Kentucky Clay

Kentucky Clay
Kentucky Clay

Kentucky Clay

Eleven Generations of a Southern Dynasty
By Katherine R. Bateman


256 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, PDF, Mobipocket, EPUB

Cloth, $24.95 (US $24.95) (CA $27.95)

ISBN 9781556527951

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Nov 2008)


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A lively exploration of both family and country from a Clay daughter's perspective
This sweeping history traces eleven generations of the Clays of Kentucky, a founding American family and Southern dynasty whose members include Henry Clay, who ran for president against James K. Polk; his cousin Cassius Marcellus Clay, a prominent abolitionist and Lincoln’s advisor against slavery; and matriarch Kizzie Clay, who buried the family silver and escaped by flatboat to avoid marauding Union soldiers. The history of the early colonial period comes to life, beginning with the arrival of the Clay family in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1613 and the Cecil family in St. Mary’s, Maryland, in 1634, continuing through their trek across Virginia to the Appalachian Mountains, leading to the families’ eventual intermarriage in 1800 and their move across the mountains to Kentucky and beyond. Drawing from original sources such as Civil War records, land deeds, wills, and letters, and through her own dogged detective work and determination to separate reality from exaggeration to understand the complex legacy she has inherited, Katherine Bateman reveals the adventures, accomplishments, and shortcomings of the men in her family, alongside the deep-rooted stories and nontraditional roles of its strong, sometimes selfish, and proud women.


"With wit and candor, Bateman reveals her lifelong struggle to avoid the disturbing patterns of [her family's colorful] legacy, while mining the emotional gifts passed on to her." —Nancy Horan, author, Loving Frank

"With storytelling skill, historical research, and a questioning imagination, Katherine Bateman follows her family's odyssey in America since the seventeenth century." —Jean B. Lee, professor of history, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"This riveting book is at once a journey into centuries of the American past and a deeply personal family saga, coupling the author’s meticulous historical research with her passionate curiosity and vivid imagination." —Ronne Hartfield, author, Another Way Home: The Tangled Roots of Race in One Chicago Family

"A most readable family history." —The Decatur Daily

"Beautifully printed and well-illustrated." —

"A rich narrative." —Blue Ridge Country

"Sweeping…well-researched." —Southern Seasons

"Fascinating . . . deeply felt and deeply personal." —California Literary Review

Author Biography

Katherine Bateman is the author of The Young Investor. She is a former professor of art history at both Berea College in Kentucky and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives in Oak Park, Illinois.