The Clay Family

The following data is and endeavor to research some of the descendants of "Captain John Claye" who came to Virginia in 1613 on the "Treasurer", and is a compilation of material from various resources, mainly data found in "The Clay Family Association Quarterlies". This quarterly was published by Ruth Clay Burrell. About the time that I started putting data together on the Clay Family, I found references to her in another publication that I was reading. I tried in vain to find Mrs. Burrell, but found that she had died shortly before I started my research.

Since most of the early records of Virginia were destroyed prior to 1677, this research has been vague in spots. Too, there were so many "John's, Charles, and Henry's, that it has been difficult to tell them apart! I had this same problem with the McGinty Family.


Sir John Claye by tradition is said to have been born ca. 1556/1558, probably Gloucester Co., England and died about 1632, probably Monmouthshire, England. The name of his wife is unknown. He was Coal Baron of Monmouthshire, England, and Wales, Knighted by Queen Elizabeth I and give lands in Wales; said to be the son of John Claye of Gloucester who was the son of John Claye of Derby, Knighted by Edward IV at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471.A

By tradition he had three sons:

1. Richard Clay, born about 1589, probably in Monmouthshire Wales, evidently the eldest and remained in Monmouthshire to inherit the estates. He had two sons who came to the Colonies:

a: Francis Clay, came to Northumberland Co., VA. in 1649; his wife arrived in 1652. Their children were:

1. William Claye

2. Daniel Claye

b: Edward Claye,, came to Northumberland Co., VA, in 1659.

2. William Clay, born about 1590, probably in Monmouthshire, England. He arrived in Virginia in 1638. Very little else is known about William.

3. John Claye, (Called "The English Grenadier")

4. William Claye, born about 1589 or later. Came to Charles City Co., VA. in 1638.


Captain John Claye, called "The English Grenadier", was born about 1587, probably at Monmouthshire, Wales and died about 1639 at Charles City Co., VA. He arrived at Jamestown on the ship Treasurer in 1613. His wife Anne (Nicholle), who he married in England about 1612, arrived in 1623 on the ship Ann. This John Claye was called Captain John Claye and tradition says he was in charge of the 50 Musketeers on board Captain Samuel Argall's ship the Treasurer, which was sent to offer protection to the settlers at Jamestown. The above information is attributed to Hotten, however, in a letter from Captain Samuel Argall to a friend Nicholas Hawes, we learn that the Treasurer arrived at "Point Comfort" on 17 September, 1612. This is referenced in The Genesis of the United States, by Alexander Brown, Vol. 1, p 640. I find it hard to believe that this was the only trip that the Treasurer made to the Colonies. Captain Claye obviously traveled back and forth to England before finally settling in Virginia with his wife Anne. They had two children that we know of:

1. John Clay born about 1614 in England.

2. William Clay born about 1617 in England.


John Clay born about 1614 in England and died prior to 1660 at Charles City Co., VA. Married Elizabeth (Frame?) about 1632 in Charles City Co., VA. He and his family lived on the North Side of the James River. After John's death Elizabeth married 2nd John Wall and 3rd John Tate.

Children of John and Elizabeth (Frame) Clay:

1. William Clay, born about 1634, Charles City C., VA. and died 1663. His will is missing but the probate exists, dated 22 October 1663, Charles City Co., VA. He married about 1656 to Emlin ( ? ), who survived him, no children are mentioned.

In 1655 William Bayley had a patent for four hundred acres of land on Ward's Creek, purchased of William Clay, son of John Clay, assignee of Francis Hooke, patentee of 1637 known as "Clay's Closett". This Williams was called " William Clay, the younger". In May 1655, at Westover Court, Charles City Co., VA.

William Clay sold to John Dibdall, Minister, land of John Clay, "my father", probably as the eldest surviving son. He was called, "William Clay, the younger" in the Deed. Therefore, his uncle, William Clay, was evidently still alive in 1655.

2. Charles Clay, born about 1638, Charles City Co., VA. died about 1686, married Hannah Wilson.


Born about 1638, in Charles City County, VA., died 1686, Henrico County, VA. according to estate papers.

Married Hannah Wilson about 1662 in Henrico Co., VA. Hannah Wilson was the daughter of John Wilson, Sr. of Henrico Co., VA. (Her mother is thought to be Hannah James, daughter of Roger James of Henrico Co., VA. Hannah was born about 1644 in Henrico Co., VA. and died prior to 1705, Henrico Co., VA. (See Orphan Court Paper, Henrico Co., VA.

