Capt. John Clay, Ancient Planter

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John Clay, VI

Also Known As: "John Claye", ""The English Grenadier""
Birthdate: (47)
Birthplace: Said to have been of, Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales
Death: circa 1635 (39-55)
Charles City Co, Virginia
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir John Clay, "Coal Baron of Wales" and Mary Carlton
Husband of Anne Clay, Ancient Planter
Father of William Clay, of Weyanoke Parish
Brother of Theopolis Clay; Richard Clay; Charles Clay; John Clay, Jr.; William Clay and 1 other

Occupation: came to Virginia in 1613 on the "Treasurer", Grenadier Captain, Captain, Soldier, Planter, Sailed "The Treasurer" to the USA
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Capt. John Clay, Ancient Planter

Captain John Clay came to Jamestown, Virginia aboard the "Treasurer," in 1613. A soldier in the British army, John gained the rank of Captain by the age of 21 and was sent to Virginia to control problems developing in the area. Clay, known as, "The English Grenadier" was put in charge of the fifty Musketeers aboard Captain Samuel Argal's ship, the Treasurer which was sent to protect the settlers in Jamestown. Captain Clay eventually became sympathetic to the cause of the settlers and resigned his military post.

John Clay was born about 1587 in Manmouthshire, Wales, England. In Hotten's, In "List of Emigrants To America 1600 -1700", a "muster of inhabitants to Virginia, includes, "a muster of inhabitants of Jordan's Journey, Charles City, the 21st of January 1624". The section contains the muster of John Clay, noting Clay arrived in Jamestown, Virginia aboard the "Treasurer" February 1613 and his wife Ann arrived on the ship, "Ann", August 1623. John's servant, William Nicholas arrived on the "Dutie" in May 1619.

Patent 210 granted John Clay twelve hundred acres in Charles Citie County, Virginia. The lands were granted by order of the Court of Francis Hooke. Up to the head of Ward's creek and bounded on the north by James River. one hundred acres to him as an old planter before the government of Sir Thomas Dale and the other eleven hundred for the transportation of twenty two persons by the West July 13, 1635, Ledger 1 page 230. These lands were near the present day City Point, a few miles from what is now Chesterfield County, Virgina. (Notable Southern Families, the Clay Family, by Frances Powell Otken, The Lookout).


Genealogy of VA Families VII 1981 Some Notes on the Clay Family p 77-80 Contributed by the late Reverend Stephen O. Southall

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."

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.

John married first Ann(e) (Nichols) about 1612 in England and had four children: William, Thomas, Francis and Charles, born 1638 in Charles City, Virginia and died 1 June 1686 in Henrico, Virginia. Ann died before 1645. John then married Elizabeth, born 1615 and died 1686 in Charles City, Virginia.. John Clay died about 1654 in Charles City, Virginia.

Virginia Colonies / Jamestown / "The Ancient Planter of Virginia" "'Ancient planter'" is a term applied to colonists who migrated to the Plantation of Virginia "before the coming away of Sir Thomas Dale" in 1616, and continued there for at least three years. These colonists received the first land grants in Virginia. Those who paid their own passage to Virginia received a "first dividend" of 100 acres (0.40 km2), free of quit-rent. Those who were brought at the Company's expense also received 100 acres, subject to an annual rent of one shilling per 50 acres. Planters who arrived later than 1616 were entitled to a lesser grant of 50 acres.

According to a letter from John Rolfe dated January 1619/20 "All the Ancient Planters being sett free have chosen places for their dividends according to the Comyssion. Which giveth all greate content, for now knowing their owne landes, they strive and are prepared to build houses & to clear their groundes ready to plant, which giveth great encouragement and the greatest hope to make the Colony florrish that ever yet happened to them.

Jan 21, 1624/1625: he appears in this muster as a resident of Jordans Journey, south of James River in Charles City County, VA.

Interesting note taken from address given by Robert Clay to the Jamestowne Society circa 2000: The "Treasurer" arrived in Old Point Comfort, VA in 1612 (9.17.1612). The most intriguing records that have bearing on John's life concern the boat on which he traveled when he came to Virginia and in these records there may well be room for further study. The Treasurer appears to have been owned by Samuel Argall and Sir Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick. Argall was later to become deputy governor of Virginia under Lord De La Ware and still later to have become Sir Samuel. He was from East Sutton, Kent and was brother to Elizabeth Argall Filmer wife of Sir Edward Filmer and mother of Major Henry Filmer immigrant to Virginia. Elizabeth Argall Filmer was the great-great grandmother of William,

