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Preserve the Pensions

The Pension Records from the War of 1812 are among the most requested documents at the National Archives. Unfortunately, these fragile documents are in urgent need of digitization. In support of this monumental task of digitizing 7.2 million pages, Ancestry.com has provided a dollar for dollar matching grant, so every dollar you contribute will make four more pages accessible and free for everyone. Click here to donate or learn more.

Battle of Perryville

On this day 152 years ago our ancestors took part on both sides of the Battle of Perryville in Kentucky in the American Civil War. Over twenty percent of those engaged in the battle were either killed, wounded, or went missing, making it one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

On the Union side was James H. Claybourn, William P. Claybourn, Joe Boggs, and Jasper B. Scott, each with Company H of the 80th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

Fighting with Confederates against them was Pleasant T. Claiborne. Although Pleasant and his father John opposed secession, Pleasant had been conscripted into Confederate service against his will. In fact, Union soldier Jasper Scott was Pleasant’s brother-in-law, married to his sister Millie Claiborne. Not long after the battle Pleasant was captured and taken prisoner. Given the deplorable conditions for prisoners on both sides, those captured often died of disease, malnutrition, and abuse. Such was the case for Pleasant who died on January 9, 1863. He is buried at the Soldiers’ Rest C.S.A. Cemetery in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

One great irony is that had any of Pleasant’s Confederate compatriots succeeded in killing James, the family’s genealogical information might never have been compiled. Thus, Pleasant would have survived the battle, but most historical evidence of his very existence would have died.

The Union victory at Perryville marked a turning point in the War. Confederate forces retreated into Tennessee, and Kentucky remained in Union possession for the remainder of the War. Just as important, the victory stalled Europeans from recognizing the Confederacy and rejuvenated Northerners enough to continue supporting the War in the 1862 elections.

Highslide JS Highslide JS Highslide JS
James Harrison Claybourn
(1843-1920)
William P. Claybourn’s
headstone in Butte, Montana
Pleasant Claiborne’s headstone with erroneous spelling
501(c)(3) Status

The Claybourn Genealogical Society has received confirmation that it is exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Click here (pdf) for the IRS notice. As a result, all donations to CGS are tax deductible. Click here for more information about donating and membership.

Feagley Family

Some members of the Claybourn family trace their roots to the Feagley family. Peter Feagley was born in 1728 in England. If oral tradition and some independent research is correct, Peter eventually made his way to Salt Lick, Kentucky and was killed and scalped there by Native Americans in September of 1774. Assuming this account is true, Peter would have been one of Kentucky’s very first prioneers. Conflict between pioneer colonists and Native Americans was high at the time and it is possible that Peter’s death can be attributed to this.

One of Peter’s sons, John Feagley, was born in 1747 in Rowan, North Carolina. Evidence exists that he served in the American Revolutionary War, which lasted from 1775-1783. John is listed as a veteran of the war in one document, but particulars about his service have not been found.

John married Susan (or Susannah) Feagley and undocumented evidence suggests this marriage occurred in 1776 at the height of the war. Based on the sequence of their children’s birth years (listed below), the Feagleys evidently lived in Rowan, North Carolina for several years.

For his services in the American Revolutionary War John allegedly received a warrant for land in Kentucky. The family arrived in Logan County, Kentucky between 1794 and 1797.

John Feagley’s land included 200 acres on Biggerstaff Creek, a branch of the Muddy River, in Logan County. He appeared on the tax rolls for this land from 1799-1804. On 20 December 1803, he had another 20 acres surveyed on the Muddy River, apparently adjoining the earlier survey. One of the chain bearers was a Peter Feagley, who is believed to be John’s brother. Later the family lived in Butler County, Kentucky.

The Feagleys reportedly had the following children:

  • Abigail (b. 1778) (married John Taylor 1805)
  • Susannah or Susan (b. Rowan County, N.C., 1787) (married John Shode, 1808)
  • “Mary Virginia” (b. Rowan County, N.C., 1789) who was the wife of James Scott Martin. She was also called “Jane” or “Jennie.”
  • Peter (b. 1786, in Rowan, N.C.), married Polly Jenkins in Logan County 28 May 1810
  • John (b. 1794, in Rowan, N.C.)
  • Mark (b. 1797 in Logan, Ky.)

John Feagley failed to get proper title and lost the land in Kentucky to a prior claim when the Commonwealth was later surveyed. The Feagleys were not alone; similar land troubles in Kentucky plagued the family of Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Boone.

Allegedly, John Feagley then moved in about 1814 to Indiana at Spencer County near Grandview (some say Rockport), and then returned to Kentucky for salt. En route he was reportedly killed by Native Americans – like his father – and his son was taken prisoner. Eventually the son was released and returned home.

These stories of death at the hands of Native Americans are not documented in contemporary histories, so we cannot know for certain how much of it is true. A John Feagley is included in the 1820 census (taken in August) as living in Morgantown, Kentucky (at the time part of Logan County and later in Butler County), but it is not known if this is John Feagley Sr. or his son with the same name.

If John (or Peter) did enter Indiana around 1814 they would have been one of the area’s first settlers. Clashes with Native Americans at the time were not uncommon so the account is believable.

