President Arthur St. Clair

Emperor of Morocco’s text states, Arthur St. Clair of New York was referred to as His Excellency our “President” filed at the Library of Congress, United States of America (1787). Arthur St. Clair was a Moor. Dark complected, wooley hair inhabitant was the President of the U.S. Continental Congress in the year of 1787. We have not learned about this man because the new Christian powers rule was to change or remove all resemblances of the Moors from our history. Pictures of the true attributes of Moors in power have been changed to look Caucasian.

Arthur St. Clair of Pennsylvania was elected President of the United States, in Congress Assembled on February 2, 1787 and served until October 29, 1787. He was born in Thurso, Scotland on March 23, 1734 and died in Greensburg, Pennsylvania on August 31, 1818. St. Clair’s life, more than any other U.S. President, was comprised of sterling and stark contrasts. Enjoying a great family inheritance in his youth only to end his life in desolate poverty; crossing the Delaware with Washington to capture Trenton and Princeton while later losing Fort Ticonderoga under his own command; presiding as President of the United States, in Congress Assembled that produced the U.S. Constitution and Northwest Ordinance only to be removed by President Jefferson as Governor of the Northwest Territory for opposing Ohio Statehood. Arthur St. Clair also has the unique distinction of being the only foreign born President of the United States.

Arthur St. Clair was born in Thurso, Scotland on March 23, 1734 and died in Greensburg, Pennsylvania on August 31, 1818. There is much debate over President St. Clair’s Lineage and even his year of birth. The Clan Sinclair in U.S.A,. for instance maintains that St. Clair’s actual name in Scotland was Sinclair and he was born March 23, 1736 — (clarified by clicking here).

St. Clair attended the University of Edinburgh and studied medicine, serving part of an apprenticeship with the renowned anatomist, William Hunter. In 1757, St. Clair changed his career path by purchasing a commission as ensign in the 60th Foot Infantry. He came to America with Admiral Edward Boscawen’s fleet in 1757 to exchange blows in the War for Empire. He served under General Jeffrey Amherst at the capture of Louisburg on July 26th, 1758. On April 17, 1759 he received a lieutenant’s commission and was assigned to the command of General James Wolfe. At the Battle of the Plains, which decided the fate of the French in America, St. Clair took a notable part:

“Then came the fatal struggle on the plains during which Lieutenant St. Clair seized the colors, which had fallen from the hand of a dying soldier, and bore them until the field was won by the British.”

Shortly after the war St. Clair was assigned to duty in Boston. Here he met the daughter of Balthazar Bayard & Mary Bowdoin whose grandfather was James Bowdoin a wealthy Boston merchant. Her cousin, James Bowdoin II, was a member of the Massachusetts General Court. He would later authored the highly political report on the 1770 Boston Massacre that became one of the most influential pieces of writing that shaped public opinion in the colonies.

St. Clair’s courtship of Phoebe Bayard was a short-lived as they were married within six months on May 24, 1760 at the Trinity Episcopal Church. In 1762 he resigned his commission in Boston and moved to Bedford, Pennsylvania to survey land for the Penn’s. By 1764 the couple decided to settle permanently in Ligonier Valley, Pennsylvania. St. Clair aggressively purchased large land farm and timber tracts. He erected mills, dug mines, and farmed eventually becoming the largest landowner in western Pennsylvania and a prominent British subject.

In 1770 St. Clair was appointed surveyor of the district of Cumberland. He was subsequently appointed a justice of the court, of quarter sessions and of common plea. Other offices included appointments to the proprietary council, a county justice, recorder, and clerk of the orphans’ court.

On March 9, 1771, Bedford County was established by an act of the General Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania, entitled “An act for erecting a part of the county of Cumberland into a separate county.” The commissioners appointed to “run, mark out, and distinguish the boundary lines between the said counties of Cumberland and Bedford,” were Robert McCrea, William Miller, and Robert Moore. Arthur St. Clair was appointed the first prothonotary, recorder, and clerk of court, by Governor John Penn, March 12, 1771, and deputy register for the probate of wills, 18th of same month, by Benjamin Chew, Register General. Bedford County, whose boundaries then stretched to the Ohio River Valley, was the part of the western frontier of the British colonies and eventually was divided into 21 different present Pennsylvania counties. In 1772 there were 350 families on the county tax rolls being, principally, Scotch-Irish and German immigrants. St. Clair’s offices were located in the basement of Bedford’s “Espy House” that still stands today. President George Washington would later utilize the same home as his Whiskey Rebellion headquarters while St. Clair served as his Northwest Territorial Governor.

As prothonotary, recorder and clerk of Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Arthur St. Clair had a wide range of duties. In 1771 no other western Pennsylvania counties existed. Bedford County encompassed present-day counties of Fayette, Westmoreland, Washington, Greene and parts of Beaver, Allegheny, Indiana and Armstrong counties. This September 24th, 1771 Arthur St. Clair to William Allen gives a sampling of what his position entailed in the frontier of Western Pennsylvania.

By 1774 Arthur St. Clair had risen in favor and was appointed the Magistrate, as well as Prothonotary, in the newly formed Westmoreland County. Colonial Virginia was in a bitter border dispute with the Penn’s of Pennsylvania over large parts of the new Pennsylvania County including Fort Pitt.

