Merging the profiles of General Arthur Sinclair aka St Clair

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Maj.Gen. Arthur Sinclair aka St Clair (bef. 1733 - 1818)

General Arthur St Clair ( - 31 Aug 1818)



Basic bio synopsis that covers: birth, early years in Scotland, military service (Indian Wars and Revolutionary Wary), work in Congress, service as Northwest Governor, & death.

... ... ... participated in the American Revolution.
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Discuss: 1776
Preceded by
14th President
Nathaniel Gorham
Arthur St. Clair
15th President
of the Continental Congress
Seal of the US
2 Feb 1787 - 22 Jan 1788
Succeeded by
16th President
Cyrus Griffin
Preceded by
Territory organized
July 13, 1787
Arthur St. Clair
1st Governor of the
Northwest Territory
Seal of the Northwest Territory
Succeeded by
Acting Governor
Charles Willing Byrd

Early life in Britain

Image:Clan Tartans-91.jpg
... ... ... is a member of Clan Sinclair.

Arthur Sinclair was baptised on 03 January 1733 in Longformacus, Berwickshire, Scotland, the son of the Reverend Daniel Sinclair, minister of the parish, and his wife Elizabeth Hamilton.[1] The manner in which the world was notified of the arrival of the future Major General Arthur St. Clair (as he became known in North America) was as follows: -

1733 Janr: 3d The Revd Mr Daniel Sinclair, Minr of the Gospel in Longformacus had a son baptized called Arther.[2]

Tragedy struck the young Sinclair family when Arthur's father died before reaching the age of 50. At the time of their father's death, Arthur was only months old and his elder brother James was little more than an infant. It was the normal practice for older male family members and sometimes the widow to act as both Executors of the estate of the deceased and as Trustees for children in minority (under 21 years of age). This was the case here and among legal documents which exist are: -

  • (1742) A Draft Deposition and Translation by William Sinclair, merchant in Thurso, to James and Arthur Sinclair, children, and Elizabeth Hamilton, relict of Rev. Daniel Sinclair, of a Heritable Bond on the lands of Thurdestoft [Thurdistoft] in security for a bond by Arthur Taylor of Thurdistoft to Mr. Daniel Sinclair, minister of Longformacus, his nephew dated 1727. These documents relate to tenements and annual rents in Thurso.[3] (William was Daniel's brother and Arthur's uncle. Relict is the old Scots legal word for "widow")
  • (1757-1758) A letter from Mrs. Elizabeth Sinclair, dated Aug. 1757 and two letters from Arthur St. Clair (on service in North America) dated 20 Mar. 1757 and 26 May 1758 concerning credit given to him by James Balfour of Pilrig.[3]
  • (06 May 1745) An Assignation by James Sinclair, eldest son of deceased Rev. Daniel Sinclair, to Elizabeth Hamilton, his mother, of his rights in Thurdistoft.[3]

It is said he attended the University of Edinburgh for an incomplete term, and unsuccessfully apprenticed under William Hunter, the anatomist of London. But this was of short duration.[4]

The following was written on September 1, 1842 by a relative referring to Arthur and his mother, Elizabeth Hamilton: -[5]

"Though I do not remember my grandmother Balfour of Pilrig, I remember a sister of hers and a brother's widow. That brother will be mentioned when I treat of the Hamiltons. The sister, Elizabeth Hamilton, when I knew her was widow to the Rev. Daniel St. Clair, minister of Longformacus. She had two sons whom I never met, they being abroad. The youngest either died or was killed in the Seven Years' War; the eldest, Arthur, was a subaltern in that war, in which he fought for his country. He never came home, and in the American War fought against his country, became a general, and was afterwards member of the Congress at New York. He married and had a family, but I have no notice of them."

French and Indian War

Lieutenant ... ... ... served with the British Army during the French and Indian War.
Service Started: 1757
Unit(s): 60th (Royal American) Regiment of Foot
Service Ended: Apr 16, 1762

In 1757 Sinclair purchased an officer commission and became an ensign in the British Army and came to America with Admiral Boscawen's Fleet for action in the French and Indian War. He served in the Royal American Regiment (60th Regiment of Food) under the command of General Jeffery Amherst and participated in the capture of Louisburg, Nova Scotia on 26 July 1758.

