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John Thomas Clay VI (1587 - 1655)

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Capt John Thomas [uncertain] Clay VI [uncertain]
Born in Monmouthshire, Wales, Englandmap [uncertain]
Ancestors ancestors
Son of [uncertain] and [uncertain]
Brother of and
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married before in London, London, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Charles City, Charles County Virginiamap
Clay-10 created 6 Aug 2010 | Last modified | Last edit: 8 Sep 2017
15:00: Betty Tindle removed Stephen Michael as manager for profile of John Clay VI. [Thank Betty for this]
This page has been accessed 5,878 times.

Categories: Ancient Planter of Virginia | Jamestown, Virginia | US Southern Colonist.

US Southern Colonies.
John Clay VI settled in the Southern Colonies in North America prior to incorporation into the USA.
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John Thomas Clay was born about 1587/88 in Monmouth, Wales. He died Apr. 7, 1655 - 60 in Charles City, Virginia.[1] He was known as Captain John Clay, "the English Grenadier" (hired soldier in the King's army) .John was the earliest American ancestor of the Clay family to come to Virginia. [2]

Disputed Parents

John Clay is said to have been the son of Sir John Thomas Clay and Mary Ann (Carlton) Clay. This however, is speculative and to date not supported by any provable facts. Very little is actually known of John Clay prior to his immigration in 1613. Circumstantial evidence indicates he may have been an English soldier aboard the "Treasurer" but this is also unproved as are his parents. Refer to John Clay - Fact and Fiction an address to the Jamestowne Society, May 6, 1995 by the late Robert Young Clay, (4 September 1936-6 May 2010) a Clay descendant, also a renowned Clay researcher and speaker, Archivist for the Library of Virginia, and artist.


John Clay, an ancient planter, came to Virginia in 1613 and his wife Ann in 1623. He patented lands in 1635 on Ward's creek, in what is now Prince George county. [3]

He arrived in Jamestown with his two younger brothers in the 'TREASURER", Feb of 1613 according to the muster on the 'Treasurer'. [4] The Treasurer, sent to protect the settlers in Jamestowne, was commanded and partially owned by Samuel Argall, who was a brother of Elizabeth Argall Filmer, ancestress of Martha & Lucy Green Clay (wife of Henry Clay 1711-1764). [5]

Ancient Planter

It is stated in his muster that he (John Clay) was a planter before the government of Sir Thomas Dale. [6] [7] He paid for the importation of 32 people on the good ship 'West' which arrived July 13, 1635 for which he was granted 1200 acres of land 13 July 1675 at the head of Wards Creek.


John married (1st) Anne. Some have said her maiden name was Nichols, however all that is known for certain is that her given name was Anne.

John had married before leaving England and left his wife Anne behind. She arrived on the 'ANN", August 1623. [8] [9] In 1624 they were living in Charles City, Virginia, along the banks of the James River where John had been granted 1200 acres in the County, beginning at the lands granted by order of Court to Francis Hooke, up to the head of Wards, his creek, and bounded on the north by the James River. Due 100 acres to him as an old planter before the government of Sir Thomas Dale, and the other 1100 for the transportation of 21 persons by the "west"., July 13, 1635. These lands granted John were near the present City Point, only a few miles from what is now Chesterfield County, and no other settler of the name is mentioned in any record in this section. [10]

After Anne died about 1645, John married (2nd) Elizabeth. Her maiden name is said to be Frame, however this is not certain. (Note: John Clay descendant, David Douglas, has YDNA and auDNA matches with several testers bearing the Frame surname.)


