Susan Jacob Clay married James B. Clay, the son of Henry and Lucretia Clay, in 1843. Susan and James were married for twenty years and had ten children, only five of whom lived to adulthood. Susan was intelligent, well-educated, and from a wealthy Louisville family.
Susan’s intelligence is best recorded in her writing. At times, she served as Henry Clay’s personal secretary. Later in life Susan became an author, writing many articles about the Clay family. Some of her articles about Henry Clay altered his legacy by leaving out difficult subjects like slavery.
Susan and James had the Ashland mansion rebuilt and it was completed by Christmas of 1856. It was Susan’s strength that ensured her family’s survival during its darkest hour: The Civil War. James fled to Montreal, Canada during the war, leaving Susan to care for the estate and their children. A skirmish — or, a small battle — took place at Ashland in 1862.
Susan met the challenges in her life with intelligence, faith, and strength.