He was promoted to Lieutenant on 17 April 1759 and was assigned under the command of General James Wolfe. Under Wolfe's command he fought at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham that resulted in the British capture of Quebec City from the French.

After the close of the war he was appointed as the Commander at Fort Logonier in Pennsylvania.[6] He later resigned his commission with the British Army on 16 April 1762.[7][8]

Life in Colonial America

Marriage and children

On May 14, 1760, in the Trinity Church of Boston, Suffolk county, Massachusetts, as Arthur St. Clair, he married Phebe [Phoebe] Bayard.[9][10] She was a member of one of the most prominent families in Boston, the daughter of Balthazar and Mary (Bowdoin) Bayard, and the niece of James Bowdoin, a leading man in shaping public opinion of independence in the colonies, and later the second Governor of the Massachusetts.[11]

Arthur and Phoebe had five children:

i. Elizabeth (St Clair) Lawrence b. 12 May 1763 in Pottsdown, Chester, PA,[12] d. 27 May1840 in Lawrenceburg, Dearborn, IN, m. John Lawrence
ii. Arthur St. Clair Jr., b. 1764, d. 26 Sep 1820 in Cincinnati, OH, m. Frances H. Stall on 30 Jan 1802 in Clermont, OH[13]
iii. Margaret (St. Clair) Johnston, b. 1766 in Westmoreland, PA, d. 1785 in Brecksville, Cuyahog, OH, m. Unk. Johnston.[13]
iv. Elizabeth (St Clair) Lawrence, b. 12 May 1763 in Pottsdown, Chester, PA, d. 27 May 1840 in Lawrenceburg, Dearborn, IN, m. John Lawrence[12]
v. Louisa (St. Clair) Robb, b. 24 Sep 1773 in Ligonier, Westmoreland, PA, d. 27 May 1840 in Ligonier, Westmoreland, PA, m. Samuel Robb[13]
vi. Jane (St. Clair) Jarvis, b. 1774 in Logonier, Westmoreland, PA, d. 17 Sep 1857 in Chestnut Ridge, Fayette, PA, m. Samuel W. Jervis on 25 Dec 1796 in Perkiomen Twnp., Montomgery, PA[13]

Revolutionary War Service

1776 Project
Major General ... ... ... served with Continental Army Command during the American Revolution.

His role in the war.

President of the Continental Congress

His role as a congressman and later as President of the Congress.

Governor and Commander of the Army

In 1784 Virginia ceded the lands of Illinois to the United States and by the ordinance of 13 July 1787, the Northwest Territory was formed in an area that now encompasses the lands of five states. St. Clair was appointed as the Governor of the new territory and served in that capacity until the accession of Governor Charles Byrd after the State of Ohio was organized in 1802.[6]

Death and Legacy

While driving down the mountain on his way to Youngstown on 30 August 1818, he probably suffered a stroke, since he fell from his wagon and was found unconscious by the side of the road. He was taken home and died the following day.[14] His obituary was printed on 18 September 1818 in the Susquehanna Democrat:[15]

Another Hero of the Revolution gone!
The venerable Major General Arthur St Clair, is no more! He died at his residence on the Chestnut Ridge, on Monday morning, the 31st ultimo, at half past twelve o'clock - and was interred on the 1st inst. at Greensburg, with military and Masonic honors.

His wife Phoebe Bayard, born in 1743, survived him by only nineteen days, and was buried by his side.[16]

In 1832 a monument of sandstone was erected to his memory by the Masonic fraternity, in the Old Saint Clair Cemetery in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.[17] Its inscription states:[14]

The earthly remains of Major-General Arthur St. Clair are deposited beneath this humble monument, which is erected to supply the place of a nobler one due from his country.

