Kentucky Clay

Written by Katherine Bateman
Review by Alice Logsdon

When I received this book to review, I expected it to be largely centered on two of Kentucky’s most famous Clays, statesman Henry and his cousin Cassius Marcellus. While both are descendents of John Thomas Claye, a landless second son of noble birth who arrived at Jamestown Colony in the year 1613, this history primarily traces the author’s branch of the family.

The Clay family migrated in stages from the Virginia shores to the heart of Appalachia. They amassed land, farmed tobacco, tamed the wilderness, and raised large families, establishing traditions and patterns of behavior that followed them into the present century.

Bateman digs into family lore not just to verify, but also to more fully understand her own life. She uncovers some hitherto unknown details during her investigation. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself absorbed in the details of this genealogical history.