John Clay & Elizabeth
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Genealogy of VA Families VII 1981

Some Notes on the Clay Family p 77-80

Contributed by the late Reverend Stephen O. Southall

Note: After this article had gone to press we received word of the Reverend Mr. Southall’s death, Dec. 10th 1943, aged 86 years. For well over a half-century Mr. Southall had been an indefatigable searcher of Virginia local records and hundreds of persons of Virginia descent are indebted to him for solving their genealogical problems. Scholarly in his research, always generous and kind, he leaves numberless friends who honor his name. – Editor.

In her excellent book entitled The Clay Family (Filson Club. Publications No. 14. Louisville, Kentucky, 1899) Mrs. Mary Rogers Clay states (pages 65-66) that John Clay, the emigrant, had four (4) sons, naming as two (2) of them Francis Clay of Northumberland county and Thomas Clay, one of the fourteen persons "who did unlawfully assemble at ye p’ish church of Lawnes Creek [Surry County] with intent to declare they would not pay their publiq taxes…"

This is certainly an error and as I was partly the cause of the error, I wish to correct it, and give as far as I can, the true history, though the facts are meagre. When Mr. Clay asked me for the names of the Clays in Virginia, I gave her these names of Francis Clay and Thomas Clay; but failed to tell her that they were not descended from John Clay, the emigrant.

The meagre facts are as follows: In the Muster of the Inhabitants of Jordan’s Journey, Charles Cittie, taken the 21st of January 1624 (see Hotten’s The Original Lists..Emigrants…to the American Plantations 1600-1700, page211) the muster of John Clay is given thus:

"John Claye arrived in the Treasurer February 1613

Ann his wife in the Ann August 1623


Willliam Nicholl’s aged 26 years in the Dutie in May 1619."

On July 13, 1635, John Clay was granted, in Charles City County, 1200 acres bounding from the land granted to Capt. Francis Hooke, by the heads of Ward his creek; south east upon the creek; south west into the main land and north up the main river; 100 acres due the said John Clay as being an old planter at or before the government of Sir Thomas Dale; the other 1100 acres due unto him for the transporting of 22 other persons at his own cost. (Patent Book I, page 230)

Again, May 1, 1655, William Bayly was granted 400 acres in Charles City County at Ward’s Creek on lower Cross Creek, a part of a divident of 2000 acres granted to Capt. Francis Hooke and assigned to JOHN CLAY and John Frame, and by inheritance descended unto William Clay, a son of said JOHN CLAY, and by the said William Bayly purchased of said William Clay, the younger. (Patent Book 3, page 334)

These grants show the Clays lived in what is now Prince George County, which was taken from Charles City County (south of the James River) in 1702, and they lived between Ward’s Creek and Bailey’s Creek, just below the mouth of the Appomattox River. These grants are nearly all the data we have on the Clays in the public records and we must refer to some of the family records, and especially to General Green Clay’s account….

General Green Clay (born 1757, died 1828) says the father of Charles Clay (born 1638, died 1686) 1 was JOHN CLAY II, and grandson of the immigrant of John Clay. All the records which go back to John Clay agree with General Green Clay’s account….

Now what became of the 1200 acres granted to John Clay in July 1635? They are not mentioned again, at least for some hundred years after the grant. It seems to me that John Clay, the immigrant, must have died shortly after the grant was made to him in July 1635. He must have been over 50 years of age at the time of his death; and the early immigrants died like flies. And, I am almost sure that the JOHN CLAY who with John Frame received the assignment of 2000 acres from Captain Francis Hooke (as appears in patent to William Bayly in May 1655; see above) was the second JOHN CLAY.

Now, what children did John Clay, the immigrant have? Bad luck in the way of missing records follows us. …

General Green Clay calls the first John Clay "the English Grenadier", while some of the records call him "Captain". We wonder if he made several trips between Virginia and England. Be that as it may, the public records say nothing about it.

We can find only two children who might be sons of John Clay, viz: a William Clay and a JOHN CLAY who lived just across the river from ward’s Creek where "the Grenadier" lived. William Clay, who sold the land to William Bayly (as stated in Bayly’s patent; see above), is called "the son of John Clay" and also William Clay, the younger." As there was a William Clay, the younger," there must have been a William Clay, the elder. Therefore, we have for the first John Clay the immigrant, two sons, viz:

William Clay; possibly he is the William Clay n the north side of James River.