Descendant's DNA Research

Research Notes

The Wikipedia profile for Arthur incorrectly names the brother of the Rev.Daniel Sinclair as potential for the father of Major General Arthur St Clair, who served in the British Army during the French and Indian Wars, and then in the American Continental Army, during the American Revolutionary War.[8]

Also found:

GD136/465 Copy letter from William Sinclair of Lochend to Arthur St Clair, Major-General in the service of the United States of America, seeking his patronage to enable Sinclair to settle in America.[3] (The relationship between these two men is unclear.)

Bio from the profile of General Arthur St Clair


At the end of the War he resigned his commission and settled in Western Pennsylvania.

"St. Clair met young lady Phoebe Bayard, a member of one of the most prominent families in Boston and they married in 1760. Miss Bayard's mother's maiden name was Bowdoin and sister to James Bowdoin, colonial governor of Massachusetts."

"He was the largest landowner in Western Pennsylvania."

"He took part in Washington's crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas night 1776, before the Battle of Trenton. Many biographers credit St. Clair with the strategy which led to Washington's capture of Princeton, New Jersey in the following days. It was shortly after this that St. Clair was promoted to Major General."

"Was an aide-de-camp to General Washington, who retained a high opinion of him. St. Clair was at Yorktown when Lord Cornwallis surrendered his army."

"General St. Clair was appointed governor of what is now Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, along with parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota [Northwest Territory]."

"In 1791, St. Clair succeeded Harmar as the senior general of the United States Army."

"Arthur St. Clair, Patriot and a Founder of the United States of America, died in Greensburg, Pennsylvania on August 31, 1818 in his eighties and in poverty; his vast wealth dissipated by generous gifts and loans, and by business reverses, but, mainly by the refusal of Congress to reimburse him for monies that he had loaned during the Revolution and while governor of the Northwest Territory."

Arthur St. Clair

"Then came the fatal struggle on the plains during which Lieutenant St. Clair seized the colors, which had fallen from the hand of a dying soldier, and bore them until the field was won by the British."

"His offices were located in the basement of Bedford's "Espy House" that still stands today. George Washington would later utilize the same home as his Whiskey Rebellion headquarters while St. Clair served as his Northwest Territorial Governor."

"Washington called a council of war that night on January 2, 1777 with his troops camped along Assunpink Creek. Many of St. Clair's Biographers, and even St. Clair himself, claim that the movement that culminated in the Victory at Princeton the following day was his recommendation to the council. The General's biographers purport that not only did St. Clair direct the details of the march but also his own brigade marched at the head of the advancing army."

"George Washington remained, throughout his incredible life, steadfastly loyal to Arthur St. Clair recognizing the Pennsylvania general's deeds and council during the campaigns against Trenton and Princeton. It was a beginning of a friendship that would positively serve the United States, beyond anyone's expectations, for the next 24 years. For his service in 1776 and 1777 St. Clair was promoted to Major-General."

"St. Clair assignment after the ordeal was to assist General John Sullivan in preparing his expedition against the Six Nations...commanded at West Point in October 1780"

Arthur St. Clair, medallion

Forgotten Founders

[Books: The Rise of the U.S. Presidency & The Forgotten Capitols]

Birth of the U.S. Constitution 1777-1787 & Arthur Sinclair

"The current Constitution of the United States is the Perpetual Union's second. This video provides a brief history on the first constitution, the Articles of Confederation, its collapse and the process utilized to call the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 to form a More Perfect Union. The 1787 President of the United States and his Congress, ultimately, were responsible for the passage of our current U.S. Constitution as they called the convention and choose not to change a word of the New Plan For the Federal Government sending it along to the States. This President and his Congress also passed the Northwest Ordinance , on which Daniel Webster would later remark: "We are accustomed to praise lawgivers of antiquity ... but I doubt whether one single law of any lawgiver, ancient or modern, has produced the effects of more distinct, marked, and lasting character than the Ordinance of 1787" These two laws, the U.S. Constitution and The Northwest Ordinance are the products of the what this historian considers to be the most important U.S. Presidency and Congress in American History." Youtube video explaining the importance of The Northwest Ordinance

President of the Continental Congress Feb. 2, 1787 - Nov. 4, 1787

President of the Congress Under the Articles of Confederation, 1788

Research notes

In 1870, the Western Reserve Historical Society, in Cleveland, Ohio, acquired the papers of General St. Clair from his heirs.[18] Then, so we're told,[19] they wrote to the senior magistrate of Thurso, on the north coast of Scotland, seeking further information about the early life of the future General, saying he was born at Thurso in 1734 and giving what other little information they had gleaned relating to his origins (probably from the descendants rather than the papers).

