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medicine. He disliked this, and purchasing his time, he entered the English army in 1757. He was in the French and Indian War, and served under General Wolfe at Quebec, where his conduct was gallant and effective. He resigned from the English army in 1762, and settled down to civil life in Pennsylvania, where he filled many positions of trust, honor and importance. When the colonies rebelled against Great Britain, St. Clair threw his entire fortune and enthusiasm on the side of his country. In 1775, he was summoned to Philadelphia by a letter from President Hancock. His record from thence forward is a part of the history of the Republic. He was the assistant and confidant of Washington; he was a member of his military family, and shared the hardships of Valley Forge, together with the victories of many well-fought battles. St. Clair after the Revolution retired to civil life. His fortune was gone in the whirligig of war. He started into the Revolution a rich man; when peace was declared, the riches had flown. In 1783, he was one of a Board of Censors from the County of Philadelphia. In 1786, he was in Congress from Pennsylvania, and as a hero of two wars, and a distinguished patriot, he was elected its President in 1787. This Congress formulated and passed the Ordinance of 1787, under which St. Clair was nominated to the Governorship of the Northwest Territory, which occurred October 5th. Governor St. Clair accepted his new honor with great misgivings. He says in his letters that it was forced upon him by his friends, who expected that there was more pecuniary compensation attached to it than events proved. It was supposed that the opportunities for land speculation would be so great that St. Clair would make money out of his advantages of position. But he was not so inclined, nor did he expect such a result. He was satisfied with, and frankly stated, that he had the “ambition of becoming the father of a country, and laying the foundation for the happiness of millions then unborn.” Such was Arthur St. Clair.
In personal appearance the new Governor was tall, well-formed, yet slender, powerfully built, yet graceful. When he spoke on that July day at Marietta, he was in the prime of a remarkably well-developed manhood. The effect upon him of the hardships of his campaigns had been greatly softened by his recent mild and successful civil life. Yet there was little, save its dignity, to show that the classical face was that of the handsome Ensign St. Clair, who used to wield the accomplishments of the drawing room among the Bowdoins and Bayards of Boston twenty years before.
The Judges were men of good sense and character. They formed his legislative council. Major General Samuel Holden Parsons who was the Chief Justice, was from Connecticut; he had distinguished himself in the Revolution, and was much esteemed by Washington, who appointed him. His military and social standing gave him considerable prominence at the time. His mother was a daughter of Governor Matthew Griswold, of Connecticut, and he was a graduate of Harvard of the class of 1756. James Mitchell Varnum was from Massachusetts; he graduated from Providence College in 1769, and was afterwards an active politician in Rhode Island. He espoused the patriot cause and joined the army in 1775. He was commissioned Brigadier General in the Continental service. The next year he resigned, and in 1786 he was elected delegate to the Continental Congress. John Cleves Symmes was from New Jersey; he had been Chief Justice of that State and represented it in Congress. His revolutionary record was good, and he distinguished himself in the battle of Saratoga. To the Governor and these Judges were committed the legislative powers of the new territory. These powers they were to exercise until there were five thousand male white persons in the territory, when, under the ordinance, a territorial legislature would be organized.
1788–1799. The Ohio COMPANY OF ASSOCIATES—THE FIRST
SETTLEMENT IN OHIO—THE CHARACTER OF
within its borders. These events will be treated in their order.
When the war was over, many of the patriots of the Revolution saw a magnificent opportunity for riches and fame in the country northwest of the Ohio River. Among these were some of the purest and most distinguished men of that time. General Rufus Putnam was the controlling character. At the “ Bunch of Grapes ” tavern in Boston, on March 1, 1786, was formed the “Ohio Company of Associates.” Its object was to raise funds for buying land beyond the Ohio and settling thereon. When the land was purchased it was to be divided among the members of the syndicate. The Ohio Company, as it was best known, was a remarkable combination. It was composed of the very best men in the nation. Among its members were Alexander Hamilton and Samuel Dexter, the first and third Secretaries of the Treasury; Henry Knox, the first Secretary of War; three Governors of Massachusetts; a Vice President of the United States; the Governors of Connecticut and Rhode Island; a United States Senator; a Postmaster General; a Justice of the Supreme Court; and a President of Harvard College. Besides these, were many celebrated in military life. Of course these men did not emigrate with the settlers, but they staked their means, their character, and their influence on the success of the proposed adventure. Exactly one year after the organization at the “ Bunch of Grapes," another meeting was held at Brackett's Tavern, Boston, at which a committee of five, with General Putnam as Chairman, was appointed to draft a plan for submission to the shareholders of the company. Afterwards, Generals Putnam and Parsons, with Rev. Manasseh Cutler and Major Winthrop Sargent, who was the Secretary of the company, were appointed to confer with Congress concerning the purchase of land in the territory. Their first visit to Congress was unsuccessful. Finally Dr. Cutler, who was a shrewd as well as an intellectual man, was successful in contracting in behalf of the Ohio Company for the purchase of lands from the United States.
The contract was entered into between the Board of Treasury of the United States, through Samuel Osgood and Arthur Lee, and the Ohio Company, through Manasseh Cutler and Winthrop Sargent, its agents. It was signed October 27, 1787, and called for one and one-half million acres of land at sixtysix and two-thirds cents per acre. The area, however, was afterwards reduced to less than a million of acres. Contemporary with the efforts to secure this contract, which, by the way, was the first ever entered into by the United States, was the formation of the Ordinance of 1787, both of which showed the influence of the cultured Cutler.
Again, at Brackett's Tavern, on November 23, 1787, the Ohio Company met. Then and there they effected the arrangements for colonizing their new territory. The emigrants were put in charge of General Putnam. The little band consisted of their leader and forty-seven others, and was divided into two parties. On the 30th of November the first party started from Danvers, Massachusetts, under the supervision of Major Haffield White. On the ist