An American Family History


Henry 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.

Henry Clay was born on August 2, 1672 in Chesterfield (was Henrico) County,Virginia.

He married Mary Mitchell about 1708. Mary was born on January 16, 1692 in Chesterfield County. She was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Mitchell.

Their children probably included:

Amey Clay Green (1708, married William Green),
William Mitchell Clay (1708/09, married Martha),
Mary Obedience Clay Belcher (1710, married Richard Belcher),
Henry Clay (1711, married Lucy Green),
Martha Clay Bass (1713, married William Bass),
Charles Clay (1716, married Martha Green),
John Clay (1718, married Elizabeth Hudson).

They lived in a part of Henrico County, Virginia that became Chesterfield County in 1749. Henry owned land on Deep Creek, Swift Creek, and Nut Tree Branch in Chesterfield County. He also owned land on Let Alone Branch in Goochland County, Virginia. Deep Creek, Swift Creek, and Nut Tree Branch are southwest of Richmond, Virginia and Let Alone Branch is a bit more southwest. He also owned a grist mill on Nut Tree Branch. The family enslaved many people.

In 1726 Henry witnessed Ralph Blankenship's will.

Henry died on August 3, 1760 died at Nattles at the Raells.

Lucy married William Marshall after he died.

Mary died on August 7, 1777.


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




Bilious fever is fever with nausea or vomiting. Flux is dysentery or diarrhea.

American colonists continued to use British monetary units, namely the pound, shilling and pence for which £1 (or li) equalled 20s and 1s equalled 12d. In 1792 the dollar was established as the basic unit of currency.

from The Clay Family by Zachary F. Smith

Henry Clay was born about 1672, and died at The Raells, August 3, 1760, of "the raells," aged eighty-eight years.

He was married about 1708-9 to Mary Mitchell, daughter of William and Elizabeth Mitchell, who lived and died and were buried in Chesterfield County, on the west side of Swift Creek, on the farm afterward occupied by Reverend Eleazer Clay. Mary Mitchell was born January, 1693, and died "of flux," August 7, 1777. (General Green Clay's Manuscript.)

Henry Clay's will was signed March 28, 1749, and probated at the September term of Chesterfield Court, 1760. The following extracts from it may be interesting:

I, Henry Clay, of Henrico County, being of perfect health, mind, and memory, thanks be to God....

Primis. I give and bequeath unto my son, William Clay, the land and plantation whereon he now lives, and my land and plantation on Deep Creek, in Henrico County, whereon Richard Belcher now lives, to him, his heirs, and assigns forever.

I give and bequeath to my son, Henry Clay, the land and plantation he now lives on, and two hundred acres of land at Letalone, in Goochland County, it being the Lower Survey belonging to me at the said Letalone, to him, his heirs and assigns forever.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my son, Charles Clay, the plantation whereon he now lives and all of the land on the north side of Swift Creek and the lower side of Nuttree Run to me belonging, and also four hundred acres at Letalone, it being my Upper Survey at Letalone, to him and his heirs forever.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my son, John Clay, the plantation whereon he now lives and all my land on the north side of Swift Creek and upper side of Nuttree Run, to him and his heirs forever.

Item. I likewise give and bequeath my Grist Mill on Nuttree Run to be equally divided between my son Charles and my son John Clay, to be held in joint tenancy, to them and their heirs forever.

Item. I give to my daughter, Amey Williamson, five pounds, current money.

Item. I give to my daughter, Mary Watkins, five pounds, current money.

Item. I give to my grandson, Henry Clay [Dr. Henry Clay, of Ky.], 240 acres adjoining the lands of James Hill &c.

Item. I give and bequeath to my granddaughter, Mary Clay, daughter of Charles Clay [afterwards Mrs. Stephen Lockett], one negro girl, named Phoebe.

Item. I give unto Mary, my well-beloved wife, the plantation whereon I now live, during her natural life, and my negroes, Lewis, Jo, Sue, Nann, Jenny and Sarah, during her natural life, and what stock and household goods she pleases to have or make use of, of mine.

Item. I devise that the rest of my slaves not heretofore given, and my stock and household goods, be given and equally divided among my four sons aforementioned, at their discretion, and also the negroes above written, and gave my wife, may be equally divided after my wife's decease.

Item. I give to my four sons, above written, and to my wife, to be equally divided, all the ready money and money out at use, that I shall be possessed with at my death.

Item. After my wife's decease I give my plantation, whereon I now live, to my son John Clay and his heirs forever, together with the adjacent lands thereunto belonging,

and I do hereby make, constitute and ordain my four sons, above written, to be my only and sole executors of this, my last Will and Testament.

A grist mill is a building where a miller grinds gain into flour.
Slavery is an immoral system of forced labor where people are treated as property to be bought and sold. It was legal in the American Colonies and the United States until the Civil War.

Henry and Mary (Mitchell) Clay had issue, named here according to the will:
I. William Mitchell Clay.
II. Henry Clay, of Southam Parish, Cumberland. (Test. 1764.)
III. Charles Clay, died in Powhatan February 25, 1789.
IV. John Clay, of Dale Parish, Chesterfield. (Test. 1761.)
V. Amey Clay, married Williamson.
VI. Mary Clay, married Watkins.


from Henry Clay: The Essential American by David S. Heidler

Clay lands were originally in Henrico County, a large district that spanned both sides of the James River. In 1749, the Virginia Assembly had established Chesterfield County out of Henrico, making it the new district within which sat The Raels, the Clay plantation that belonged to Charles's son, the long-lived Henry.

While in his late thirties, Henry [Clay] married teenaged Mary Mitchell sometime before 1709 and began a family that would also number seven children.

The youngest, John [Clay-1718], survived Henry by only two years, dying young at forty-one in 1762. Around 1740, though, he married affluent Sarah Watkins and had two sons with her before her untimely death at age twenty-five; the elder of them, also named John, was Henry Clay's father.

John Clay was born in 1742 and at age twenty inherited his father's plantation, Euphraim, in Henrico County with about twelve slaves. Three years later, he married fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Hudson, the daughter of a substantial Hanover County family. The Hudsons owned roughly five hundred acres of cultivated fields and pasturage three miles from Hanover Court House and sixteen miles north of Richmond. Elizabeth and her older sister, Mary, were to inherit this property in equal portions, a legacy sure to enhance John's already impressive holdings.





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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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