  1. Thomas Clay [11]
  2. Francis Clay [12]
  3. William Clay [13]
  4. Anne Clay, b, abt. 1610, m John Frame (1608-1655)
  5. John Clay, b abt. 1624
  6. Charles Clay, b abt. 1638 [14]

Uncertain Children

The list of children for John Clay was compiled from several sources and it may contain errors. It is based on the work of many researchers of the Clay Family and has been reproduced in many online Clay family trees. Additionally, there are several published books and articles along with the dozens of online accounts of the children of John Clay. Each one seems to contain different and sometimes confusing accounts or listings of his children. Where they do seem to agree most often is on WIlliam and John, who are found in the colonial property records of Virginia, each having land nearby their father. [15] We will examine these different accounts, try to determine the verifiable facts, and discover if possible, the sources of this information, and finally attempt to separate fact from error. Each of the listed children of John Clay will be examined with the hope of proving or disproving their parent/child relationship through the discovery and presentation of supporting documentation and solid evidence. Given that primary evidence may be scarce or no longer exist we may be left to examine the circumstantial evidence and "leap of faith" that led researchers to make their conclusion. After examination of the logic and validity of such conclusions it will be left to the reader to draw their own conclusions as to accuracy.

The late Reverend Stephen O. Southall, a genealogist with 50 years of research into colonial Virginia records in his "Notes on the Clay Family", in regards to the children of John Clay, the immigrant wrote :

"In her excellent book entitled The Clay Family (Filson Club. Publications No. 14. Louisville, Kentucky, 1899) Mrs. Mary Rogers Clay states (pages 65-66) that John Clay, the emigrant, had four (4) sons, naming as two (2) of them Francis Clay of Northumberland county and Thomas Clay, one of the fourteen persons "who did unlawfully assemble at ye p’ish church of Lawnes Creek [Surry County] with intent to declare they would not pay their publiq taxes…"
"This is certainly an error and as I was partly the cause of the error, I wish to correct it, and give as far as I can, the true history, though the facts are meagre. When Mrs. Clay asked me for the names of the Clays in Virginia, I gave her the names of Francis Clay and Thomas Clay; but failed to tell her that they were not descended from John Clay, the emigrant".

This statement from the Reverend Stephen O. Southall indicates that Francis and Thomas Clay were mistakenly identified as sons of John Clay, the immigrant. The work of Mrs Mary Rogers Clay, "The Clay Family" was published in 1899 and for more than 100 years has been cited as a primary reference regarding Capt John Clay and his descendants. [16] [17]

From her book, "The Clay Family" we read the following regarding the children of John Clay, the Immigrant :

"The children of Captain John and Ann Clay, so far as known, were :
I. Francis Clay, whose name appears on the records of Northumberland County, Virginia, from October 19, 1652, in the grants of lands, until June 8, 1658, and in Westmoreland County on May 21, 1666.
II.William Clay. In 1655 William Bayley had a patent for four hundred acres of land on Ward's Creek, purchased of William Clay, son of John Clay, assignee of Francis Hooke, patentee of 1637.
III. Thomas Clay, one of fourteen persons "who did unlawfully Assemble at ye pish church o Lawnes Creeke, with Intent to declare they would not pay theire publiq taxes, & yt they expected diverse others to meet them. ( Surry Co., 3rd J any Ao. Dom. 1673.)" (William and Mary Quarterly Magazine.) 2.
IV. Charles Clay, born 1638, died 1686 (intestate). He married Hannah Wilson, daughter of John Wilson, senior, of Henrico County, Virginia, and states in Court, April, 1686, that he has received his wife's part of her father's estate. ( 1688- 1697, page 360.)"

We have already learned that Francis Clay and Thomas Clay were included in this 1899 genealogy as children of John Clay by Mrs Clay based on statements made by Reverend Stephen O. Southall, an error which he later corrected. We could examine this question in depth with a further exploration of primary records, however since we know the source of the misinformation, and that the author of that information published a correction of the erroneous application of that information we will accept his correction as sufficient evidence that Francis Clay and Thomas Clay were not the sons of John Clay, the Immigrant.

