Guide Kentucky Clay: Eleven Generations of a Southern Dynasty

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Eleven Generations of a Southern Dynasty. Polk; his cousin, Cassius Marcellus Clay, prominent abolitionist and Lincoln's advisor against slavery; and the matriarch Kizzie Clay, who buried the family silver and escaped by flatboat to avoid marauding Union soldiers. The history of the early colonial period in America comes to life through this well-researched family saga that heralds the adventures and accomplishments of the men in the family, as well as reveals the stories and nontraditional roles of the strong, selfish, and headstrong women. Add one to cart. Buy licenses to share.

The history of the early colonial period comes to life, beginning with the arrival of the Clay family in Jamestown, Virginia, in and the Cecil family in St. 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.

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Kentucky Clay

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This book is not yet featured on Listopia. May 24, Zack McCullough rated it really liked it. This book was good for what it was. If you are a relative of this family line or have some connection or interest in the Clay or Cecil familes, this is a well researched book that provides quite a bit of information on each generation and it's people. However, if you are interested in the larger history surrounding this family, you'll need to look elsewhere.

I personally found the personal nature of the stories rather uninteresting and mundane and kept wanting to know more about the events that This book was good for what it was. I personally found the personal nature of the stories rather uninteresting and mundane and kept wanting to know more about the events that drove these people to act the way they did.

The author, Katherine Bateman, spends quite a bit of time describing rather bland topics again, to me such as facial features and the physical appearance of her ancestors, the interior of houses owned by previous generations of Kentuckians, and the landscape of Virginia and Kentucky.

Kentucky Clay: Eleven Generations of a Southern Dynasty

The second half of the book becomes even more introspective. It feels as if the story is isolated from what's going on in the world, maybe that's intentional.


  1. Procès des grands criminels de guerre devant le Tribunal militaire international de Nuremberg, Tome 5: Débats, 9 janvier 1946 - 21 janvier 1946 (French Edition).
  2. Book Review: Kentucky Clay by Katherine Bateman!
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Depending on what you are looking for, this book might suit your needs or be interesting, but only with a narrow focus. Jan 15, Anna Ligtenberg rated it really liked it. The surprising fact that I found a relative that might tie my family to the Clay tree was a bonus.


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  • Those readers who have read family stories like this one, based on both family legends and historical research, will know that most of those books fit the description of "love letter to family and history". Kentucky Clay does not, however, fit that mold. Katherine Bateman has been told family stories all of her life. Years ago, the author left Kentucky and the family stories behind; now she's returned to revisit both, beginning with John Thomas Claye in The family stories can be - and are, in Bateman's hands - reinforced or disproven to a degree by records of the time.

    The story takes an unusual turn, genealogically speaking, in , when Rebecca Cecil married William Clay. Usually, genealogy is male-dominated, by virtue of the fact that men keep their surnames, own property and, at one time, were the only actual names on census rolls, and are therefore easier to trace. The Clay family story becomes female-dominated, thanks to Rebecca Cecil's influence and the certainty she has, and that she passes down, that the women of the family are strong.

    Following her family from to the present day, the author comes to realize that, by sheer luck and somewhat against her will, she's found her way home to Kentucky land that one of ancestors had owned, long ago. What you get out of this book will depend, in a big way, on what you expect of it. Genealogically speaking, if you have a family tie to the Clays, the book is something you'll want to add to your collection.

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    The story here is limited to a specific line and expecting the author to go off in various directions is going to lead to disappointment. For example, although there is as a genealogist, lacking evidence, I say "might be" Native American blood in the family, it's a different branch of the tree than the one the book is about. Expecting one hundred percent accuracy is equally silly - the basis of most of the book is family stories and, if you've ever tried to verify your own family stories, you realize that's nearly impossible.

    On the other hand, the description I started with, of a "love letter to family and history"? Really, not even close. In genealogy, an honest and fair look at your family can be difficult - no one really wants to find criminals lurking in the tree, for example - but there's a line between acknowledging reality and airing your family's dirty laundry and the author seems to have had a hard time recognizing it.