JOHN CLAY; maybe he, too, was the son of John Clay who was on the north side of James River.

General Green Clay’s account says that this second JOHN CLAY had several sons, but only two of them are known, viz:

William Clay, "the younger", who sold land to William Bayly, as we have seen above. We know nothing more of him.

Charles Clay, born 1638, died 1688 who married Hannah Wilson and whose descendants are well accounted for by Mrs. Mary Rogers Clay in her book, The Clay Family.

1. This Charles Clay (born 1638; died 1686) married Hannah Wilson and had a son Henry Clay (born 1672, died 1760) married Mary Mitchell, and had a son, Charles Clay (born 1716, died 1789) married Martha Green, and were the parents of General Green Clay (born 1757, died 1823).


Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight

Some Isle of Wight Families

Page 212-4

August 23, 1643, John Wall patented 1790 acres on Chippoakes Creek, between John Hooke and William Pilkington, adacent JOHN CLAY and John Freme.

One William Bailey patented 400 acres of land in Charles City, May 1st, 1655 "part of a dividend of 200 acres granted Captain Francis Hooke 26 October, 1637, and assigned to JOHN CLAY and John Freme and by inheritance descended unto William Clay son of said JOHN and by William Bailey purchased of said William Clay, the younger."


Clay Tentative Lineage by Ruth Clay Burrell, Peggy Carswell Peacock, and Shirley Langdon Wilcox September 22, 1983

Charles Clay (1645-1686) and his wife, Hannah Wilson are our earliest proven ancestors, but the records that do exist, and Traditions passed down through various branches of the family, lend validity to the belief that these were indeed our forebearers.

JOHN CLAY (Jr), b. ca 1624, probably Charles City Co., Va.; d. ca 1647, Charles City Co., Va.; md. ca 1644, probably Charles City. Co., Va. to ELIZABETH ___________, who survived him to md. (2) John Wall and (3) John Tate

In the Virginia Records is a "Deed of Gift", dated 3 October 1660, whereby John Wall conveyed 2 ewes to his "son-in-law" (step-son) Charles Clay; and at Westover Court, 1663, "ELIZABETH CLAY Wall", widow and Joseph Wall, son of John Wall, Dec’d., were authorized by Court to choose three or four persons from Martin’s Brandon to settle the estate of John Wall, according tot he provisions of his will. (Ref: Virginia County Records, Vol. II, pp 78 and 245, Congressional Library, Washington, D. C.).


[Note by Dianne: The following is part of an article indicating there was one John Clay who came over 1613 & married twice - 1) to Anne & 2) before 1645 Elizabeth who married again in the 1660s. Previous article believes that there were 2 John Clay’s & John Clay II was the one who married Elizabeth. Because of the spread of years, Dianne believes this is the case. The following article is talking about John I, but I believe portions belong to John II.]

Adventurers of Purse and Person Jester

CLAY p 192-3

CLAY also owned land on the north side of James River near "Westover", described in patents to Richard Milton, 29 Nov. 1636 and 26 May 1637. 4 In addition to these holdings, he owned 1000 acres called "Clay’s Clossett," which adjoined his 1635 patent on the south side of the James. This was part of a 2000 acre tract which he, together with John Frame, had purchased from Capt. Francis Hooke. 5

JOHN CLAY married (1), about 1624, Ann ______ and (2), before 1645, ELIZABETH _____, who married (2) John Wall of Charles City. Wall conveyed two ewes, 3 Oct 1660, to his "sonne in Law" [step-son] Charles Clay. 6 Wall had patented land 20 Sept. 1629 adjoining John 1 Clay. 7 He was dead by 4 Feb. 1664/5 when his widow Elizabeth Wall proved his will, now lost. 8 On 3 Feb. 1665/6 mention is made of John Tate "who married the relict of Capt. Jno. Wall. " 9

Issue by (1) William 2 appointed constable for Weyanoke parish, 2 Feb. 1659/60. 11 sold land near the Ashen Swamp to Joseph Harwood, 3. Nov. 1660, 12 married Emlyn _____ who was granted probate of his will, now lost, 22 Oct 1663, 13 and was still living, 3 Aug 1664, when Anthony Wyatt, agent, attached the "estate of Emlin Clay, widd. And executrix of William Clay, dec’d," 14 but had no known issue; Charles.