Lucy and Martha Green who were later to marry into the Clay family with such astounding genetic results. The Treasurer was not an ordinary immigrant boat. It was an armored man-of-war and sailed from England 23 July 1612 under command of Samuel Argall who held a royal warrant to remove French settlers from those areas claimed by Virginia. It carried sixty or sixty-two soldiers and a few settlers. Likely, with the strong but improvable military tradition attached to John Clay, he was one of those soldiers. After a crossing of about seven weeks fifty leagues north of the Azores, they fell with the Coast of Virginia, in the Latitude of forty degrees on September 12. The City of Philadelphia lies at 40E latitude. Virginia please remember was a bit larger then than now! On the 17th of September the Treasurer arrived at Point Comfort and proceeded to Jamestown Island where it stayed for a short time while the men repaired a damaged boat or boats found there and in pursuing the ftline Indians with Sir Thomas Dale in an attempt to obtain corn.

About the beginning of November, 1612, the Treasurer took Sir Thomas Gates to Smith's Island to investigate the possibility of establishing settlers there. They returned to Point Comfort and on the 1st of December again left in search of corn. They returned after a successful voyage, arriving at Jamestown on the 1st of January and then going to Point Comfort where they arrived the 1st of February, 1613. Please remember that John Clay said he arrived in Virginia in February, 1613.

  • Did he actually arrive in September, 1612, and remain

with the ship until February 1613?

  • Was that the end of his enlistment and did he provide the 1613 date because he then became a settler? The answer will likely never be known.

Interestingly, it was this same boat, The Treasurer, that in 1613, captured Pocahontas and brought her a prisoner to Jamestown and in the Spring of 1616 took her and several other Indians to London. It was also the ship that escorted the Dutch vessel that was long thought to have brought the first Negroes to Virginia and even later the Treasurer was accused of various acts of piratacy against the Spanish. John Clay may well have been a very dull character but the boat on which he arrived in Virginia had a very colorful career.


