Hon. James F. Clay

by Edmund Starling, 1886


HON. JAMES F. CLAY, was born in Henderson, on the twenty-ninth day of October, 1840. His father, James W. Clay, and mother, Clarissa Berry, were among the first settlers of Henderson. Of the early youth of James F. Clay, little can be said, except that he developed an unusual taste for books, a good memory and a decided aptness in acquiring knowledge. He attended the best private schools in Henderson, and had the advantage of strict, moral and intellectual training at the hands of his parents. He was sent to Georgetown College, and graduated in 1860. His uncommon mental strength early distinguished him among his fellows, and, at the same time, attracted to him the attention and friendship of leading citizens, who yet take great pride in his success. Upon his return home from college, he began the study of law in the office of Governor Dixon, and, in 1862, was licensed to practice. Few men of the country have a greater command of language, and the ability to use it with more force as a popular speaker. He is a man of strong convictions; is his own leader, and, as a lawyer, displays great power in the court; is unsurpassed before a jury, and is one of the most thoroughly read, eloquent and able lawyers in the State. Mr. Clay was married in McLean County, Ky., October 29th, 1868, to Miss Bessie Eaves, second daughter of Judge Sanders Eaves. They have seven living children, Maggie, Charles, Leslie, James W., Irene, Addison Young and Sanders. In 1871 he was elected to Congress and served one term. In both of these positions he distinguished himself as a legislator, and won the admiration and esteem of his older colleagues. As an evidence of his ability, during the days of the St. Louis & Southeastern Railway Company, Consolidated, Mr. Clay was the retained attorney for the Company, and since the formation of the Ohio Valley Railway Company, he has been retained attorney for that road. He served four years as attorney for the city, and has held other minor offices.

The History of Henderson County, Kentucky by Starling 1887 page 798-99;

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