This descended by inheritance to William Clay who sold to William Bayly, who repatented 400 acres of it, 1 May 1658 (Ptent Bk. 3, p. 334). On 17 Dec. 1655 William Clay of Weyanoke Parish sold 550 acres of this tract, stating that he had sold 400 acres t Bayly and had given 50 acres to Cornelius Clemmence (Charles City Co. Order Bk. 1655-65, p. 24). This deed also mentions the grantor’s father, "JOHN CLAY, dec’d."

Charles City Co. Order Bk. 1655-65 p. 245. By a previous wife John Wall was the father of the wife of John Price (See Price).

Patent Bk. 1, p. 888

Charles City Co. Order Bk. 1655-65, p. 531.

Ibid., p. 620.

There is a possibility that John Clay, who was in Surry County in the 1660s, was another son of John 1 Clay and Ann Clay, particularly since Charles Clay had an early Surry connection. This possible John 2 Clay left a will, 7 April 1675-20 Oct. 1675, naming wife Mary and sons Thomas, William, and John (Isle of Wight Co. Deeds &c 1661-1719, pp. 135-36).

Charles City. Co. Order Bk. 1655-65, p. 225

Ibid, p. 318

Ibid, p. 418.

Ibid, p. 484.


The Clay Family. Mrs. Mary Rogers Clay 929.2C

The Genealogy of the Clays pp. 63-68

Captain Clay had been married before leaving England, and left his wife behind.

He probably sent for her as soon as he had prepared a comfortable home. Why he delayed so long, those familiar with the history of the Jamestown Colony best understand. Hunger, despair, and death followed the one so fast in the wake of the other that twice within a few years that colony was reduced from five hundred persons to less than sixty souls, and in 1616 there were only three hundred and fifty English people in all North America.

The children of Captain John and Ann Clay, so far as known, were:

Francis Clay, who name appears on the records of Northumberland County, Virginia, from October 19, 1652, in the grants of lands, until June 8, 1658, and in Westmoreland County on May 21, 1666.

William Clay. 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.

Thomas Clay, one of fourteen persons "who did unlawfully Assemble at ye pish church o Lawnes Creeke, with Intent to declare they would not pay theire publiq taxes, & yt they expected diverse others to meet them. (Surry Co., 3rd Jany Ao. Dom. 1673)" (William and Mary Quarterly Magazine.)

Charles Clay, born 1638, died 1686 (intestate). He married Hannah Wilson, daughter of John Wilson, senior, of Henrico Co, Virginia, and states in Court, April 1686, that he has received his wife’s part of her father’s estate. (1688-1697, page 360.)

[Note from Dianne: Above is probably incorrect as stated in the first article in this document. Charles was most likely the grandson of John I & as son of JOHN II]


Warrens & Related Families of North Carolina & Virginia by Holland D. Warren, PhD, 1990

page 345 On 23 August 1643 John Wall’s estate was further identified by a thrid entry int he patent record book. His 1,791 acres adjoined Wards Creek and, in turn, was adjoined by the lands of ancient planter JOHN CLAY and John Freme….

[Note by Dianne: ELIZABETH the widow of JOHN CLAY married 2. John Wall.]

page 348-9 John Wall…His will was probated at the February 1665 court session at Westover; John’s wife ELIZABETH was executrix…Joseph Wall was John’s and ELIZABETH’s son. Joseph inherited a portion of his father’s estate, but the executrix, his mother was slow in dividing the inheritance. The son petitioned the October 1665 court for a division in compliance with John’s will. The court ordered three or four persons of martins Brandon, selected by Joseph and his mother, to settle the estate…In 1665 Widow ELIZABETH Wall took sick at her deceased husband’s home near Wards Creek. Doctor John Cogan came by the house to get a passage over the creek and found ELIZABETH ailing. Cogan pleaded with her to take some medicine from him, and if she recovered she could pay him whatever she felt was right, but if she didn’t wish to pay, he would not demand anything. Mrs. Wall apparently accepted the offer, ordered several other medicines from the Doctor, regained her health before the additional medicines were delivered, and then refused to pay Cogan, although he had already acquired the medicines. Cogan sued her at court. In December 1665, less than a year after John Wall’s death, a recovered ELIZABETh married John Tate. Tate’s medicine worked better than doctor Cogan’s.


