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Re: Louisa St. Clair



Neil St. Clair wrote:

In response to Laura Fechner's reference to the story of Louisa St.
Clair, I submit the following that is copied from an OLD book called
"Our Western Border One Hundred Years Ago".  Some time ago I copied from
this book the story  "Destruction of  The Erie Tribe of Indians"  and
published it in the 'Prince Henry Sinclair  Association of North
America' newsletter. The stories (and there are oodles of them) are
essentially of the period 1760 - 1794.  Print in this book is small with
this particular story being on page 710. (I am not cognizant of what has
already been published on the 'list' regarding Louisa, so hope this is
not a repeat.)


In the winter of 1790, the Governor of the Northwest Territory, General
Arthur St. Clair, removed his family from his plantation at "Potts'
Grove," in Westmoreland County, Pa., to Marietta, O.  One of his
daughters, Louisa, was long remembered as one among the most
distinguished among the ladies of that day.  In strength and elasticity
of frame, blooming health, energy and fearlessness, she was the ideal of
a soldier's daughter, extremely fond of adventure and frolic, and ready
to draw amusement from everything around her.  She was a fine
equestrian, and would manage the most spirited horse with perfect ease
and grace, dashing at full gallup through the open woodland surrounding
the "Campus Martius," and leaping over logs or any obstacle in her way.
She was also expert in skating, and was rivaled by few, if any, young
men in the garrison, in the speed, dexterity and grace of movement with
which she exercised herself in this accomplishment.

    The elegance of her person, and her neat, well fitting dress, were
shown to great advantage in her rapid gyrations over the broad sheet of
ice in the Muskingum, which, for a few days in Winter, offered a fine
field, close to the garrison, for this healthful sport;  and loud were
the plaudits from young and old, from spectators of both sexes, called
forth by the performance of the Governor's daughter.  As a huntress she
was equally distinguished, and might have served as a model for a Diana,
in her rambles through the forest, had she been armed with a bow instead
of a rifle, of which latter instrument she was perfect mistress, loading
and firing with the accuracy of a backwoodsman, killing a squirrel on
the top of the tallest tree, or cutting the head of a partridge with
wonderful precision.  She was fond of roaming through the woods, and
often went out alone into the forest near Marietta, fearless of the
savages who often lurked in the vicinity.  As active on foot as on
horseback, she could walk several miles with the untiring rapidity of a
practiced ranger.

Notwithstanding her possession of these unfeminine attainments, Miss St.
Claire's refined manners would have rendered her the ornament of any
drawing room circle;  she was beautiful in person, and had an intellect
highly cultivated, having received a carefully finished education, under
the best teachers in Philadelphia.  Endowed by nature with a with a
vigorous constitution and lively animal spirits, her powers, of both
body and mind, had been strengthened by such athletic exercises, to the
practice of which she had been encouraged from childhood by her father.
He had spent the greater part of his life in camps, and was not disposed
to fetter by conventional rules his daughter's rare spirit, so admirably
suited to pioneer times and manners, however like an Amazon she may seem
to the less independent critics of female manners at the present day.
After the Indian war, Miss St. Clair returned to her early home in the
romantic glens of Ligonier Valley.

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