Mary Fenwick Lewis Clay

 Her 1842 Letters from Paris are recorded in a book by Nancy Rohr

Born:1825, Huntsville, AL
Died:1898, Huntsville, AL
Buried:Maple Hill Cemetery, Huntsville, AL
Residence:513 Eustis Avenue SE - Her father, John H. Lewis, bought the house on Eustis later known as the Clay house
Daughter of:John H. Lewis
Wife of:John Withers Clay


•  "Nancy Rohr will present 'Southern Womanhood: Myth vs. Reality - The Life of Mary Lewis Clay' at 3 p.m., at the Special Collections and Archives Department of AU's Ralph Brown Draughon Library. The program critiques stereotypical ways Southern women have been portrayed and perceived. By exploring the life of Huntsville native Mary Lewis Clay (1825-1898), Rohr opens the way to a discussion of the lives of American women across many different eras." - Auburn University News

•  Daughter of John Haywood Lewis and Mary Margaret (Betts) Lewis who lived in Connecticut. - Alabama Biography

•  Married John Withers Clay November 11, 1847 at Huntsville - The Clay Family

•  Children: "1. Cara Lisa, d. at the age of five years; 2. Clement Comer, d. at the age of twenty-one years; 3. John Withers, d. at the age of two years; 4. Mary Lewis, d. at the age of forty-seven years; 5. William Lewis, d. at the age of fifty-seven years; 6. Clarence Herbert, d. at the age of two years; 7. Susanna, resides at Huntsville; 8. J., resides at Birmingham; 9. Virginia Clementine, d. at the age of twenty-nine years; 10. Ellen Lewis, d. at the age of one year; 11. Elodie, resides at Huntsville." - Alabama Biography

•  Educated in Paris.

•  Leah Rawls Atkins of Auburn University says of Nancy Rohr's book, "Mary Fenwick Lewis was seventeen years old when she left Huntsville, Alabama, in 1842 and traveled to Paris, France, 'to finish' her education. Her mother insisted that Mary write long letters home so in later years they might renew her memories of her time in France. Mrs. Lewis also wanted to know everything that was happening in her daughter's life so the family in north Alabama might live her trip vicariously Mary writes in great detail about Paris and the French countryside she visited, and her family responds with newsy letters about her friends and relatives and events taking place in Huntsville. These letters offer a delightful peek at a mid-nineteenth century Alabama family and provide historical information about north Alabama in the 1840s. Nancy M. Rohr has done a sound job of editing, and the book is complemented with numerous family and historical photographs, essays about the family before and after the letters were written, and genealogical charts to help keep everyone straight. Scholars have known about and used these letters for some time, but publication will enable a larger audience to know Mary Lewis. This work will place a significant Alabama primary source easily at hand, one that high school teachers and college professors alike may mine for special assignments for their students. These letters should interest the general public as well, especially those fond of Huntsville history and Alabamiana." - Alabama School Girl

•  Tombstone reads: " Eldest daughter of John H. and Mary M. Lewis and beloved wife of John Withers Clay." "Her children arise up and call her blessed." - Find a Grave

Related Links:

•  Alabama Biography - History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume 3 by Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen, © 1921, p. 343.

•  Alabama School Girl - An Alabama School Girl in Paris, 1842-1844: The Letters of Mary Fenwick Lewis and Her Family, by Nancy M. Rohr. Silver Threads Publishing, Huntsville, AL, © 2001.

•  Find a Grave - Created by Jason Presley, Feb. 27, 2004

•  Flickr - Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll photo by oldsoutvideo, October 21, 2010

•  The Clay Family - The Clay Family, by Zachariah Frederick Smith, Mary Katherine (Rogers) Clay, Mary Rogers Clay, © 1899, p. 130.

•  Auburn University News - Annoucement of a lecture at Auburn (Originally found at Annoucement of a lecture in Auburn.)

The Following Pages Link to this Page:
•  513 Eustis Avenue SE
•  Alabama Biography
•  Alabama School Girl
•  John H. Lewis
•  John Withers Clay