and is buried beside him.
A portion of the Hermitage, St. Clair's home in Oak Grove, three miles north of Ligoner, Pennsylvania, was later moved to "Ligonier, Pennsylvania, where it is now preserved, along with St. Clair artifacts and memorabilia at the Fort Ligonier Museum.
An "American Civil War steamer was named "USS St. Clair.
Places named in honor of Arthur St. Clair include:
- "Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania
- "St. Clairsville, Pennsylvania
- St. Clair Township, "Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania
- East St. Clair Township, "Bedford County, Pennsylvania
- West St. Clair Township, "Bedford County, Pennsylvania
- The "St. Clair neighborhood in "Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- St. Clair Township in "Butler County, Ohio
- St. Clair Township in "Columbiana County, Ohio,
- "St. Clairsville, Ohio
- Fort St. Clair in "Eaton, Ohio
- "St. Clair County, Illinois
- "St. Clair County, Michigan
- "St. Clair County, Missouri
- "St. Clair County, Alabama
St. Clair Street in "Frankfort, Kentucky, was named for the general by Gen. "James Wilkinson, who laid out the town that became the "state capital. The street's north end is at the Old Capitol, and near its south end is the Franklin County Court House; both were designed by "Gideon Shryock.
- Gregory Evans Dowd. "St. Clair, Arthur", "American National Biography Online, February 2000.
- Smith, St. Clair Papers, 1:2.
- "Fischer, David Hackett (2006). "Washington's Crossing. Oxford University Press. pp. 313–14. "ISBN "0-19-518159-X.
- Leroy V. Eid, "American Indian Military Leadership: St. Clair’s 1791 Defeat." Journal of Military History 57.1 (1993): 71–88.
- William O. Odo, "Destined for Defeat: an Analysis of the St. Clair Expedition of 1791." Northwest Ohio Quarterly (1993) 65#2 pp. 68–93.
- John F. Winkler, Wabash 1791: St Clair's Defeat (Osprey Publishing, 2011)
- Dumas Malone,Jefferson The President: First Term, 1801-1805, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1970, pp. 243-44.
- Arthur St. Clair at "Find a Grave
- Kopper, Kevin Patrick. "Arthur St. Clair and the Struggle For Power in the Old Northwest, 1763–1803" (Dissertation. Kent State University, 2005) online
- "Smith, William Henry, ed. (1882). The Life and Public Services of Arthur St. Clair. 1. "Robert Clarke & Company.
- "Smith, William Henry, ed. (1882). The Life and Public Services of Arthur St. Clair. 2. "Robert Clarke & Company.
|"President of the Continental Congress
February 2, 1787 – November 4, 1787
|New office||Governor of the "Northwest Territory
July 15, 1788 – November 22, 1802
"Charles Willing Byrd
|"Adjutant Generals of the U. S. Army
January 22, 1777 – February 20, 1777 (acting)
"George Weedon (acting)
|"Senior Officer of the United States Army