An American Family History


Charles Clay


Henrico County was established in 1634 as one Virginia's eight original shires. Its boundaries incorporated an area from which ten Virginia counties were later formed.

Chesterfield County, Virginia was organized in 1749 when the territory south of the James River was separated from Henrico County.

Bacon's Rebellion was in 1676. Nathaniel Bacon, Jr. led Virginia settlers in attacks against local indigenous people and Governor William Berkeley. The rebels burned Jamestown. The rebellion was suppressed by British forces and loyalists.

Charles Clay was born about 1640 in Virginia. He was probably the son of the John and Elizabeth Clay. In 1682 he deposed that he was about 37 years old.

In 1657, he apprenticed himself to Stephen Tickner, "Chyrurgion", or Phissiake, for & duringe the terms of Seaven years. . . . ."

Charles married Hannah Wilson. Hannah was daughter of John Wilson, Jr. and Hannah Jones.

Charles and Hannah's children included:

Martha Clay (1660, may have married Ralph Blankenship and Edward Stanley),
John Clay (1668),
Thomas Clay (1670) 
Henry Clay (1672, married Mary Mitchell), 
Charles Clay (1674),
Mary Clay (1676 )
Judith Clay (1778 ), and 
Elizabeth Clay (1678).

Charles' land was in Chesterfield (was Henrico) County, Virginia.

In 1676, Charles Clay participated in Bacon's Rebellion against Governor William Berkeley.

Charles Clay appeared on the 1679 tax list for Henrico County in the Turkey Island list. They were neighbors of Ralph Blankenship.

Charles died in 1686 in Henrico County.

Henrico County Order Book p.378, Inventory of estate of Charles Clay deceased 15 June 1686. One Indian girl a dwarf and decrepid 550 pounds tobacco.

After he died, Hannah made a deed of gift:

I give to John Clay, Thomas Clay, Henry Clay and Charles Clay, my sons, each of them one cow of four years old with calf, or calf by her side, to be paid in attainment of age,

and for John, Thomas, Henry, each of them, one well fixed gunn at the same time.

And to my daughter Judith, six new 3 lb. Puter dishes, at her marriage or attainment of age.

Witness my hand this first day of October, 1687

Hannah probably married Edward Stanley after he died.

On August 20, 1706 Edward Stanley was ordered

to bring the remaining orphans of Charles Clay to the next court to discharge the securities of their estates.

Pewter is an alloy composed mainly of tin, but can include lead. It was used for dishes and utensils. Some colonists suffered lead poisoning from using it. It dents easily and lasted about ten years. It was expensive and wooden dishes were used most often.






A grenadier in the 17th century was specialized soldier who threw grenades and led assault operations. They were chosen from the strongest and largest soldiers.

The American Flag was adopted in 1777.

from Early Settlers of Alabama, Part 1 by James Edmonds Saunders

1. John Clay was the common ancestor of the Clays of America, but he must have come to America long before Bacon's rebellion, which was in 1676 (Campbell’s History of Virginia), whereas his great grandson (as you will see below) was born in 1672.

2. John [Clay], son of the Grenadier, had several sons, but we only know the names of two, Henry and Charles, of Amelia county. Virginia. 

3. Charles [Clay], who was the son of John Clay the II., married Hannah . He had several sons, whose names are not mentioned in the record before me, entitled "A Table of Consanguinity of the Ascending Line of Green Clay’s Family" but the eldest was Henry Clay....

4. This Henry [Clay] was born in 1672, and died suddenly at supper, at the mature age of 92 years, on the third day of August, 1764. General Green Clay says that this

Henry was my grandfather, and married Mary Mitchell (daughter of William and Elizabeth Mitchell). They lived and died in Chesterfield county, Virginia, at the old place on the west side of Swift Creek. They had four sons, William, Henry, Charles our father, and John, the grandfather of Henry Clay, late member of Congress, and negotiator of the treaty of Ghent, and several daughters.

This record was sent many years ago by Mr. Brutus Clay, son of General Green Clay, to my nephew, Dr. Matthew Clay. Mary Mitchell, wife of Henry Clay, who is numbered 4 in this line, was born in July, 1693, and died 7th August, 1777, aged 84 years.

5. Charles Clay (the second of the name), mentioned above, the fourth and last son of Henry Clay, was born 31st January, 1716, and died 25th February, 1789. He married Martha Green November 11, 1741. She was born 25th November, 1719, and died 6th September, 1793. She was the daughter of Thomas Green and Eliza Marston...


In 1607 the London Company established Virginia as the first permanent New World English colony.

King Charles I ruled England from March 27, 1625 to 1649.

from Henrico County, Virginia, Beginnings of its Families

John Clay had a patent 13 July 1635 for 1200 acres in Charles City [now Prince Georg'se] Co., adjoining lands of Capt. Francis Hooke, up to the head of Ward's Creek and bounded north on James River, said land due 100 acres to said Clay as an old planter before the government of Sir Thomas Dale and the other 1100 acres for the transportation of 22 persons.

In 1655 William Bayly patented 400 acres on Ward's Creek. Charles City Co. purchased of William Clay son of John Clay, who was assignee of Francis Hooke who patented in 1637.

hese persons may have been ancestors of Henry Clay whose first recorded ancestor Henry [Charles] Clay was living in that part of Henrico now Chesterfield when the records begin in 1677. There was a Clay family in Surry Co. from an early date.

W. G. Stanard in Virginia Magazine, III, p. 186. In the Musters of Virginia 1625 (Hotten, Emigrants, p. 211)

Jordan's Journey, Charles City. . . .
John Claye, arrived in the Treasurer Feby, 1613;
Anne, his wife, in the Ann, August 1623;
servant, Wm. Nicholls, aged 25 years in the Dutie, May 1619.

Charles Clay (first known ancestor of the Henrico Co. family) was born about 1647 and died 1686. He lived in that part of Henrico now Chesterfield Co. not many miles from the "Old Town" settlement which was about opposite to the site of the present city of Petersburg.

[1679] Mr Peter Field is ordered to give notice to these. John Ellis 1 George Archer 2 Wm Harris 2 Tho Webster 1 Tho Gregory 1 Mrs Chandler 5 John Willson Sen 1 John Willson Jun 2 Richd Dobbs 1 -Nich Dison 1 Tho Fitzherbert 4 Jno Farloe 1 [Farley?] Peter Rowlett 3 Mr George Worsham 3 Ess Bevill 4 Mr. Tho Batte 4 Jno Davis 1 Godf Ragsdale 1 sent. 1 Wm Dodson 1 James Francklin 1 Charles Clay 1 John Steward 4
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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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