Clay, Nestor (1799–1835)

By: James L. Hailey

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: August 4, 2020

Nestor Clay, pioneer, son of Thomas and Mary Jane "Polly" (Dawson) Clay, was born on January 6, 1799, in Daviess County, Kentucky. His father was a captain in the Revolutionary War, and Clay was a cousin of Henry Clay of Kentucky. Nestor Clay came to Texas in 1822 as a single man. In 1823 he returned to Kentucky to marry sixteen-year-old Nancy Wilson Johnson; the two returned to Texas in 1824 and settled near Independence, Washington County. Before leaving Kentucky, Clay had been a member of the Kentucky Senate, and he was a representative at the conventions of 1832 and 1833 in Texas. He is not listed among the Old Three Hundred but received a Mexican land grant in Washington County on March 18, 1831. By 1834 he held title to 25,000 acres. The Clays had three children before Nancy died in 1834. Clay died in 1835 from wounds received during an Indian raid on Clay Creek in Milam County. Both he and his wife have been reinterred in Austin's Pioneer Cemetery. Clay's residence, known as Clay Castle, was completed by his brother, Tacitus, in 1836.

Nestor and Tacitus Clay Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Betty Cantrell Plummer, Historic Homes of Washington County (San Marcos, Texas: Rio Fresco, 1971). Worth Stickley Ray, Austin Colony Pioneers (Austin: Jenkins, 1949; 2d ed., Austin: Pemberton, 1970). Gracey Booker Toland, Austin Knew His Athens (San Antonio: Naylor, 1958). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

James L. Hailey, “Clay, Nestor,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 11, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 4, 2020