The Farmer

This engraving shows Henry Clay in an agrarian setting and was designed to foster his image a as a farmer. It is from a painting by John Wood Dodge.

This engraving shows Henry Clay in an agrarian setting.  It was designed to foster his image as a farmer and is from a painting by John Wood Dodge.

While the world remembers Henry Clay as one of the most significant and effective politicians and statesmen in American history, few realize that he was equally skilled as a progressive agrarian and stockman. It was in this role that Clay was happiest. In the spirit of Washington and Jefferson, Henry Clay embraced the emerging scientific approach to agriculture and animal husbandry in particular, in order to develop his estate, Ashland, into a national model of progressive farming.  At Ashland, Clay introduced jacks from Spain and Malta and Durham short horn cattle from England. He was the first to import Hereford cattle into America. Clay’s vision was to breed the finest animals best suited for his farm, his state, and the country he served so well. While home at Ashland, Clay exchanged the “strife of politics” for a “passion for rural occupations.”  There he was surrounded by well maintained outbuildings, fields of grain and hemp, and a variety of trees, plants and vegetables. His agrarian knowledge was evident in his letters and articles, and he was both judge and award winner at local stock fairs. He sat on the committee of the Kentucky Society for Promoting Agriculture as early as 1819. Clay contributed articles to major farm journals and frequently corresponded with the leading agriculturalists of the day. When traveling in England and Europe, he made a point to observe the latest farming and breeding techniques, always looking for ways to adapt them to his farm.



Meet Henry Clay

Who was the Great Compromiser?

Meet Henry Clay
Explore Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate in Lexington, Kentucky

Explore Ashland

Experience the place Henry Clay declared was "as good as any" Moses would have found in the Promised Land!

Take the Tour!
This bulidng was built at the Ashland estate to house labs and classrooms for mechanical instruction or what now would be called engineering.

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To Educate the Masses: the Kentucky University and Mechanical College at Ashland

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