Capt. John Clay b. 1587 of,,ENG; md. 1618 London, Middlesex, ENG; d. 1655 Charles City Co., VA. md.1618 London, Middlesex, ENG to Elizabeth b. abt 1614 (this wld/make Elizabeth abt 4 yrs old when md.) ! - Ancestors of Warren Lemuel Conrad-Capt. John Thomas Clay b. 1587 Monmouthshire, Wales d. 1656 Charles City Co, VA md Anna Nicolls 1618 London, ENG. and s/o John Clay/Mary Carlton. ! - Ancestors of Warren Lemuel Conrad-md. Elizabeth _____ aft 1638 ENG. ! his wife as Elizabeth (again I am staying w/Anna Nicolls since Elizabeth wld/h been 4 yrs. old when md.) ! - Ancestors of Richard Allen Watts, Jr. - John Thomas Clay II, b. 1587 ENG, d. abt. 1655 Charles City Co., VA m/1 Anne _____ bef 1613 in ENG, m/2 Elizabeth ____ aft. 1613. !CLAY Family #6047163- pg. 83-The Journal of Mississippi History V XXIII #- Jan. 1961-The Cabaniss Family of the Old Southwest by Allen CABANISS-listed as John CLAY. (furnished by Mrs. Mantel CLAY). The Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight [VA} by John Boddie-pg. 212-214 CLAY-"John Claye arrived in Treasurer Feb 1613-Ann, his wife, in Ann, Aug 1623. William Nichols, servant, age 26, in Duke May 1619." "May 1st, 1655 William CLAY, son of John sold 400 acres of inheritance to William BAILEY." John Clay, of Surry, bought land on Lawnes Creek 1663. He was know as elder or senior-made his will in 1675 listing sons, William, Thomas and John." "Thomas CLAY made a will in Surry in 1679 listing wife Eliz. auther stated that he had son Thomas, and brother William." "William, s/o John, Sr., md. Judith Corker; d. 1671-will listed dau., Elizabeth md. John Brantly, and Sarah md. George Barlow. [The sources are not listed in the excerpt, which we received how ever the auther inferred that the lineage was.... (From the CLAY Family Register: John Clay b. ca. 1620 in ENG-arrived 1642-44-lived Lawned Creek-James City County-Westmoreland Co., VA -Ref.-Clay Family Quart. V 8, p 11. John Clay lived Isle of Wight-will dated 7 Apr 1675-probated 20 Oct 1675 listed children, Thomas, his wife Mary, John, William, his wife Judith Corker, MAry CFQ V2, p 66. John CLAY lived Isle of Wight Co., VA, d. April 1685 interstate administrator May 1, 1685, children Sarah, dau. and her husband John Brantly. CFQ V2, p 78, V5, p. 9. John CLAY b. ca. 1625; d. prior to 1 Mar, .661 lived Lawnes, Creek, Surry, VA-wisow Mary m. Roger Archer. Pg. 96-Desc. of John Clay, the English Grenadier... !Desc. of John Thomas Clay, Jamestown Immigrant-Jeannie C. Watts-The Colonial CLAYS of VA & Some of Their Desc.-pg. 1-(this document was transcribed from the orginal Clay family scroll that was written by Clifford Charles CLAY II in 1940, and contains all of his document in my soures as the Dlay Family Scroll (CFS). Permission granted for inclusion by the transcriber, Sean CLAY, tells us that only 60 souls of the Jamestown Colony survived the arrival of their first governor Lord De La Warre - (Delaware) -and his deputy, Sir Thomas DALE. In the spring of 1610, and agin in 1616, the colony was reduced to 350. In the meantime, in Feb 1613, Captain John Thomas CLAY, English greneadier, left his young wife in WALES, and with his two younger brothers, Charles and Henry CLAY, with 10,000 pounds eash, arrived in the colony. In "Bottom' List of Emigrants to America 1600-1700", (The Muster of the Inhabitants of Jordans Journey), quoste:'...Charles Little taken the 10th of January, 1624 of these, the Muster of John CLAYE...' John Clay arrived in the TREASUROR, Feb 1613. Ann, his wife, in the ANN, August 1623. Servant, William Nicholls, aged 26 years, in the DUTIE, in May 1619. So, this CLAY family descended from the first Anglo-Saxon seed sown in America. It is a matter of record with the various branches that Henry, one of the Emigrant brothers, died young and without issue, and that Charles married and had issue. But here the record stops. John Thomas CLAY-b. abt 1587. After his wife joined him in 1624, had four sons: Francis, William, Thomas and Charles. They were the first generation born in America. We find that Francis name appears on the record of Northumberland Co. in 1662, also in Grants in 1658, and in Westmorland Co. in 1666. These counties border the Potomac and indicates this posterity drifted north. William sold his land on Wards Creek in 1655, and here the record stops. Thomas, an old man, was living in Surry County in 1673, and the record stops... !Desc. of John Thomas Clay, Jamestown Immigrant-Jeannie C. Watts -pg. 5 - John Thomas Clay b. 1587 ENG, d. abt 1655 Charles City Co., VA. Note: Not all researchers are in agreement that this John Clay is the son of a Sir John Clay of Wales, mor are they certain of his middle name. NOTE: His desc. eligible for membeship in Virginia Society Colonial Dames of AMERICA. He came to Jamestown aboard the "TREASURER" 16 Feb 1612/13. !PRF CD #2 -John Thomas Clay b. 1587 ,Monmouthshire, WALES d. 1655 Charles City Co, VA; md. 1618 London, London, ENG to Anne NICHOLS. !WFT CD ( #39 ?) - John Clay was a soldier in the British Army. He was given the rank of Captain at the young age of 21, and was sent to the New World (Virginia) to control problems that were developing. He traveled on the English Ship "Treasure". His wife Ann, arrived in 1623. Both ships are recorded as having landed in Jamestown. After Ann's arrival, they settled in a township called Charles City, located in Chester Co., VA. John became sympathic toward the settlers cause, and began to represent them. He finally resigned his military positon and joined their postion. A son Charles was b. to John and Ann in 1638. Charles md. Hannah WILSON and lived in Henrico Co., VA until he d. abt 1686. John CLAYE arrived in the "Treasuror" Feb 1613. He was known as "The English Grenadier", of whom we have so many traditions. He was living in Charles City in 1624. Patent (210) grants John CLAY twelve hundred acres in Charles City Co., VA, beginning at the lands granted by order of the Court of to Francis HOOKE, up to the head of Ward's his Creek, and bounded on the north bounty of James River. Due one hundred acres too him as an old planter befored the government of Sir Thomas DALE, and the other eleven hundred for the transportation of twenty-two persons by the "West" July 13, 1635 (Ledger 1, pg. 230). "These lands granted John CLAY were near the present City Point, only a few miles from what is now Chesterfield County, and no other settler of the name is mention in any record in this section." Richmondcritic, 1888. Captain CLAY had been md. before leaving ENG, and left his wife behind. He sent for her as soon as he prepared a comfortable home. Why he delayed so long, those familiar w/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 yrs. that colony was reduced from five hundered persons to less than sixty souls, and in 1616 there were only three hundred and fifty English people in North America. John had been md. bef. to (1) Elizabeth and he md. (2) Ann in 1612 in ENG. In "Hotten's List of Emigrants to America 1600-1700," we find among the "Musters of the Inhabitants of Virginia" these items: "The Muster of the Inhabitant's Of Jordans Journey, Charles Citie, taken 21th, of January 1624," Of these: "The Muster of John CLAYE" John CLAYE arrived in the Treasure, Feburary 1613, Anne his wife in the Ann, Aug 1623. Servant, William NICHOLLS, aged 26 yeres, in the Dutie, in May 1619." (This is the first mention of the CLAYE name in colonial records.) At this period of Virginia history Sir Thomas DALE was Governor, and having been bred a soldier, ruled with great severity. He was so harsh the people hated him. Yet, the colony prospered under his administration. During this time Virginia History, each man was granted a home and three acres of land, which he himself cultivated, paying therefor two and a half barrels of corn to the public granary. These allotments of land were gradually increased, and finally the Governor persuaded the London Company to grant fifty acres in fee-simple to each colonist who would clear and cultivate them and pay annually a nominal rent to the King"at the feast of St. Michael the Archangel." Those paying into the treasury the sum of twelve pounds and ten shillings should be entitled to one hundred acres, to be located as desired. From this allotment there gradually grew up along the James River and some of its tributaries a settled through scatted community of planter dependent upon their own exertions for support and free from the evil associations and vices engendred in the earlier days of Jamestown. !PRF CD #10-John CLAY b. abt 1615 ,, VA. Family: Adventures of Purse and Person, VA 1607-1624/5, published by the Order of First Families of Virginia [third edition 1987], pg. 192-197. Also see Filson Club Publications #14, The CLAY Family [1899]. Came to Virginia, Feb. 1614/15 in the Tresurer and was among the Ancient Planters accorded certain privleges by the Virginia Company. !PRF CD # 50 - Capt. John CLAY b. 1587 ,,, ENG, d. 1655 Charles City, Va, md. 22 Nov 1632 Jordan's Journey, Charles City, VA Ann BURTON; d/o Martin BURTON/Elizabeth ARMSTEAD - ch Francis b. 1632 Indian Dist of Chickacian, d. Westmoreland, VA, md. Northambeland, VA Ann TEMPLE, William b. 1634 Charles City, Va, d. Oct 1663 Charles City, VA, md. Emline HALL, Thomas b. 1636 Charles City, VA, d. 1726 Surry, VA md. Elizabeth _____, Charles b. 1638 Charles City, Henrico, VA, d. May 1686 Henrico Co, VA md. 1667 Henrico Co, VA Hannah WILSON . NOTE: if Ann NICHOLS d. 1638 ,,, E NG and these 4 ch. are listed w/her as well. Then how did he marry Ann BURTON in 1632. The dates match better for them to be the ch. of Ann BURTON. I wonder if Ann BURTON m/h md. a NICHOLS. It says above that he sent for her and she arrived in 1623. This indicates to me than Ann NICHOLS d/no d. in 1638 in ENG. E

