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Home | Clement Claiborne Clay | Virginia Tunstall Clay | U.S. Senator for Alabama | Confederate Senator of Alabama & Diplomatic Agent | Fortress Monroe | Times after the War | Resource Links and Bibliography
The Clays of Alabama
Clement Claiborne Clay

Below is a timeline of Clement Claiborne Clays (C.C. Clay Jr.) life.

Rob Henshaw prepared this timeline for a presentation he does every year.


1816 - December 13th born in Huntsville the oldest of three sons.

Father was a well known Senator, Governor, and Lawyer of our State

Father:Clement Comer Clay

Wife: Virginia Tunstall

Brothers: Hugh Lawson Clay and Withers Clay (News Paper The Confederate)


Obtained an excellent preparatory education, attending the Greene Academy on East Clinton Street part of the time. 


1834 - Graduated from the University of Alabama


That same year visited NY & DC for the first time with my father.  Had an opportunity to meet many politicians of the time and have dinner with the President (Andrew Jackson).


1839 - Graduated from the University if Virginia with a Law Degree.

That same year was admitted to the Alabama Bar


1840 - Father opened a Law firm in downtown Huntsville, where (C.C. Clay Jr.) practiced until 1846.


1842 - Was elected into the Alabama House of Representatives.  Also served in 1844 & 1845


1843 -  Met and married Virginia Tunstall.  Was attracted to her excellent education, her quick wit and her zest for living.

It was a two day journey from our state capital (Tuscaloosa at the time) to Huntsville in a four wheel carriage. Virginia was 18 and he was 27.


1846 - 1849 -  Was elected Judge of the County Court here in Madison County


1850 -  Tried unsuccessfully to run for a seat in the Thirty Second US Congress


1853 - 1861 - Occupied a seat in the US Senate.  Turned 37 the day before

he was sworn in.  The youngest Senator in the 33rd Congress.  Franklin Pierce

was President.  Was on the Commerce Committee.  Most efforts were

invested into Kansas-Nebraska Act, Railroad projects and States Right

issues/Self Government.


1860 - Issued a full bill of indictment against the Republican Party, listing the

causes for secession.


1861 - On January 21st 1861 Alabama succeeded from the Union. (at the AL

convention  Ordinance of  Succession for Alabama Vote 61-39 January 11th,

1861). Most Southerners hurried home to establish the new Confederate

Government.  C.C. Clay traveled north to recover from a life threatening 

case of Asthma.


1862 - 1863 - Jefferson Davis offered Clay a Cabinet post, but he had to decline because of his poor health.  He did become a Senator for Alabama in the Confederate Congress.  His bust was placed on the Confederate $1 note in December of 1862.  Over 3 million were printed.


1864  He became a foreign policy advisor to Jefferson Davis.  Jefferson

Davis sent him to Canada as a diplomatic agent.  His main mission became to

open up negotiations with the federal government.


After the war had ended, he returned to the States where he found he was being accused of conspiring to kill Lincoln.  Jefferson Davis and C.C. Clay Jr. surrendered to the Federals in 1865.  They sent both to Fortress Monroe and imprisoned them. 


1866 - After serving for almost a year without a trial, he was finally released thanks to the diligent work of Virginia Clay).


1870 -  In the years following the war times were tough.  Any wealth he had was gone.  He tried to make a living working his plantation (Wildwood).  Jefferson Davis became President of Carolina Life.  He gave C.C. Clay Jr. a position with the insurance company, but it was not a profitable undertaking.  Also tried to establish some law work.


1875 - He had many health problems including Tuberculosis. 


1882 - Died

Rob will add to this timeline as he collects more information.