James Brown Clay

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James Brown Clay

Birthplace: Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Death: Died in Montréal, , Quebec, Canada
Cause of death: consumption
Place of Burial: Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, KY
Immediate Family:

Son of Henry Clay, Speaker, US.House, Senator, Sec'y of State and Lucretia Clay
Husband of Susanna 'Susan' Maria Clay (Jacob)
Father of James Brown Clay, Jr.; John Cathcoat Johnston Clay; Henry (Harry) Independence Clay; Charles Donald Clay; George Hudson Clay and 5 others
Brother of Henrietta Clay; Theodore Wythe Clay; Thomas Hart Clay; Susan Hart Duralde; Anne Brown Erwin and 5 others

Occupation: Attorney, lawyer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About James Brown Clay


James Brown Clay (November 9, 1817 – January 26, 1864) was a Democratic Party member of the United States House of Representatives from Kentucky.

Born in Washington, D.C., while his father, Henry Clay, was serving in the United States Congress, James Brown Clay was named for the husband of his maternal aunt, James Brown. His brothers were Henry Clay, Jr. and John Morrison Clay. Clay attended a boys’ school associated with Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio (founded by family friend Bishop Philander Chase). Later, Clay attended Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky. He worked at a countinghouse in Boston from 1832 to 1834 before studying law and being admitted to the bar. He practiced law with his father in Lexington, Kentucky. In 1843, Clay married Susan Maria Jacob, sister of a three-time mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, Charles Donald Jacob. The couple eventually had ten children.

Clay served as Chargé d'Affaires to Portugal from August 1, 1849, to July 19, 1850. He farmed in Missouri in 1851 and 1852 before returning to Lexington. Clay had been a life-long member of the Whig Party — the party of his father. But when the Whig Party disintegrated following Henry Clay’s death, James B. Clay joined the Democratic Party. In fact, he was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-fifth Congress (March 4, 1857–March 3, 1859). Clay did not run for renomination in 1858 and declined an appointment by President James Buchanan to a mission to Germany. Clay served as a member of the Peace conference of 1861 held in Washington, D.C., an attempt to prevent the impending American Civil War. During the Civil War Clay supported the Confederacy and was commissioned to raise a regiment. His ill-health from tuberculosis prevented him from doing so. Clay died in Montreal, Canada, where he had gone for his health. He is interred at his family plot in Lexington Cemetery.

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James Brown Clay's Timeline

November 9, 1817
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
August 10, 1844
Age 26
January 27, 1846
Age 28
December 23, 1847
Age 30
November 17, 1849
Age 32
Lisbon, Portugal
July 3, 1851
Age 33
Lexington, KY
April 5, 1853
Age 35
Lexington, KY
February 12, 1855
Age 37
January 7, 1857
Age 39
Lexington, KY