WILLIAM M. ST. CLAIR, now retired from active business and living in Mount Auburn, was born in Indiana county, Pennsylvania, March 18, 1833. He lived in his native state until twenty-four years of age and then came alone to Benton county, Iowa. In Pennsylvania he had learned the trade of carpenter, and worked some time at this after coming to Iowa. He went to Kansas and worked for a time and spent one year at Council Bluffs, Iowa, and spent two years east of St. Joseph, Missouri, working at his trade. In 1861 he came back to Iowa and bought eighty acres of land in Cedar township, consisting of raw prairie.
On August 9, 1862, Mr. St. Clair enlisted in Company D, twenty-eighth Iowa Infantry, went first to Iowa City, went to Davenport and down the river, in November, 1862, to Helena, Arkansas, and remained there until April, 1863. They then moved down the river and took part in the campaign against Vicksburg; he took part in the battle of Port Gibson, went to the battle of Champion Hills, and in the last-named engagement was wounded, May 16, in the thigh. He was taken to the field hospital and remained there until June 9, when he was taken in an ambulance wagon to the Mississippi river, then in a hospital boat to Memphis, Tennessee, to Geyosa Hospital. On the 14th of August of the same year he went home on a furlough, remained home until November 8, then went to Davenport Hospital and received his discharge December 19, 1863. For some time he received a small pension, which is now increased to twenty dollars a month.
After leaving the army Mr. St. Clair worked at his trade, and in 1864 he built a house on his own land. After his marriage he lived a year on the farm, lived one year in Vinton, and in 1866 moved back to the farm. In 1886 he sold his farm and located in Mount Auburn, where he purchased a half interest in a lumber yard and also a half interest in a grain business, conducted under the name of St. Clair Brothers until 1903, when the lumber business was sold. The grain interests he sold in 1906, and since 1903 he has been retired from active business life. Mr. St. Clair has been very successful in farming, also in mercantile life, and is a leading citizen of Mount Auburn.
In political views Mr. St. Clair is a Republican, and he has served in several local offices. He is a member of the United Presbyterian church, and is a prominent member of the Grand Army of the Republic.
On January 12, 1865, Mr. St. Clair married Mary E., daughter of W. F. Kirkpatrick, of Vinton, who came from Ohio to Benton county in 1854. She died August 31, 1890, at Mount Auburn. Mr. St. Clair owns two acres of land in the city of Mount Auburn, where he has a handsome residence. He is one of the pioneers of Cedar township and is still quite active for one of his years.