Rachel Findlay in Alabama? Huntsville History site surfaces intriguing info
In a previous issue of Pieces of Clay, CFS member Mary Richardson wrote of Rachel Findlay, a Native American girl who remained illegally enslaved by Mitchell Clay–Henry Clay’s (1672-1760) grandson–even though her freedom had been granted many years before, unbeknownst to her. She and her descendents went on to win their freedom through various lawsuits. The story is well-documented by Mary Kegley in Indian Slavery and Freedom Suits: The Cases of Rachel Viney and Rachel Findlay, among other publications.
A recent post on the Clay Family Society Facebook page by James Kegley (potentially, but unverified relative of Mary), resurfaced the topic:
“I came across this information a while back about the freedom suit of Rachel Findlay. Interesting that it was recorded in Alabama as proof her daughter was free. Also based on this information the Clays were sued several times by different ancestors of Henry Clay’s Indian slaves. Wondering if anyone has copies of any of these original documents?”
April 25, 2010
Huntsville Historical Collection
CFS member Mary Richardson responded with enthusiasm about this excellent find, indicating no one has known where Rachel ended up after gaining her freedom. You can read more of the conversation on Facebook and may also enjoy digging further into the research of Library of Virginia archivist Robert Young Clay (1936-2010).