The information they had wasn't necessarily reliable. An alternative account[6] said St. Clair was born in Edinburgh.

But a search was duly made, and a baptism record was found.[20] Henderson writes: [19]

"In searching the Kirk Session books of Thurso, the register of baptisms does not record any Arthur Sinclair in 1734; but on 24th March 1736 there is the following entry: "William Sinclair, merchant in town, had his son Arthur (who was born about five o'clock in the afternoon of the preceding day) baptized by the Rev. Mr. William Innes, minister here."

A number of reference books erroneously convert 24 Mar 1736 (Old Style) to 24 Mar 1737, overlooking the fact that Scotland unlike England changed to Circumcision Style dating on 1 Jan 1600.

There were many Sinclairs in Thurso. Baptisms recorded in January, February and March 1736 name the father as William Sinclair.

There seems not to be enough specific and reliable known information about the General to identify this birth positively as his. Henderson contents himself with identifying the father William and saying the General was "possibly" his son.[21]

In 1881, William Henry Smith was commissioned to edit the General's papers for publication.[18] He supplies a short prologue discussing the ancient origins of the clan (legend given as fact) and the childhood of the General. It's unlikely that he was unaware of the baptism record, but he ignores it, so presumably he decided to discount it.

Smith does provide more detail than the 1870 letter, though there's nothing to suggest that he had obtained new sources or conducted any new research. But sadly he can't resist the temptation to pad and embellish. After reading that Arthur's mother "supplied not only the affection and tender care of a devoted mother, but also the aid and counsel which had been due from the father", we're only left wondering what else he wrote that came only from his own imagination.

Dowd [4] raises Henderson's "possibly" to a "probably", and repeats some of Smith's unsourced claims (eg. that St. Clair attended Edinburgh university, although this seems not to be on record). He supplies the name "Elizabeth Balfour" for the wife of William, the merchant in Thurso. The origin of this is not known. It was the name of the 1st wife of William's grandfather.[22]

However, there were two Arthur Sinclairs, 1st cousins, of similar age. William, merchant in Thurso, had a brother Daniel, born in Thurso, who became minister in Longformacus, a long-standing property of a branch of the Sinclairs, at the other end of Scotland, near the border. And the Rev. Daniel also had a son Arthur, baptized 3rd Jan 1733.

His monument (not original) says he died 31st August 1818 in the 84th year of his age, implying a birthdate in 1734-35.

This text seems to be all about concocting a dubious ancestry for some Sinklers of New Hampshire

Two branches as described by Leonard Allison Morrison in The History of the Sinclair Family in Europe and America for Eleven Hundred Years, 1896, pp. 46-47:

"It would make them both, General St. Clair and James St. Clair, descendants of George Sinclair, the 4th Earl of Caithness (No. 74); then through his two sons; Gen. Arthur St. Clair, through his son James, first of Murkle (No. 80), and John of Exeter, N. H., through another son Henry (No. 79). The line woiuld run thus:

The common ancestor, John Sinclair, Master of Caithness, No. 67.

Scots [Line].

  1. James, the first of Murkle, and
  2. John, son of James, and first of Assery.
  3. James, son of John, and second of Assery.
  4. James, his son, and merchant in Thurso. Scotland.
  5. William, son of James, also a merchant in Thurso.
  6. Gen. Arthur St. Clair, and son of Daniel Sinclair of Longformacus born Thurso, and brother to the William that most site have for Arthurs father but is wrong

American [Line].