Children of Charles Clay and Hannah (James):

1.    Mary Clay, born about 1664 in Henrico Co., VA.

2.    Elizabeth Clay, born about 1666 in Henrico Co., VA.

3.    John Clay, born about 1668, Henrico Co., VA.; died about 1722 in Prince George Co., VA.

4.    Thomas Clay, born about 1670, Henrico Co. VA.; died about 1726 in Prince George Co., VA.

5.    Henry Clay, born about 1672, Henrico Co., VA.; married Mary Mitchell

6.    Charles Clay, born about 1674, Henrico Co., VA.; died about 1765, married Sarah (?)

7.     Judith Clay, born about 1678, Henrico Co., VA.

Henry Clay5

Born about 1672, Henrico Co., VA.; died August 3, 1760, Chesterfield Co., VA. Will

Married Mary Mitchell, about 1708 in Henrico Co., VA. Mary was the daughter of Capt. William Mitchell and his wife Elizabeth of Swift Creek, Henrico/Chesterfield Co., VA. Mary was born about 1693 in Henrico Co., VA; and died August 7, 1777 in Chesterfield Co., VA. 

Children of Henry Clay and Mary Mitchell:

1.    William Clay also known at William Mitchell Clay, born about 1709, married Martha (?).

2.    Henry Clay, born abut 1711 and died about 1764, married ca 1735 Lucy Green.

3.    Amey Clay, born about 1713, married 1st William Green and 2nd Benjamin Williamson.

4.    Martha Clay, born about 1715 and died about 1745, married William Bass on May 6, 1731 in Chesterfield Co., VA.

5.    Charles Clay, born about 1716 and died about 1789, married Martha Green.

6.    John Clay, born about 1718 and died about 1761, married 1st a woman named Watkins, who was the daughter of a Edward Watkins of Cumberland Co., VA. and 2nd Mrs. Mary Bass.

7.    Mary Clay, born about 1720

William Mitchell Clay6

Born about 1709 in Henrico Co., VA. and tradition says he died about 1774 in Western Virginia, French and Indian War.

Married Martha about 1732. Martha was born about 1713 and died about 1765 in Cumberland Co., VA.

Children of William Mitchell Clay and Martha:

1.    William Clay, born about 1733 and died about 1810 in Franklin Co., VA.; married 1st Ann Old, May 10, 1756 in Amelia Co., VA. He married 2nd Milly Tucker.

2.    Mitchell Clay, born about 1735 and died in Giles Co., VA. about 1811, married Phoebe Belcher about 1760.

3.     Judith Clay, born about 1737, married Thomas Farley about 1754.

4.    Obediah Clay, born about 1739 and died about 1815, Lunenburg Co., VA.

5.    Ezekiel Clay, born about 1739 and died about 1777. Family tradition says he was killed by Indians during the Revolutionary War, frontier fighting in Montgomery Co., VA.

6.    Hannah Clay, born about 1743, married Gideon Thomas about 1762.

7.    Jesse Clay, born about 1745 and died in Jasper Co., GA. in 1823. Married 1st Milly (see deeds, Henry Co., VA.) and 2nd Marium (?).

8.    Nancy Clay, born about 1747. Married a man named Hatcher.

Jesse Clay7

Born about 1745, probably Cumberland Co., VA. died 1823 Jasper Co., GA.

First wife is Milly (?) and 2nd wife was Marium (Royal) ? who died about 1827.

Children of Jesse and Marium Clay:

1.    Nathan Clay, born about 1766 and married about 1787, Green Co., GA. to Mary Ann Kilgore.

2.    Royal Clay, born about 1768.

3.    Lavenia Clay, born about 1770, married Josiah Hatcher.

4.    Hannah Clay, born about 1772, married Henry Garrett.

5.    Thomas Clay, born about 1774, married Mary (?).

6.    Marian Clay, born about 1776, married Michael Wright. See Wright Family. They had daughter Elizabeth Ann Wright who married Alexander McGinty in 1823. See McGinty Family

7.    Samuel Clay, born about 1778, married about 1803 in Greene Co., GA. to Elizabeth Fitzpatrick.

8.    Tabitha Clay, born about 1780, married Samuel Clay, August 20, 1798 in Oglethorpe Co., GA.


Other Clay Family Researchers:

Clay Family Genealogy Forum

The Andrews Genealogy and Local History Pages 

Vaughn Family Tree  

Nyla's Genealogy


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