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Duncan McArthur

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Title: Duncan McArthur  
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Subject: Thomas Kirker, Allen Trimble, Joseph Kerr, William Allen (governor), List of Governors of Ohio
Collection: 1772 Births, 1839 Deaths, American People of Scottish Descent, American People of the War of 1812, Burials at Grandview Cemetery (Chillicothe, Ohio), Democratic-Republican Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Governors of Ohio, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Ohio, National Republican Party State Governors of the United States, Ohio Democratic-Republicans, Ohio National Republicans, People from Chillicothe, Ohio, People from Dutchess County, New York, Presidents of the Ohio State Senate, Speakers of the Ohio House of Representatives, United States Army Generals
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Duncan McArthur

Duncan McArthur
11th Governor of Ohio
In office
December 18, 1830 – December 7, 1832
Preceded by Allen Trimble
Succeeded by Robert Lucas
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 6th district
In office
March 4, 1823 – March 3, 1825
Preceded by John Sloane
Succeeded by John Thomson
Personal details
Born (1772-06-14)June 14, 1772
Dutchess County, New York
Died April 29, 1839(1839-04-29) (aged 66)
Fruit Hill, Chillicothe, Ohio
Resting place Grandview Cemetery
Political party
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1812 - 1815
Rank Brigadier general
Commands Army of the Northwest
Battles/wars War of 1812

Duncan McArthur (June 14, 1772 – April 29, 1839) was a military officer and a Federalist and National Republican politician from Ohio. He served as the 11th Governor of Ohio.

When first elected to state office as a representative, he was serving in the state militia during the War of 1812. He was later appointed as Brigadier General in the U.S. Army and commanded a brigade under General William H. Harrison during the battle of the Thames. Shortly thereafter he was placed in charge of the Army of the Northwest, serving through 1817 and negotiating the Treaty of Fort Meigs of 1817 to ratify peace and land cessions with Native American tribes.


  • Biography 1
  • Career 2
  • Death 3
  • Legacy 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Born to Scottish immigrants in Dutchess County, New York,[1] McArthur grew up in western Pennsylvania and later moved to Kentucky, where he was employed as an Indian ranger.[2]

McArthur obtained a position with Nathaniel Massie in 1793, and worked with Massie on a surveying expedition in the Northwest Territory. In 1796, he worked with Massie to lay out the new town of Chillicothe, Ohio,[2] which was to become the state capital in 1803. McArthur moved across the Ohio River in 1797 to Chillicothe, where he gained wealth by his land speculations in the Northwest Territory.


McArthur was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Ohio's 3rd congressional district while serving in the state militia during the War of 1812. He never qualified for office as he preferred to continue serving in the military.

He was appointed colonel of Ohio volunteers and was second-in-command to General William Hull at Fort Detroit. He and Colonel Lewis Cass were not present at Detroit when Hull surrendered and were greatly angered to hear that Hull had included both of them in the capitulation. When a British officer notified him of the surrender, McArthur is said to have torn off his epaulettes and broke his sword in a fit of rage, although historians note similar stories were told about other officers as well.[3] The British paroled him and McArthur returned to Ohio.

He was appointed a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army and commanded a brigade under General William H. Harrison during the battle of the Thames. Shortly thereafter he was placed in charge of the Army of the Northwest following Harrison's resignation.[4]

McArthur did not face much action after that, but he was engaged in negotiating treaties with the Indians. In 1817, he was one of two commissioners (along with Lewis Cass) who negotiated the Treaty of Fort Meigs, which was signed September 29 of that year with several Native American tribes.

McArthur served intermittently thereafter in the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio State Senate. He was elected and served a single term from 1823-1825 in the United States House of Representatives before winning election to the governorship in 1830. McArthur served a single term and did not seek re-election.


McArthur was buried in Grandview Cemetery, Chillicothe, Ross County, Ohio, USA.[5][6] The trust established in his will later became the subject of litigation that went before the U.S. Supreme Court in McArthur v. Scott.


The small village of McArthur, Ohio, the seat of Vinton County, is named for him.

McArthur founded the city of Greenfield in 1799. Greenfield is located at N39 21.11958 W83 22.96284 (GPS coordinates), about 21 miles due west of Chillicothe. State Route 28, which runs between Greenfield and Chillicothe, in 1973 was named as General Duncan McArthur Highway per act of the 113th Ohio General Assembly.


  1. ^ "Ohio Governor Duncan McArthur". National Governors Association. Retrieved July 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Duncan McArthur".  
  3. ^ Cramer 1937, p. 134
  4. ^ Cramer 1937, p. 140
  5. ^ "Duncan McArthur". Find A Grave. Retrieved July 27, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Grandview Cemetery". Grandview Cemetery. Retrieved August 5, 2012. 

External links

  • National Governors Association
  • Duncan McArthur at Ohio History Central
  • Cramer, C. H. (April 1937). "Duncan McArthur: The Military Phase".  

 "McArthur, Duncan".


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