This leaves us with William, John, Charles and Anne as possible children. We will look at Anne first. This is what we find. John FRAME A militia Captain who came to Va in 1622 Emigrates to Virginia in 1622 (Book I) on the ship Southampton, indentured to Captain John Harvey. He was born in 1607/8 at England. He married Ann Clay ? in 1629/30. He married Mary LAWRENCE (2257) in 1653/54. He died on Dec 17, 1655 at Charles City Co., Va. Ann Clay ? was born in 1610. She married John FRAME , son of John FRAME , in 1629/30. She died in 1649/50 at Charles City Co., Va. [18] This comes from an unsourced ancestor table. It is noted that Ann Clay is not found in the work of Mrs Mary Rogers Clay as a child of John Clay. There is a John Frame mentioned in several land transactions in Charles County. He evidently lived near John Clay (possibly John Clay Jr). The record states, August 23, 1643, John Wall patented 1790 acres on Chippoakes Creek, between John Hooke and William Pilkington, adjacent John Clay and John Freme. One William Bailey patented 400 acres of land in Charles City, May 1, 1655, "part of a dividend of 200 acres granted Captain Francis Hooke, 26, October 1637 and assigned to John Clay and John Freme and by inheritance descended unto William Clay son of said John and by William Bailey purchased of said William Clay, the younger." It seems safe to say that since there was a William Clay, the younger, there would be an older William Clay. This would seem to support the existence of both sons, John and William Clay. Captain John Frame is indicated in genealogical histories and family trees as having married twice, first to an Anne, her maiden name, which is usually given as Clay is unproved and not known. [19] .

There is some evidence that Charles Clay, b 1638 may be the grandson of John Clay, the Immigrant. At least one Clay researcher believes that Charles Clay was the son of John Clay, son of John Clay, the Immigrant. [20] This is being researched further.

Notable Descendants

Sen Henry Clay (1777-1852), 7th Speaker of the US House of Representatives
Gov Clement Comer Clay (1789-1866), Governor of Alabama
Dr Charles Clay (1638-1686), Participant in Bacon's Rebellion, early Charles City Physician.

DNA Matches

  • There is 8 segment auDNA match for a total segment size of 47.4 cM between kit T824570 (David Douglas) GEDCOM ID:1537834 and kit T783064 (*Ross) GEDCOM ID:6638451


  1. Edmund West, comp.. Family Data Collection - Deaths [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2001.
  2. "Some Notes on the Clay Family", The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography,Vol. 52, No. 1 (Jan., 1944), pp. 59-62, Pub., Virginia Historical Society
  3. Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, page 212
  4. U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s,p 67. [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc, 2010. Original data: Filby, P. William, ed. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s. Farmington Hills, MI, USA: Gale Research, 2012.<>
  5. The First Republic in America" by Alexander Brown, pg 282
  6. Kinard, June. comp., Early Immigrants to Virginia from the 1500s and 1600s [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000. Original data Published by The Researchers, PO box 39063, Indianapolis IN. 46239-0063. < >
  7. Hotten book 8a from the Musters of the Inhabitants in Virginia 1624/1625 chapters, pages 201 thru 265, which list the muster captain, and what ship the individual arrived on
  8. John Camden Hotten: London, 1874. Reprint by Empire State Book Co., New York.
  9. THE CENSUS OF VIRGINIA IN 1624; Ann Claye, wife of John Claye
  10. Richmond Critic, 1888
  11. "The Clay Family" (Filson Club. Publications No. 14. Louisville, Kentucky, 1899) Mrs. Mary Rogers Clay
  12. Ibid
  13. Ibid
  14. Ibid
  15. John Clay & Elizabeth
  16. "The Clay Family" (Filson Club. Publications No. 14. Louisville, Kentucky, 1899) Mrs. Mary Rogers Clay
  17. Genealogy of VA Families VII 1981,Some Notes on the Clay Family p 77-80,Contributed by the late Reverend Stephen O. Southall
  18. Ahnentafel of Eva Virginia JUSTIS (1806)
  20. Genealogy of VA Families VII 1981, Some Notes on the Clay Family p 77-80, Contributed by the late Reverend Stephen O. Southall

See also:

