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12/11/2023 04:57 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Speaker Biographies


John St. Clair

(Elected to replace Robert Smith following his resignation)

Born: Unknown. Died: Unknown: Member of the House: Fayette County, 1811-1814. Affiliation: Democrat.

Many details about John St. Clair’s early life are not known. In the first decade of the nineteenth century, he was a language and mathematics teacher at the Union Academy in Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. He was also an operator of the Fairfield Furnace, a successful iron forge in Fayette County.

St. Clair was elected as a Democrat to represent Fayette County for the 1811- 1812 session.  During his first term in office, Pennsylvania’s seat of government was officially relocated to Harrisburg in 1812, though at this time, a formal government building had not yet been constructed for use by the General Assembly.  The House and Senate met in the original Dauphin County Courthouse, which is no longer standing.  St. Clair was re-elected for the 1813-1814 session.  St. Clair became the 49th Speaker of the Pennsylvania House after Robert Smith resigned on February 14, 1814. During St. Clair’s Speakership, the House dealt with much legislation relating to the War of 1812, which continued until early 1815.  Act 98 of 1814, also known as the Omnibus Bank Act, established dozens of new banks outside of the city of Philadelphia.  Additionally, Pike County was created with Act 119 of 1814.  

St. Clair left the House following his term as Speaker, and was appointed Fayette County prothonotary on April 6, 1818.  He was reappointed to the position on February 12, 1821.  St. Clair returned to the legislature to serve as a Pennsylvania State Senator from 1822-1826, representing Fayette County again as a Democrat.

John St. Clair’s death and burial location are unknown.