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In Western Pennsylvania

county, time and fort


For years after the French were expelled from the Ohio by General John Forbes, the English Government, and later the Proprietories of Pennsylvania, were compelled to garrison Fort Pitt and keep up a road and a line of forts connecting it with the east. St. Clair was accordingly in command of Fort Ligonier in 1767, and from that time on, was a citizen of Western Pennsylvania, first in a military capacity and later as agent of the Penns and as a private citizen.

Cumberland was then the most western county and he was appointed a justice of that county for its western dis tricts. In 1770 when Bedford county was formed, he was given the same position and was also appointed the first pro thonotary and clerk of courts of the new county.

But by this time Pittsburg was building up and the country between the Ohio and the Allegheny mountains, along the Forbes Road, was rapidly being settled. St. Clair, who vigilently watched the interests of the Penns, readily saw that what the western section needed most was the formation of a county west of the Allegheny mountains. To this he

bent his energies in 1771 and 1772, and in February, 1773, succeeded in the formation of Westmoreland county. It in cluded Pittsburg, but its temporary county scat was at Han nastown, about 30 miles to the east. Again he was appointed prothonotary and clerk of courts of the new county. By this time he and his family had located near old Fort Ligonier, where he owned large tracts of land and from which place, nearly all of his extensive correspondence with the Penns and others, is dated.

St. Clair, owing to his thorough education, to his mili tary service under the romantic Wolfe and to his wealth, \ :as easily the most prominent man west of the Allegheny mountains. In the almost constant warfare with the Indians he was looked to by the pioneers not only for protection in their home defenses but to plead their cause before the Pro prietories for assistance in building roads, forts and block houses, and in patrolling the entire district with regular sol diers or with armed militia.