  • Charles City County court orders, 1655-1658 [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Operations Inc, 2004.
  • Charles City County court orders, 1655-1658. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1961.
  • Clay Family Source Information Colonial Families of the United States of America, Volume V [database on-line].
  • Ancestor Lineages of Members Texas Society/National Society Colonial Dames Seventeenth Century [database on-line].
  • Lineage of Members Source Information Lineages of Members of the National Society of Sons and Daughters of the Pilgrims, Vol. III [database on-line].
  • Abstracts of Land Patents - Charles City County
  • Foley, Louise Pledge Heath. Early Virginia Families Along the James River: Their Deep and Tangled Branches. Volume II (Charles City County-Prince George County, Virginia). Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2002.

See (User gen):


  • This person was created on 06 August 2010 through the import of Lynch-Tree.ged.
  • Thank you to Teresa Abram for creating Clay-1180 on 20 Oct 13.
  • WikiTree profile Clay-710 created through the import of Cato Family Tree_book_EN.ged on Sep 21, 2011 by Linda Cato.
  • WikiTree profile Clay-908 created through the import of Ehrbar Family Tree.ged on Oct 9, 2012 by Jeffery Owens.
  • WikiTree profile Clay-591 created through the import of Travis Family Tree.ged on Jun 22, 2011 by Roger Travis.
  • This person was created through the import of LaBach Family TreeApril28_2011.ged on 05 May 2011.
  • Thank you to Linda Justice for creating WikiTree profile Clay-1022 through the import of Justice Family Tree.ged on Apr 30, 2013. C
  • information entered by Betty Tindle, Wednesday, January 22, 2014.
  • Clay-1464 was created by John Floyd through the import of James-W-Justice-ancestors.ged on Aug 30, 2014.

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No known carriers of John's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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Images: 1
John Clay News Article
John Clay News Article


On 12 May 2017 at 06:39 GMT David Douglass wrote:

Re: There are two John Thomas clay born 1480 needs merged]

Did you propose a merge ?

John Clay is an important ancestor and early Jamestown immigrant. Let's work together to make his profile as accurate as possible :)

On 12 May 2017 at 06:33 GMT David Douglass wrote:

Is that family tree evidence for a middle name of Thomas ? Note the sources listed. With the exception of an immigration list in which he is named as John Clay, the other sources are a millenium file and family tree both from Unfortunately there is no solid proof there. What we need is a birth or christening record or another primary record from a reliable source that shows his name as John Thomas. His birth place and parents are also in question as no solid sources have been found as yet. Little is known of his life prior to immigration. It is thought that he came over as a paid soldier but that is not certain as well. By the way, John Clay is also my 9th great grandfather as well. I have an interest as you do as well, in seeing that the information in his profile is accurate as possible. Don't you agree ?

On 12 May 2017 at 06:26 GMT Andrea (Stawski) Pack wrote:

There are two John Thomas clay born 1480 needs merged

On 12 May 2017 at 06:15 GMT Andrea (Stawski) Pack wrote:

On 15 Jul 2016 at 02:46 GMT Andrea (Stawski) Pack wrote:

Clay-2164 and Clay-10 appear to represent the same person because: CLEAR DUPLICATE

On 12 Aug 2015 at 17:59 GMT David Douglass wrote:

Cleaned up profile and sources. Corrected some HTML coding errors. Bio needs additional development.

On 4 Jul 2015 at 16:36 GMT William Foster Jr wrote:

Clay-1829 and Clay-10 appear to represent the same person because: Same child, matching dates of birth/death.

On 18 Jan 2015 at 02:32 GMT John Floyd wrote:

Cleaned up the Biography/profile/apperance and removed any duplicate sources for John Clay. Please review and edit if necessary.

On 7 Dec 2014 at 14:47 GMT John Floyd wrote:

Clay-10 and Clay-1464 appear to represent the same person because: Appear to be the same person, because they have the same birth and death date and other vital information look the same.

John is 17 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 25 degrees from Jacob Bernoulli, 18 degrees from Susie MacLeod and 15 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II Windsor on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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