Governor Portraits
Governor
Arthur St. Clair

Years
1788 - 1802

Medium
Oil on Canvas

Size
24.0" x 30.0"

Location
State Room - 108

Year
1870

Governor Biography

St. Clair was the first Territorial Governor of the N.W. Territory. St. Clair was born outside Edinborough, Scotland in 1734. His family moved to the American colonies around 1745. St. Clair served with distinction during the Revolutionary War being appointed Colonel of the Continental Army in 1775. In 1776 he became Brigadier General and saw service at both the battles of Trenton and Princeton. Shortly after the war, St. Clair was positioned as Governor of the then new Northwest Territory which was confirmed by the Ordinance of 1787. Jay's Treaty with England in 1797 assisted in stabilizing the territory as it provided for the exchange of control for all posts in the region between the Ohio River and the lakes westward to the Mississippi River from British to American. He provided fine leadership for the territory for a number of years even though away from his duties for extended periods of time (due to gout and other political distractions). St. Clair consolidated his power base within the Northwest Territory and was reluctant to give it up by allowing the formation of states within the region. In so doing, St. Clair actually forestalled the formation of Ohio for some time. Districts needed at least 60,000 inhabitants to move toward statehood and St. Clair's strategy to attempt divisions of territories and sub territories disallowed the concentration of ample numbers for statehood. St. Clair served as the territory's governor until shortly prior to the end of the territorial form of government in 1802. Ohio became the 17th state admitted to the Union on March 1, 1803. Arthur St. Clair died in 1818 in Pennsylvania.


Artist
John Henry Witt (Charles Willson Peale) 1840-1901

Artist Biography

John Henry Witt (Witte) was born in Indiana near the Ohio River town of Dublin. During his youth he worked as a machinist and wagon painter for his uncle's agricultural supply firm. Witt relocated to Columbus after a time of study with J.O. Eaton in Cincinnati in 1862. J.O. Eaton had gained the reputation of being one of the most talented figure and portrait painters. John Witt was a very active artist in the central Ohio, painting portraits of many of the leading families therein. He also was a noteworthy teacher; his students included some of the foremost regional artists of the day. Silas Martin, James Mosure and Philip Clover were some of the standouts. Witt took an active role in the affairs of the capitol city and is the artist of record for a significant number of the Ohio governor's portraits in the Statehouse art collection. In 1873 Witt was in Washington, DC painting portraits of General Sherman, Senator Sherman, Judge Swayne, and Charles Sumner. He was a member of the Literary Club of Washington, D.C. In 1878 he moved to New York City where he became one of the top society artists of the day. Witt was enrolled as an associate member of the New York Academy of Art in 1887.