The Arkansas Claibornes

John B. Claiborne (1812-1874) is a patriarch for one of the main branches of the family, with others originating from his two brothers William Divine Claybourn (1819-1896) and James T. Clayborn (1822-1900). These three brothers all settled in different regions of the country and also spelled the surname differently, and as a result they represent a sort of fork in the road for the family’s history.

William and his children lived in southern Illinois and fought and shed blood supporting the Union during the American Civil War. James and his family lived in Tennessee but remained loyal to the Union throughout the conflict.

John moved from Tennessee to Arkansas in 1859 just before the war broke out, and because some of his sons fought for the Confederacy we have long believed that his branch supported the southern cause. However, recent findings from the Southern Claims Commission now conclusively support that John had in fact remain an ardent Union supporter and suffered much because of it. Additionally, while three of his sons and a son-in-law did fight for the Confederacy, two of them were conscripted (or drafted) against their will. You can now read about these many fascinating updates through the pages of John and separate pages of some of his children:

John B. Claiborne (1812 – 1847)

  1. Matilda Francis Claiborne (1838 – 1888)
  2. John H. Claiborne (1842 – 1932)
  3. Arthur Smith Claiborne (1847 – 1936)
New Updates

Thanks to the ongoing work by Patricia Brown (a descendant of Sally Claybourn), we have new updates for several branches:

  • William and Mary Claybourn: William (“Bill”) was a Civil War veteran and fought alongside his brother James for about three years in the 80th Illinois Infantry Regiment. He and his wife Mary moved via covered wagons to Kansas, and then to Montana. Numerous of their descendants are listed in detail.
  • John and Ellen Claybourn: John was a Civil War veteran. He and his wife Ellen moved to Minnesota and each lived there to be 90 years old. Many details of their descendants are provided, including separate pages for three of their children listed below.

    • Mourten and Nellie Claybourne: This couple had a falling out with other members of the family and as a result purposefully changed the spelling of their surname. Many details of their well-educated descendants are provided as well, including some who are members of CGS.
    • Leslie William Claybourn: He was married at least three times. Over the years he patented over 200 printing processes and throughout his life was considered a printing process pioneer.
    • John Geronald Claybourn: John was a giant among engineers of his era. He rose in the service of the Panama Canal to become superintendent of the Dredging Division. He was also involved as a consultant in river and harbor improvement projects in several countries, primarily in Latin America.
  • Ephraim and Mary “Jennie” Claybourn: As with other members of the family, Ephraim was instrumental in construction of the Panama Canal and was eventually made superintendent of all floating equipment. Details of his many descendants are provided as well.
Renew Your Membership

The Claybourn Genealogical Society (CGS) invites you to click here and renew your membership for 2014.

CGS works hard to preserve the family’s history through detailed biographical sketches, archived letters and photographs, and publishing historically relevant items for dissemination among the family and public.

Promoting and protecting our family’s history is a big job and can only be accomplished with the support of people like yourself who care about the past, who know that our history defines our future, and who believe that CGS has a rich and colorful history that should never be lost, forgotten or even temporarily misplaced.

In 2014, we will continue to improve our website and embark on an ambitious plan to publish all of the material in one comprehensive book. These efforts can be costly, along with the normal expenses associated with web hosting and research fees.

By becoming a member today, you will join others helping to keep our family’s historical knowledge alive for today and tomorrow. Individual memberships begins at only $20 and permanent membership is available at only $100. Click here for more.

New Permanent Members

We’re happy to announce that Carol Claiborne Johnson and Janice Claiborne Kollander, both daughters of Harry E. Claiborne (1917-2004), have joined CGS as permanent members. Click here for a list of all permanent members and ways you too can join CGS and support our preservation of history.

Robert Alan Brown (1930 – 2013)

Robert Alan Brown (“Bob”) passed away on 22 October 2013 at the age of 83 in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. You can read more about Bob and his ancestry on the page devoted to his mother and father, Opal and Herbert Brown.

Bob was a 1948 graduate of Mt. Vernon High School (Illinois). He served in the US Navy from 1948-1949 and was also in the Air Force ROTC. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BBA and married his wife, Norma Jean Falz (born 17 July 1931), on 16 June 1953. He completed Harvard University’s Program for Management Development in 1971.

Bob worked for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company for 25 years in various management positions worldwide, including Executive Vice President of Firestone Canada. He moved to Carlisle as President of Carlisle Tire and Rubber in 1978 and worked there until 1982 when he opened Carlisle Syntec and served as its President until his retirement in 1994.

Bob was an active member of Second Presbyterian Church, where he was Chair of Trustees. He was an active member of the communities in which he lived, including serving on the Board of Directors at the Carlisle Hospital and the Carlisle Country Club. After retiring, Bob and Norma moved to Beaufort, South Carolina where he was active in his church choir.

Mary Catherine Claybourn (1839-1910)

Once more, thanks to contributions from Patricia Brown, we’ve been able to substantially bolster the data available on one of our relatives. Mary Catherine Claybourn (1839-1910) now has an expanded entry with many more descendants included. Click here to read it. Below is “Aunt Kit” with her second husband, Sam Starnes.



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