Arthur St. Clair: General, governor, president

St. Clair was quickly assigned to commands of Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Independence (Mt. Independence) in June but abandoned the complex a month later to a British invading force; he was court-martialed and exonerated of blame for failing to hold the lake narrows in 1778.

Following his controversial stint at the Lake Champlain forts, he was present at the Battle of Yorktown and served briefly with Gen. Nathanael Greene. After leaving the military in 1783 he was a Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress from 1785 to 1787. Curiously, St. Clair could well be considered among the first American presidents, as he served as a president of the Congress in 1787.

Later, St. Clair became governor of the Northwest Territory from 1787 to 1802 as well as administrator of Indian affairs there; he later was removed for political reasons as territorial governor by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802. He died at his Ligonier Valley, PA, home on Aug. 31, 1818.

The program is the first in the annual J. Robert Maguire Lecture Series program at Mount Independence in Orwell, as well as the first, Investigation Into The Revolutionary Mind to be offered at the site.

The event is open to the public and co-sponsored by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation and the Mount Independence Coalition. Admission is $5 for adults; free for children under 15. Admission includes access to the museum and the trails on the 300-acre site. Call 802-948-2000 for more information.

The Mount Independence State Historic Site is one of the best-preserved Revolutionary War sites in America. It is located near the end of Mount Independence Road, six miles west of the intersections of Vermont Routes 22A and 73 near Orwell Village. Be careful to follow the signs.

Biographical sources: Mt. Independence State Historic Site and Independence National Historic Park.

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