******THIS EXETER LINE CONNECTION THROUGH MORRISONS BOOK IS THOUGHT TO BE WRONG AND NOT OF THE EARLDOM Caithness SINCLAIRS The Sinclair line of Ulbster has been dna tested and is an accepted dna match to other Sinclairs in Caithness Orkney and Shetland. Exeter family has also been tested and does not match the Caithness Sinclairs

  1. Henry, his brother [of James, #1 listed above of the Scots line]
  2. John, the son of Henry, and of Exeter, N. H.; 1st cousin of John of Assery.
  3. James, the son of John, and 2nd cousin of James of Assery.
  4. Joseph, son of James, and 3rd cousin of James of Thurso.
  5. Thomas, son of Joseph, and 4th cousin of William of Thurso. [His brother was Joseph, husband of Martha, father of Hannah Sinclair Rogers
  6. James of Albion of N. Y., son of Thomas, and 5th cousin of Gen. Arthur St. Clair.

Those of other lines, of course, bear the same relation to General St. Clair. Similarity of looks is a strong evidence of relationship. Among the descendants of John Sinkler of Exeter, N. H., have been many knightly men in civil and in military life, who by their straight and stalwart forms, by their complexion, by their strong traits of character, and by their whole personal appearance have strikingly resembled the Sinclairs and St. Clairs of Scotland, as recorded both "in French and English history." And what does this signify? It proclaims the curious genealogical fact which every discerning family historian has not failed to see, that the mental and physical characteristics of a family are often transmitted for many generations and for centuries. The similarity of christian names existing among the Sinclairs of Caithness and the Sinclairs of the New World will not fail to be noticed. There were the Johns, the Jameses, the Richards, and the Davids, the Janets, and many others in Caithness which were transplanted to the shores of New Hampshire, and have been honorably borne even to the present by the descendants of John Sinkler of Exeter [New Hampshire]. [1]:


  1. "Scotland Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950," database, FamilySearch (10 February 2018), Arther Sinclair; citing Longformacus, Berwickshire, Scotland, reference 2:15ZR213, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 1,067,902.
  2. "Church of Scotland: Old Parish Registers - Births and baptisms" database, National Records of Scotland, ScotlandsPeople ( accessed 28 Aug 2020), Arther Sinclair, son of Daniel Sinclair, 03 Mar 1733, Longformacus; citing Parish Number 750, Reference Number: 10 198.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 “NAS Catalogue - Treeview of Records,” accessed August 28, 2020. Documents GD69/106, 107, 108, 112, 171.
  4. 4.0 4.1
  5. Barbara Balfour-Melville, The Balfours of Pilrig : a history for the family (T. and A. Constable, Edinburgh; 1907), p. 261, letter written by Elizabeth Hamilton (daughter of Gavin Hamilton, who died 1 January 1767).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Reynolds, p. 155.
  7. American Council of Learned Societies, Dictionary of American Biography (New York, C. Scribner’s Sons, 1943), Vol. 16:293-4.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Wikipedia:Arthur_St._Clair
  9. "Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910," database, FamilySearch (4 December 2014), Arthur St. Clair and Phebe Bayard, 14 May 1760; citing reference ; FHL microfilm 0896885 IT 2
  10. Boston (Mass.). Registry Dept, A Volume of Records Relating to the Early History of Boston Containing Boston Marriages from 1700 (Boston, Municipal Printing Office, 1898), Vol. 2:397.
    Arthur St. Clair & Phebe Bayard Int. reads [St. Clere Esq.] [Phiebe] Married on May 14, 1760
  11. Wikipedia contributors. James Bowdoin Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 5 Sep. 2020.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Mayflower Descendant: A Magazine of Pilgrim Genealogy and History. Boston, MA: Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1899- . (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2010). Warren Parker, "Records of Christ Church (Braintree/Quincy, Mass.)" The Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 35(1985):152 (Link by subscription).
    [1763] Elizabeth St. Clair dau. of Arthur & Phebe born May 12, bapt. July 10.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Bobby Hooper Hooper Web Site. Note: more detailed source needed.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Arda Bates Rorison, John Newton Boucher,Major-General Arthur St. Clair, (New York: 1910) pp. 39-40]
  15. "Arthur St Clair Obituary 18 Sep 1818," The Susquehanna Democrat, September 18, 1818, Page 3, [ accessed 15 Oct 2020.
  16. John Newton Boucher and John W. Jordan, History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania (New York, Chicago, The Lewis publishing company, 1906), pp. 624-642.
  17. Find a Grave, database and images (accessed 15 October 2020), memorial page for Arthur St. Clair (23 Mar 1736–31 Aug 1818), Find A Grave: Memorial #11822, citing Old Saint Clair Cemetery, Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .
  18. 18.0 18.1 The St. Clair Papers by William Henry Smith, 1881.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Henderson, John. Caithness Family History (Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1884) Page 334-8
  20. "Scotland Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950," database, FamilySearch ( : 10 February 2018), Arthur Sinclair, 23 Mar 1736; citing , reference , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 990,555, 990,556. (Restricted access to image)
  21. Henderson, p. 33, p. 335.
  22. Henderson, p. 33

