About Clement Claiborne Clay
Clement Claiborne Clay (December 13, 1816 – January 3, 1882) was a U.S. senator (Democrat) from the state of Alabama from 1853 to 1861, and a C.S.A. senator from the Alabama from 1861 to 1863. His portrait appears on the Confederate one-dollar note (4th issue and later).
Clay was born with a strong political pedigree; he was the oldest son of Clement Comer Clay, a former senator and governor of Alabama, and was a third cousin of Henry Clay. In 1843 he was married to Virginia Tunstall, who later was known as Virginia Clay-Clopton.
Clay attended the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and graduated in 1834. He obtained a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1839 and was admitted to the bar in Alabama in 1840. He was a member of the Alabama State House of Representatives in 1842, 1844, and 1845. He then became a county judge in Madison County, Alabama and served from 1848 to 1850. He then ran for a seat in the United States Congress in 1850, but was not elected.
He was elected to serve in the United States Senate in a term beginning March 4, 1853, but the legislature failed to elect someone in time to fill it, so that he served from November 29, 1853 to January 21, 1861. He withdrew from the senate as Alabama seceded from the Union.
He was subsequently elected Senator in the First Confederate Congress and served from 1862 until 1864.
Clement Clay and Jacob Thompson were head of the Confederate secret agents. One of the people who worked for them was John Wilkes Booth, President Abraham Lincoln's assassin. Due to suspicions that he was involved in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, he and his wife were imprisoned in Fortress Monroe in 1865, where they stayed for about a year.
Clement Clay died in Madison County and is interred at Maple Hill Cemetery.