In 1758 General Forbes, along with Colonel Washington, took command of the Ohio River junction from the French garrison who had burnt Fort Duquesne in their flight to Canada. The Fort had been burnt beyond repair but the garrison left behind to secure the source of the Ohio River needed shelter from the winter. Colonel Hugh Mercer was charged as the commander and oversaw fortification construction on the banks of the Monongahela River 1000 or so feet from where it flowed in the Allegheny River forming the Ohio River. Fort Mercer was completed in January 1759 and was large enough to shelter a force of 400 men. Here soldiers, engineers, indigenous people, and citizens labored for 19 months to construct an elaborate fortress on the three rivers triangle consisting of two acres inside the fortress walls and 18 more inside the outer earthen works.

Fort Pitt was considered royal possession. The western Pennsylvania roads leading to the fort were constructed during the Forbes Campaign open the area to settlement by Pennsylvanians. Three years earlier, roads were constructed by General Braddock’s during his campaign to capture Fort Duquesne through the Virginia wilderness. Braddock’s force were routed by the French and forced into retreat after advancing to present day Braddock, Pennsylvania on the Monongahela River. General Braddock was mortally wounded in the battle and of the 1,300 men he had led in the campaign, 456 were killed and 422 wounded. Braddock’s road, however, remained intact opening the northern Ohio Valley for future settlement by Virginians. Both colonies, therefore, were poised to claim Fort Pitt once the British forces withdrew ending the royal jurisdiction over the territory.

Peace between the colonies had reigned at Fort Pitt for the years while it was garrisoned by British troops. A decision, however, was finally made to withdraw British troops from Fort Pitt due to debts incurred over the War for Empire better known as the French and Indian War in the North American theater. In 1772, thirteen years after it was built, the fort was sold by Captain Charles E. Edmonstone of the 18th Royal Regiment to Alexander Ross and William Thompson for fifty pounds of New York colonial currency. The construction materials that were used in the outer fort’s embankments were dismantled and utilized in the construction of buildings that would eventually form the earliest structure of the “Pittsburg” settlement. Jurisdiction over the region passed from the English Crown to the Pennsylvania Colony.

This did not settle the Boundary disputes between Pennsylvania and Virginia. To protect its interest Pennsylvania, with permission from the Crown, garrisoned a colonial militia to protect the fort. This action did not deter Colonial Governor Lord Dumore who insisted the land claims to the region, including the settlement of Pittsburg, belong to Virginia. On January 6, 1774, Dunmore commissioned and sent Dr. John Connolly to Fort Pitt as the “Captain and Commandant of Pittsburgh and its dependencies.” Connolly began rising a militia from local Virginians who quickly garrisoned the dilapidated fort for Lord Dumore.

The fort, upon Connolly’s seizure, was renamed Fort Dumore in honor of the Colonial Governor. Commandant Connolly then issued a Fort Dumore Proclamation, calling on the people of Western Pennsylvania to meet him, as a militia, on the 25th of January 1774. Arthur St. Clair who was the King’s magistrate of Westmoreland County, founded only year earlier on February 26, 1773 encompassing the fort, was appalled by Connolly’s seizure and issued a warrant for his arrest. Connolly was captured and imprisoned by Magistrate St. Clair in the jail at Hannastown, the Westmoreland County seat.

In asserting the claims of Virginia, Lord Dumore insisted that Magistrate St. Clair should be punished for his temerity in arresting his Captain by dismissal from office. Governor Penn declined to remove St. Clair instead commending him as a superior magistrate by first providing proper legal notice to Mr. Connolly who was only arrested after he refused to surrender the Fort. Governor Penn wrote Governor Dumore on March 31, 1774:

I am truly concerned that you should think the commitment of Mr. Conolly so great an insult on the authority of the Government of Virginia, as nothing less than Mr. St. Clair’s dismission from his offices can repair. The lands in the neighbourhood of Pittsburg were surveyed for the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania early in the year 1769, and a very rapid settlement under this Government soon took place, and Magistrates were appointed by this Government to act there in the beginning of 1771, who have ever since administered justice without any interposition of the Government of Virginia till the present affair. It therefore could not fail of being both surprising and alarming that Mr. Conolly should appear to act on that stage under a commission from Virginia, before any intimation of claim or right was ever notified to this Government. The advertisement of Mr. Conolly had a strong tendency to raise disturbances, and occasion a breach of the public peace, in a part of the country where the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania hath been exercised without objection, and therefore Mr. St. Clair thought himself bound, as a good Magistrate, to take a legal notice of Mr. Conolly.

Mr. St. Clair is a gentleman who for a long time had the honour of serving his Majesty in the regulars with reputation, and in every station of life has preserved the character of a very honest worthy man; and though perhaps I should not, without first expostulating with you on the subject, have directed him to take that step, yet you must excuse my not complying with your Lordship’ s requisition of stripping him, on this occasion, of his offices and livelihood, which you will allow me to think not only unreasonable, but somewhat dictatorial.

I should be extremely concerned that any misunderstanding should take place between this Government and that of Virginia. I shall carefully avoid every occasion of it, and shall always be ready to join you in the proper measures to prevent so disagreeable an incident, yet I cannot prevail on myself to accede in the manner you require, to a claim which I esteem, and which I think must appear to everybody else to be altogether groundless.

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