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Duncan McArthur

McARTHUR, Duncan, soldier, born in Dutchess county, New York, 14 June, 1772; died near Chillicothe, Ohio, 28 April, 1839. His family removed to the western frontier of Pennsylvania when he was eight years old, and at the age of eighteen he volunteered in General Josiah Harmar's expedition against the Miami Indians. He participated as a ranger or scout in the warfare with the Indians of Kentucky and Ohio until General Anthony Wayne's victory over them in 1794. Soon afterward he settled as a surveyor near Chillicothe, and acquired large wealth in land. He was a member of the Ohio legislature in 1805, and in 1808 became major-general of the territorial militia. In the beginning of the war with Great Britain he was commissioned colonel of the 1st Ohio volunteers, 7 May, 1812, and was second in command at Detroit when General William Hull surrendered. After the Americans had established themselves on the Canadian side of Detroit river he led a foraging-party that captured provisions from the settlements on the Thames, and in a reconnoissance toward Fort Malden narrowly escaped being cut off by Tecumseh's Indians. When Hull was temporarily absent from the army for a time McArthur determined to attack the fort at Amherstburg, which would have fallen without a blow a few days earlier, but was now protected by a gun-boat and a strong battery. Colonel McArthur and Colonel Lewis Cass were absent at the time of the capitulation, having been sent to the river Raisin to escort Captain Brush and his relieving force to Detroit. They were included in the surrender, and when a British officer came from the fort with the articles of capitulation McArthur tore off his epaulettes and broke his sword in an outburst of indignation. 'He was commissioned as brigadier-general on 12 March, 1813, and when General Harrison resigned, 31 May, 1814, succeeded to the chief command of the western army. He projected a plan for the conquest of Canada, and on 26 October, 1814, crossed St. Clair river with 750 men and five field-pieces, passed through the Scotch and Moravian settlements, reached Oxford on 4 November, and drove the militia before him, until he reached Brantford, where he found a large force of Indians and militia posted on the opposite bank of Grand rivet', and heard that the road to Burlington was defended by British regulars and cannon. He accordingly turned southward, destroying public property and defeating a force of militia. On reaching Dover he learned that General George Izard had withdrawn his troops from Canadian soil, and that a strong force of regulars was coming against him. Turning westward, he hastened back to Detroit by way of St. Thomas, discharging his force at Sandwich on 17 November He had been elected by the Democrats a member of congress from Ohio in 1813, but declined to leave the army. After he was mustered out, 15 June, 1815, he was returned to the legislature. In 1816-'17 he served as a commissioner to negotiate treaties with the Indians, which were ratified in 1818, and by which the Indians conveyed to the government their lands in Ohio. In 1817-'19 he was again a member of the state house of representatives, and was chosen speaker. In 1822 he was elected to congress as a Clay Democrat, and served from 1 December, 1823, till 3 March, 1825. In 1830-'2 he was governor of Ohio, and in 1832 he was again a candidate for congress, but lost the election by a single ballot. While governor he suffered severe physical injuries through an accident, from which he never recovered.

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