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First Name: Henry

Last Name: Clay

Birthplace: Lexington, KY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Date of Birth: 10 April 1811

Date of Death: 22 February 1847

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Years Served:
Henry Clay, Jr.

•  Mexican-American Wars (1846 - 1848)


Henry Clay, Jr.
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army

Henry Clay, Jr. was born on 10 April 1811 to Henry and Lucretia Hart Clay on his family's estate, Ashland, in Lexington, KY. Henry Jr. was the older brother of James Brown Clay and John Morrison Clay, the only sons surviving at the time of their father's death. He had six sisters and all of them died before their father.

After graduating from Transylvania University in 1828, Clay gained an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY. He graduated in June 1831 but resigned his commission in November 1831. Returning to Kentucky, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1833.

After starting his law career, in 1835 Clay was elected as a member of the Kentucky State House of Representatives, serving a two-year term to 1837.

Mexican-American War

When the Mexican-American War threatened, Clay raised a regiment, the 2nd Kentucky Volunteers. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel and led his regiment in support of Zachary Taylor's invasion force in 1846.

Clay was killed in action while leading a charge of his regiment in the Battle of Buena Vista on 23 February 1847.


Clay County, IA, is named in his honor.


In 1832, Henry Clay, Jr. married Julia Prather (1814-1840), with whom he had five children.

Their daughter Anne Brown Clay (1837-1917) married Major Henry Clay McDowell (1832-1899). In 1883, they purchased her grandfather's Ashland estate from other heirs. Their son, Thomas Clay McDowell, was a major figure in Thoroughbred horse racing in Kentucky. He was a breeder, owner, and horse trainer, who won the 1902 Kentucky Derby with Alan-a-Dale.

Death and Burial

Lieutenant Colonel Henry Clay, Jr. was killed in action on 22 February 1847 in Buena Vista, Mexico. His remains were initially interred in Mexico but were later brought back to Kentucky, where they lie with other casualties of the battle around the Kentucky War Memorial in Frankfort Cemetery.

Honoree ID: 2348   Created by: MHOH




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