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Accession Number 1900.001
Catalog Number 1900.001.001
Object Name Painting
Other Name Portrait
Title Arthur St. Clair
Description Bust oil painting portrait of Territorial Governor Arthur St. Clair (1736-1818). St. Clair is wearing a blue military jacket with three buttons and gold epaulets. His shirt is white with a flounce below the neck. It is a copy of St. Clair's portrait painted by Charles Wilson Peale (1741-1827) in the collection of the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Columbus artist John Henry Witt (1840-1901) copied the portrait in 1870.
Date 1870
Artist Witt, John Henry, 1840-1901
Notes Arthur St. Clair (1737-1818) was born in Caithness County, Scotland. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and served part of an apprenticeship with the renowned anatomist, William Hunter. In 1757, he joined the British Army and spent five years in Canada during the French and Indian War. He then purchased a substantial estate in western Pennsylvania and worked as the agent of the colonial governor. When the Revolution began, St. Clair joined the militia and fought at Trenton and Princeton. His controversial command of Fort Ticonderoga led to public criticism and a court-martial. Congress reinstated him within the year, and he later fought at Yorktown.

After the war, St. Clair served two years in Congress and in 1787 was its president. He became Governor of the Northwest Territory. War began there over Native American treaty negotiations. The Miami chief, Little Turtle, decimated St. Clair's troops in a 1791 ambush near the Wabash River. Afterwards, St. Clair remained in the governor's office until President Thomas Jefferson removed him for his opposition to Ohio statehood in 1802. He then returned to Pennsylvania and published a defense of his conduct during the failed Northwest Territory campaign. St. Clair died on August 31, 1818.
People Smith, William Henry, 1833-1896
St. Clair, Arthur, 1734-1818
Witt, John Henry, 1840-1901
Signed Name JH Witt 1870
Sig Loc Lower Right
Image size 24" x 20"
Frame size 31" x 28.5"
Frame desc Period carved and gilt frame with oval liner
Inscription Language English
Inscription Location Lower Right
Inscription Text JH Witt 1870
Inscription Type Signature
Provenance In 1867, the Ohio General Assembly passed a joint resolution relative to the governors of Ohio. The legislators resolved that "the secretary of state, on the first Monday of January next, whether the portraits of the governors of Ohio, state and territorial, can be procured, and if so, whether original portraits or copies, and the probable expense of procuring such portraits for the governor's office."

William Henry Smith, Ohio's sixteenth secretary of state, was tasked with contacting the descendants of all governors to date. He corresponded with families and sometimes traveled the country to meet them.

The State of Ohio purchased the portrait of Arthur St. Clair from Columbus, Ohio, artist John H. Witt in 1870 or 1871.

The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board took over the care of the Statehouse and its collections in 1988.
Search Terms Ohio Governor
Ohio Governor's Portraits
Subjects Governors
Portrait paintings
Collection Statehouse Artwork Collection/Governors' Portraits