Citing This Record "Pedigree Resource File", database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 2013-06-20), entry for John Thomas"John" Clay II, Capt., The English Grenadier. Submission

   submission id:MM9R-WK8
   contributor:ckirn2810809 date:Friday, February 27, 2004
   contributor:ckirn904891 date:Friday, February 27, 2004 

John Thomas Clay, Ancient Planter, landed at Jamestowne, VA in February 1613 and settled in Charles City County, Virginia. He paid for the importation of 32 people on the good ship 'West' which arrived July 13, 1635. He was granted 1200 acres of land 13 July 1675 at the head of Wards Creek. His wife, Anne Nichols arrived from England, 10 years later. John married secondly Elizabeth the mother of Charles.

Captain John Thomas Clay, the "British Grenadier" (hired soldier in the King's army) arrived in the new world in February 1613 according to the muster on the 'Treasurer'. The Treasurer, sent to protect the settlers in Jamestowne, was commanded and partially owned by Captain Samuel Argall, who was a brother of Elizabeth Argall Filmer, ancestress of Martha & Lucy Green Clay (wife of Henry Clay 1711-1764). It is stated in his muster that he (John Clay) was a planter before the government of Sir Thomas Dale.

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Capt. John Clay, Ancient Planter's Timeline

Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales
Age 24
Age 40
of, Charles City, VA
Age 47
Charles City Co, Virginia
September 19, 1955
Age 47
May 1, 1956
Age 47