Jones logo
D. A. Clay
Born March 10, 1843

D. A. Clay, one of the representative farmers of Hale township, is an Englishman by birth and an excellent exponent of the best characteristics of his country. He was born in County Essex, England, March 10, 1843, a son of George and Argentine Clay. When he was about eleven months old the parents moved to London, making it their home until 1856, when the family came to Tama county, Iowa, setting sail from the London dock ' the day the treaty of Nance was signed. Mr. Clay remembers well the decorations of the ships in the harbor on that occasion. They came on a sailing vessel, the Devonshire, the trip consuming six weeks and three days, and they landed in New York city. From there they came by rail as far as Iowa City and thence by team to Tama county. This continued the family home until the Pike's Peak excitement, when they removed to Cedar county, and there lived until 1864. In the meanwhile John Clay entered Company B, Twenty-fourth Iowa Volunteer Infantry in 1862, and a year later his brother D. A. Clay, our subject, enlisted in the same company. The former served three years and the latter twenty months. Mr. Clay was with the Red River expedition, and participated in several engagements, being sent later to the Shenandoah valley. The regiment then joined Sherman's army at Savannah, Georgia. Owing to his state of health, having spent three months in the hospital, Mr. Clay was sent by boat to New York city on his way to the Shenandoah valley, and was there three weeks before the order came for big removal to the front,
Returning to his father's home, Mr. Clay found the family located in Hale township, Jones county, to which place they bad removed while the two young men were serving their country. This continued his residence until the spring of 1909, when he rented his farm and removed into the village of Hale.
Mr. Clay is one of a family of seven children, namely: John and William, who are deceased; D. A.; Joseph, who lives at Sioux City, Iowa; Eliza, who married Uriah Switzer and died in 1906; and George, who lives in Rome township. Mr. Clay had an elder brother by the name of George, who served in the Crimean war and died afterward in the West Indies. George Clay, the father, died in Hale township when seventy-four years old. His wife died there at the age of seventy years. By trade he was a blacksmith and in England made a practice of shoeing stage horses on a route running into London, but farmed after coming here.
On January 1, 1867, D. A. Clay married Lovisa M. Root, who was born in Connecticut, December 23, 1847. Her parents, Ozias and Emily Root, moved to Ohio while she was still young and from there came on to Iowa by ox-team, entering land in Hale township at one dollar and a quarter per acre. Ten years later they went to Nebraska, entering a homestead, and there both died. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Clay are as follows: Emma, the wife of M. P. Smith, of Marion; Josephine, the wife of Edwin Sawyer, of Cedar Rapids; Ida, the wife of James Ballou, of Clarence; Orin E., a resident of Spokane, Washington; David O., who lives at Hartley, Iowa; Lydia, the wife of Wilbur Fowlie, of Stanwood; Bertha, the wife of Louis Patton, of Yorkshire, Iowa; and Leona, at home. Two other children died in infancy.
Mr. Clay has been very successful in his work, now owning three hundred acres of land, two hundred and twenty acres being in the home farm on sections 15 and 14 and eighty acres on section 16, Hale township. For years he carried on general farming and stock raising. He began farming with sixty acres and had to grub the land before he could put it under cultivation, the timber was so heavy on it. In politics he is a republican, casting his first vote for Abraham Lincoln while in the army. Mr. Clay has been road supervisor and township trustee for twelve years, and for eight years was a member of the county board of supervisors. A member of the Free Will Baptist church, he has always been prominent in its good work and is now one of its trustees and has held that position for many years. Ben Paul Post, No. 130, G.A.R., of Wyoming, claims him as one of its enthusiastic supporters, and he also belongs to the American Patriots of Wyoming. Many years have passed since this sturdy English-born man responded to the call of his adopted country and entered its service to fight for the Union, and yet the memory of those thrilling days remain with him as vividly as ever. As a private citizen he has displayed that same loyalty to law and order which characterized his action on the battlefield, and his industry and thrift have been richly rewarded not only by material advancement but by the gaining of warm personal friends and the respect and confidence of the community where he is such a well known person.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 367.


© Copyright 1997-2013, The Art Department, © Copyright 2014-2020, Richard Harrison.
Last updated on Friday, 16-Apr-2021 16:53:23 MST