Henry Clay, Speaker, US.House, Senator, Sec'y of State

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Henry Clay, Sr.

Birthplace: Hanover, Virginia, United States
Death: Died in Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Place of Burial: Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, KY
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. John Clay and Elizabeth Watkins
Husband of Lucretia Clay
Father of Henrietta Clay; Theodore Wythe Clay; Thomas Hart Clay; Susan Hart Duralde; Anne Brown Erwin and 6 others
Brother of George Hudson Clay; Betty Hudson Clay; Sarah Watkins; John Bruce Clay; Rev. Edwin Porter Clay and 2 others
Half brother of Martha Blackburn; John Hancock Watkins; Francis Hudson Watkins and Nathaniel W. Watkins

Occupation: Famous Statesman, Statesman, elected US Senator, Politician, Senator, us senator
Managed by: Erin Spiceland
Last Updated:

About Henry Clay, Speaker, US.House, Senator, Sec'y of State


Henry Clay, Sr. (April 12, 1777 – June 29, 1852), was a nineteenth-century American statesman and orator who represented Kentucky in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, where he served as Speaker. He also served as Secretary of State from 1825 to 1829.

He was a dominant figure in both the First and Second Party Systems. As a leading war hawk, he favored war with Britain and played a significant role in leading the nation to war in 1812.[1] He was a major supporter of the American System, fighting for an increase in tariffs to foster industry in the United States, the use of federal funding to build and maintain infrastructure, and a strong national bank.[2] Dubbed the "Great Compromiser," he brokered important compromises during the Nullification Crisis and on the slavery issue, especially in 1820 and 1850, during which he was part of the "Great Triumvirate" or "Immortal Trio," along with his colleagues Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun. He was viewed as the primary representative of Western interests in this group, and was given the names "Henry of the West" and "The Western Star."[3] In 1957, a Senate committee chaired by Sen. John F. Kennedy named Clay as one of the five greatest Senators in U.S. history.[4] In his early involvement in Illinois politics, Abraham Lincoln was a great admirer of Clay.[5]


Henry Clay was born on April 12, 1777, at the Clay homestead in Hanover County, Virginia in a story-and-a-half frame house, an above average home for a Virginia farmer of that time.[6] He was the seventh of nine children of the Reverend John Clay and Elizabeth Hudson Clay.[7] His father, a Baptist minister called "Sir John," died four years later (1781).[6] He left Henry and his brothers two slaves each and his wife eighteen slaves and 464 acres (1.88 km2) of land.[8]

She soon married Capt. Henry Watkins, who proved himself to be an affectionate stepfather to Clay. He moved the family to Richmond, Virginia[9] where Elizabeth had seven children with Watkins to add to the nine she had with John Clay.


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Henry Clay, Speaker, US.House, Senator, Sec'y of State's Timeline

April 12, 1777
Hanover, Virginia, United States
November 1797
Age 20
Lexington, Kentucky, United States
April 11, 1799
Age 21
Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky, United States
June 25, 1800
Age 23
Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky, United States
July 3, 1802
Age 25
Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky, United States
September 22, 1803
Age 26
Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky, United States
Age 25
Kentucky, United States
February 14, 1805
Age 27
Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky, United States
Age 28
Kentucky, United States
April 15, 1807
Age 30
Ashland, Fayette, Kentucky, United States