QUESTION: Who was the famous cousin of the Cassius Marcellus Clay born in the nineteenth century?
A) Cassius Moosellius Clay
B) Henry Clay
C) Jay Clay
D) Frank Clay
Okay. So, this is the American Treasure Tour blog, where we tell stories about pieces in our collection. And now here we are talking about famous men named Cassius Marcellus. What's that all about? There is a method to our madness, although it may prove to be truly insane. Three men from three different times in American history, all shared the same name, although truth be told, the second and third men we will feature here received their names because of the first. His name was Cassius Marcellus Clay.
The Kentucky native was born in 1810 and lived a long life, reaching ninety-two years old. His political life was dominated by a stance extremely unpopular in Kentucky prior to the Civil War: he advocated the abolition of slavery, and he did it loudly and made many enemies in the process. In fact, Clay the politician survived a number of assassination attempts, including a few bullets to the chest by angry supporters of the nefarious institution. Rather than tone down his opposition, the colorful Clay started carrying two guns and a knife for protection. He became ambassador to Russia during the Civil War and convinced the tsar to stick with the Union. After he returned to Kentucky, Clay eventually divorced his wife of 45 years, declaring abandonment as the issue, since she became dissatisfied with his constant adultery, remarrying at the age of 84. His new wife was fourteen years old.
ANSWER: B) Henry Clay. Considered one of the most influential politicians of antebellum America to never quite reach the presidency (along with Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun), Henry Clay was an intriguing character.