Rob Henshaw prepared this timeline for a presentation he does every
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
1839 - Graduated from the University if Virginia with a Law
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
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
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