See also:

Specific sources to Maj Gen Arthur Sinclair-3975:

  • "Scotland Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950," database, FamilySearch (10 February 2018), Arther Sinclair; citing Longformacus, Berwickshire, Scotland, reference 2:15ZR213, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 1,067,902.
  • Information taken from entries in the Old Parochial Registers in Scotland (1553-1854) and Registers of Births, Deaths and Marriages (1855-to date) administered by the Registrar General for Scotland and available on the Scotland’s People website. In particular the O.P.R. for the Parish of Longformacus entry 750/10 198.

Specific sources to General St Clair-342:


Comments: 5

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I'm about as done as I can be on the Scottish/Boston portions of this profile. My expertise doesn't extend well into the 1776 realm or that of the land and vital records of Pennsylvania. Would someone like to take it on from here?

Cheers, Bobbie

posted by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
Rob or Mark: Do you have any documentation of his British Army career, or any suggested sources for it?
posted by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
Comments from Bobbie Hall via email:

Arthur Sinclair's baptismal record is very clear, and in beautiful condition and legibility, and is attached. It names his father as the Reverend Daniel Sinclair, minister in the parish of Longformacus in Berwickshire. The image is under Crown Copyright, so it cannot be posted publicly to his profile as much as we would love to do so.

Arthur is mentioned in a cousin's memoir, which you can find in the quotation that is cited under "The Balfours of Pilrig." She names him, names his parents, and gives us a brief history of his military and political career. She was a contempory of Arthur Sinclair, and although she never met him, she surely would have heard stories about him within her family, since he (gasp!) was a traitor to his country in her eyes.

Arthur was also mentioned in a letter in 1757 written by his mother while he was, to quote: on service in North America. That letter is in the National Archives of Scotland. Additionally, his elder brother James was named in the settlement of his father's estate in 1745, a document also found in the National Archives. James' baptism is also recorded in the parish records in Longformacus and names his father as the Reverend Daniel Sinclair.

With these records, I feel very certain, we have established that Arthur, son of the minister, was the same man as entered service in the British Army, and then switched sides before the American Revolution, serving under General George Washington. The balance of his ill-fated career is well documented on this second profile managed by the 1776 Project as Arthur St. Clair:

In the 1776 Project profile, it is shown that his supposed birth in Thurso cannot be correct, and comes from a series of incorrect declarations: that he was the son of William, a merchant. In your profile is mentioned the merchant's brother, Daniel, the minister in Longformacus. The mis-step was in naming Arthur as born in Thurso, when it was his father who was born there.

posted by SJ Baty
If I read the guidelines correctly, the baptismal record can be included in the profile (see: There is a question of attribution so one should be certain to acknowledge the copyright if it is in still in effect. The copyright might have already expired if the record has been published over 50 years ago otherwise it is in effect 50 years from publication or until 1 Jan 2040 if unpublished [not sure what happens if a work is published on 31 Dec 2039].
posted by [Living Anderson]
There is also a restriction of no more than 20 images per website, so no, we can't reproduce it as the liklihood of WikiTree exceeding that maximum is too great.


We've addressed this issue here, and plan to maintain this restriction among our project membership:

posted by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
edited by Bobbie (Madison) Hall