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Clement Claiborne Clay, Jr., letter and biographical sketch

 Collection
Identifier: MSS-0309

Scope and Contents

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.

Dates

  • circa 1834

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Biographical / Historical

Clement Claiborne 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, where they were held for approximately one year.

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

Extent

0.04 Linear Feet (2 items, 4 pieces)

Language of Materials

English

Overview

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.

Provenance

unknown

General

To provide faster access to our materials, this finding aid was published without formal and final review. Email us at archives@ua.edu if you find mistakes or have suggestions to make this finding aid more useful for your research.

Processed by

unknown; updated by R. Rumstay, 2008; updated by Martha Bace, 2012
Title
Guide to the Clement Claiborne Clay, Jr., letter and biographical sketch
Status
Coll Lvl Complete
Date
February 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266
205.348.0500