acumen 3.0ɑ
W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library Manuscript Collections

Guide to the Clement Claiborne Clay, Jr., letter and biographical sketch MSS.0309

ASSET VIEWER
Publication:

University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0266
205.348.0500
archives@ua.edu

February 2008

Creation:

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2012-12-19T15:50-0600

Language Usage:

English

Description Rules:

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

December 2012
Collection Title:

Clement Claiborne Clay, Jr., letter and biographical sketch

Unit ID:

MSS.0309

Repository:

University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Quantity:

0.05 Linear feet (2 items, 4 pieces)

Dates:

circa 1834

Abstract:

Letter written from Tuscaloosa in 1834, to his aunt, Mrs. Robert W. Withers of Erie, Greene County, Alabama, and a biographical sketch, author and date unknown, which includes information on Clay's political career, wedding, and friends.

creator

Clay Jr., Clement Claiborne, 1816-1882

Scope and Contents note

The collection contains an 1834 letter written from Tuscaloosa to his aunt, Mrs. Robert W. Withers of Erie, Greene County, Alabama and a biographical sketch, author and date unknown, which includes information on Clay's political career, wedding, and friends.

Processing Information:

Processed by

unknown; updated by R. Rumstay, 2008; updated by Martha Bace, 2012

Preferred Citation:

Clement Claiborne Clay, Jr., letter and biographical sketch, W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama.

Acquisition Information:

unknown

Usage Restrictions:

None

Access Restrictions:

None

Biographical/Historical note

Clement Clairborne Clay, Jr., the oldest son of former Alabama senator and governor, Clement Comer Clay, was born on 13 December 1816, in Huntsville, Alabama. He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1834 and from the law department of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, in 1839. He was admitted to the bar in Alabama in 1840. He married Virginia Tunstall in 1843; the couple had several children.

Clay was elected to the Alabama State House of Representatives in 1842, 1844, and 1845, and then served as a county judge in Madison County, Alabama from 1848 to 1850. He ran for a seat in the United States Congress in 1850 but was not elected. Later, in 1853, the Alabama legislature elected him to serve in the United States Senate in the term beginning on 4 March 1853. However, because of the legislature's delay in filling the position, he actually only took office on 29 November 1853, and served until 21 January 1861, when Alabama seceded from the Union at the beginning of the Civil War. He was subsequently elected by the Alabama Confederate legislature as Senator in the First Confederate Congress, where he served from 1862 until 1864.

Although he declined the position of Confederate Secretary of War in Jefferson Davis' Cabinet, he and Jacob Thompson headed the Confederate secret agents. They had employed John Wilkes Booth for some services before Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln, and due to suspicions that Clay was involved in an assassination plot, Clay and his wife were arrested and imprisoned in Fortress Monroe in Washington, DC, in 1865; they were held for approximately one year.

When the Clays were released, they returned to his plantation in Jackson County, Alabama, and devoted himself to agricultural pursuits and to his law practice. Clement Claiborne Clay, Jr. died on 3 January 1882.

Source(s)

Daily Life and Family (localbroad)

Family (lcsh)

Government, Law and Politics (localbroad)

Letters (correspondence) (aat)

Memoir and Biography (Local)

Southern Life and Culture (localbroad)

Tuscaloosa (Ala.) (lcsh)

Clement Claiborne Clay, Jr. Box 18