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Clay County, Alabama facts for kids

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Clay County
Clay County Courthouse in Ashland
Clay County Courthouse in Ashland
Map of Alabama highlighting Clay County
Location within the U.S. state of Alabama
Map of the United States highlighting Alabama
Alabama's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Alabama
Founded December 7, 1866
Named for Henry Clay
Seat Ashland
Largest city Lineville
 • Total 606 sq mi (1,570 km2)
 • Land 604 sq mi (1,560 km2)
 • Water 2.0 sq mi (5 km2)  0.3%
 • Total 14,236
 • Estimate 
14,190 Decrease
 • Density 23.492/sq mi (9.070/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 3rd
  • County Number 17 on Alabama Licence Plates

Clay County is a county in the east central part of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2020 census the population was 14,236. Its county seat is Ashland. Its name is in honor of Henry Clay, famous American statesman, member of the United States Senate from Kentucky and United States Secretary of State in the 19th century. It was the last dry county in Alabama with no wet cities within its boundaries, until a vote on March 1, 2016, approved the sale of alcohol in Lineville and Ashland.


Clay County was established on December 7, 1866 from land taken from Randolph and Talladega counties. Named after the famous statesman Henry Clay, the county seat itself was named after his estate in Lexington, Kentucky called "Ashland". The county was covered with a heavy growth of trees, and a part of the territory was occupied by the Creek Indians. The early pioneers acquired the lands by government entry, and the Indian lands by public auction. The families came wholly from Fayette County, Georgia. Clay County was formed for geographic reasons. The citizens of the area had a difficult time reaching the county seat of Wedowee in Randolph County because of the Tallapoosa River to the east. Talladega was difficult to reach because of the intervening mountains. Even today, Clay County is one of only three counties in Alabama to have no U.S. highways in its boundaries. Ashland was a mining center, particularly for graphite.

During the Desert Shield/Storm conflict, Clay County had more soldiers serving per capita than any other county in the United States.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 606 square miles (1,570 km2), of which 604 square miles (1,560 km2) is land and 2.0 square miles (5.2 km2) (0.3%) is water.

Adjacent counties

National protected area

  • Talladega National Forest (part)


Major highways

  • Alabama 9.svg State Route 9
  • Alabama 48.svg State Route 48
  • Alabama 49.svg State Route 49
  • Alabama 77.svg State Route 77
  • Alabama 148.svg State Route 148
  • Alabama 281.svg State Route 281



Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 9,560
1880 12,938 35.3%
1890 15,765 21.9%
1900 17,099 8.5%
1910 21,006 22.8%
1920 22,645 7.8%
1930 17,768 −21.5%
1940 16,907 −4.8%
1950 13,929 −17.6%
1960 12,400 −11.0%
1970 12,636 1.9%
1980 13,703 8.4%
1990 13,252 −3.3%
2000 14,254 7.6%
2010 13,932 −2.3%
2020 14,236 2.2%
2021 (est.) 14,190 1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2020

2020 census

Clay County racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 11,261 79.1%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 1,942 13.64%
Native American 45 0.32%
Asian 46 0.32%
Pacific Islander 4 0.03%
Other/Mixed 489 3.43%
Hispanic or Latino 449 3.15%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 14,236 people, 5,198 households, and 3,704 families residing in the county.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 13,932 people, 5,670 households, and 3,978 families residing in the county. The population density was 23 people per square mile (9/km2). There were 6,776 housing units at an average density of 11 per square mile (4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 81.7% White (non-Hispanic), 14.8% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 1.2% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. 2.9% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.




Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Places of interest

Clay County is home to parts of Cheaha State Park in the Talladega National Forest and Lake Wedowee on the eastern boundary. Outdoor adventures abound in Clay County and the surrounding area. The Pinhoti Trail system weaves its way through the Talladega National Forest to Mt. Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama. Hikers along the trail may spy some of the local wildlife, including whitetail deer, wild turkey, and the rare bald eagle.

Home of Doc Hilt Trails for Off-Highway Vehicles. On May 5, 2010, Doc Hilt Trails was awarded the distinction of being a National Recreation Trail. One of only two private motorized parks in the nation to ever be awarded the NRT designation.

Clay County has two sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Hugo Black House (destroyed, but still listed) and the Clay County Courthouse.

Notable people

  • Hugo Black (1886–1971), born in Harlan, served as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1937 until 1971
  • Barney Lee Whatley (1885–1979), born on Idaho Rd, best friend and law partner of Hugo Black. Became a prominent Colorado attorney.
  • LaFayette L. Patterson (1888–1987), born near Delta, served three terms in the U.S. Congress from 1928 to 1933
  • Byron Lavoy Cockrell (1935–2007), born in Lineville, rocket scientist and engineer
  • Kenneth F. Ingram (1929-2014), born in Ashland, Judge Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. Justice Alabama Supreme Court.
  • Bob Riley (b. 1944), U.S. Congressman and Alabama's 52nd governor, native of Ashland
  • Major General Flem Bowen Donnie Walker Jr. (b. 1964), Deputy Commanding General, US Army Central Command, native of Lineville

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Clay (Alabama) para niños

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