Surry County, Virginia Court Records, 1652-1663, Book I

page 28 We whose names are subscribed being Impanneled by Sherriffe by the approbation of Mr. Lawrence Baker Commissioner. To veiwe the Corps of Tobias Swanne Servant unto Mr. Richard Blunt the 5th of Octobr 1654 or. Verdict is vizt: Wee veiued the Corpes the daye above written but could not finde anie signe or impression of stroke or blow or marke or bruise but according to the testimony of Mr. John Corker & Mr. Robert Stanton in writing taken & sworne before Mr. Lawrence Baker that the blow from the horse might be ye cause of his death as Wittnesse or hands the daye & yeare above written and this or. Report. The foreman

…ye. Marke of JOHN CLAYE (.c.)… [56]-58

page 62 [110]-112 Bill binding Tho. Colner/Colver to pay to Jno Fflower 4,000 pounds…

Wittnesse Wm. Jenninge, JNO. CLAYE. Record po. 9ber. 1657

page ? [162]-164 These pr;sents witnesseth yt. I NOO. CLAY have firmly & absolutely sold unto Mr. Tho. Hunt or his heyres or executors one Woman Servt. Ffor her fful tearme off time being upwards off three yeares, quietly to injoi & poses & doe acknowledge to have recd. In hand ful satisfaction the fforsd. Woman servt. Her name is Rebeckah masling as Witt. Ny hand the 3d. day of 7ber 1660 Signe JNO. CLAY © Test. Wm. Marriott, Pain? Le Benlez? Recorded po. Janry 1661

page 101 [166]-168 Att a Meeting of the Vestryes of Southwarke parish and Lawnes Creeke parrish at Southwarke the 24th. May 1660?

Pro. Sothwarke Vizt: Present


In Conformity to the Act of Assembly Enjoyning the Erecting Tannhouses in Each County, Wee the Major pt of the Vestryes of the two parrishes have accordingly mett & for the more Speedy & Easy accomplishmt thereof have Agreed … in Manner & fforme follow: …

page 110 Memorandum. That I George Blow had bargained & sold unto Walter Bartley all my right title & Interest of fifty Acres of Land…Bee it knowne unto all men by these pr:sents that I Walter Baertete doe assigne over all my right title & Interest of the within specified to JOHN CLAY or his assignes as witness my hand theis 10th. Of June Ano. Dom 161. Walter Bartlet. Testes. Edward Bechinoe? Splandin? Rand. These 3 recorded 4th March 1661


page 116-117 [192]-194 You are to Inquire whether Katterine A woman servant of Mr. Peeter Green died a naturall or violent death with? & evidence by Any signs of blows or bruises or waapon or Any kind of violence wch. You may Adjudge by Any signe or marke you shall find by viewing the Corpse…Wee whose Names are Above written…did not find any signs or tokens of Any blows or Kicks which might cause Any untimely death & to our Judgmt. Shee died Naturally; dated 20th July 1662….Erasmus Christian Aged 36 yeares or there abouts Came this day being the 20th day of July 1662 before us volluntary & doth declare that Kattarine A servant maid to Mr. Peeter Green who departed this life the 16th. Of this Instand July, did tell this declarer that her Mrs: Mrs: Gre__ had beather her soe terribly & footed & kickt her that shee should surely dye with the kickes foots & blows shee her said Mrs. Had give her & that shee did tell the said Erasmus the Sundaynight before her death she dying then Sunday morning ffollowing & did beg this said deponent for the Lords sake that hee would declare this after her decease And further said not Erasmus Christan Sworne before us … [193]-195 An Examination of Anne Dawson taken the 20th July 1662 saith that see coming Axitentually (sic) to the house of Mr. Peeter Greene Mrs Greene dessired this deponent to strip the corps of Catterine a woman servant of the said Greens saith that shee see no spott or sign of blows upon the siad Corps only one spott of blood upon her brease of her shift & further said not… Examination of Mary Beson…saith that shee never see Mr. Greene or his wife to Abuse the Above said Katterine either by kicks or blows by Any unlawful weapon neither did shee ever heare the said Katterine Complaine of Any Abuse In the Least…. In his Majestys Name to will & Require you forthwith to Impannell an Able Jury of neighbours of 12 men to bee at the house of Mr. Peet__ Greene to morrow morning by eight of the clock at furthest hereof faile not as you will Answer the Conrary at your uttmost Perrill… To Mr. JNO. CLAY Cunstable to Execute (sic) & make Reutne Accordingly. Reocrd sept 3d 1662

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