Family Updates

We have several exciting family updates to offer. Jo Marie Claybourn (born on 2 April 1984), the daughter of Michael and Michelle Claybourn and the great-granddaughter of Guy Raymond Claybourn, married on 20 June 2015 to Ricky Paul Salter of Rincon, Georgia.

Jason Scott Arnold (born on 29 April 1986), the son of John and Lori Arnold and the great-great-grandson of John H. Claiborne, married on 10 July 2015 to Christine Halbert.

Finally, Brian Claybourn (born on 21 October 1981), the son of Jim and Carol Claybourn and the grandson of James F. Claybourn, announced with his wife Keri that they are expecting a son this November.

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Jo Marie and Ricky Paul Salter Jason and Christine Arnold Brian and Keri’s dog Maverick

Headstone Restoration Complete!

This year the Claybourn Genealogical Society (CGS) embarked on a project to repair and restore the headstone of James Thompson Clayborn (1822-1900) and Belinda/Malinda Clayborn (1827-1907), the ancestors of a massive branch of the family primarily residing in middle Tennessee. Despite living in a Confederate state, this couple stayed loyal to the Union during the Civil War and worked to scrape by a living for their large family.

Their headstone had fallen apart in a terribly disrespectful state. Thanks to the donations of CGS members and supporters, we’ve been able to restore the headstone to its original state. The restoration involved a new footer of level concrete slab, the base on the footer, and concrete adhesive to secure the base, pedestal, and obelisk. Moss and lichen growth were also removed during the process. The inscription at the bottom of James’s side of the obelisk states:

“Be ye ready for
in such an hour
as ye think not the
Son of Man cometh.”

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The headstone broken and in disrespectful state Headstone after restoration (James’s side with inscription) Headstone after restoration (Belinda’s side with inscription)

Headstone Restoration Project

James Thompson Clayborn (1822-1900) and Belinda/Malinda Clayborn (1827-1907) are the ancestors of a massive branch of the family primarily residing in middle Tennessee. Despite living in a Confederate state, this couple stayed loyal to the Union during the Civil War and worked to scrape by a living for their large family. Now, sadly, the only physical memorial left of them is in disrepair. The Claybourn Genealogical Society – with your help – is looking to properly restore these patriots’ headstone.

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The original headstone standing upright over their grave The headstone now broken and in disrespectful state

Freddy Curtis, a descendant of the couple, has worked with a stonemason from Woodbury, Tennessee, for plans to restore the headstone to its proper state in Dismal Cemetery in Liberty, Tennessee. The stonemason has proposed to dig a footer about 8 to 10 inches deep and pour a concrete slab that is level. He will then let that cure for several days. After that, he will place the base on the pad and use concrete adhesive to secure the base, pedestal, and obelisk. He will then clean it up from all the moss and lichen growth during the process too.

Headstone Restoration Project

Amt: $

This restoration will cost $300.00 and should hopefully last another hundred years or more. The Claybourn Genealogical Society and its president, Joshua Claybourn, have committed $200.00 to the project and now need your help to close the gap and secure the remaining $100. To donate please use the PayPal feature below or mail your check c/o of Claybourn Genealogical Society to 100 E Jennings St., Newburgh, IN 47630. After making your donation please email so that it can be properly allocated. All contributions are tax deductible. Help us perpetuate the memory of these patriots.

Update: Thanks to the generosity of a relative and their contribution of $100, this restoration project can proceed. We really appreciate such help! You are still welcome to donate to help with future restoration projects.

Big Changes at the Indiana State Library and Archives

Indiana House Bill 1001 (the State Budget Bill) includes a proposed 24% cut in funding to the Indiana State Library. According to State Librarian Jacob Speer, the proposal includes elimination of the Genealogy Department at the State Library and a 10% reduction in ISL staff.

The Genealogy Department at the Indiana State Library has more than 100,000 items devoted to Indiana and almost half (49%) of the reference questions that come to the Indiana State Library are for research from the Genealogy collection.

The cuts are likely related to an announcement from October 2014 that the Indiana Commission on Public Records had approved a contract with The contract would involve digitizing more than 13 million birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage records. With such records soon available through a private entity, the state presumably saw no need to continue staffing for the data through the state library.

The digitized versions of records older than 75 years will start becoming available to Hoosiers in 2015, according to a release from the governor’s office, with completion expected by 2016. Gov. Pence estimates the partnership saves state taxpayers more than $3.2 million in indexing, scanning, and online access costs. The online records will be available free through the State Archives but not initially. There is a three-year embargo so can recoup its costs. However, the State Archives will be able to provide public access to the records at its Indianapolis location once the records are digitized.

The digitization of older records presumably influenced the decision to propose staffing cuts, but questions remain about whether the reduced staff will be able to manage and index current and future records for digitization.

Indiana House Bill 1001 was not all gloom and doom for the Indiana State Library. Gov. Mike Pence’s proposed budget includes $50 million from long-term cell tower leases in order to help finance Indiana‚Äôs 2016 bicentennial plans. Those plans include the construction of a new state archives building ($25 million) and the creation of an education center at the Indiana State Library ($2.5 million). Some of the $2.5 million would also be allocated to repair a tunnel that connects the building with other downtown facilities.

According to a state “request for information” issued in August 2014, the state will seek to renovate an existing four-story landmark at 777 N. Meridian Street and a build a similar structure to the south that would serve as a state-of-the-art storage space. The Neoclassical limestone building at 777 N. Meridian Street was vacated in 2014 by the Indiana office of the American Legion and officials have identified it and adjacent land as the primary option to house the archives. The existing building and the new addition to the south would each be 36,000 square feet.

The state’s archives – including thousands of documents from the state’s founding – are currently stored in a dilapidated building at 6440 E. 30th Street. They have been there since 2001 as a temporary measure but ended up remaining at the site. The current facility has no climate control.

The new additions would house the original 1816 and 1851 state constitutions, all laws passed by the legislature, as well as other official state documents. The total number of documents number more than 300 million pages.

Renew Your Membership

Become a Member Today

Type of Membership

Make a General Contribution

Amt: $

With a new year coming on us, please consider renewing membership with the Claybourn Genealogical Society (CGS). Anyone who is interested in genealogy and history can become a member. Dues for a yearly membership is $20 and permanent Membership is available for a one-time payment of $100 (click here for a list of permanent members). Easy online payment through PayPal is available here to the right. All donations and memberships are tax deductible.

Each year CGS requires about $320 to cover website hosting and research fees (click here for the most recent operating statement). Therefore donations in addition to, or in lieu of, membership dues are welcome and help a great deal.

In 2015 we plan to complete and publish a magnificent single volume history of the family in book format. The final product will include all of the information currently on the website plus additional never before seen photos. Your donations will help with publishing costs.

Founded in 2009, CGS is the world’s leading resource for Clyburn / Claybourn / Claiborne / Clayborn / Claybourne family history research. Although our name says Claybourn, we provide expertise and research for numerous family lines, from eighteenth-century colonial Virginia through twentieth-first-century biographical research. We maintain an award-winning website,, as the online repository for more than 5,000 searchable names. CGS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that is open to the public.

Lloyd Claiborne Weir

We are excited to announce the addition of information concerning Lloyd Claiborne Weir (known as “George”). He was born to Sarah Frances Claiborne and DeWitt Franklin Weir on 15 December 1920 in White County, Arkansas. In World War II he served as crew chief and master sergeant of the B-24 Liberator Hot Stuff, the first heavy bomber in the 8th Air Force to complete twenty-five missions in Europe in World War II and, after completing thirty-one missions, was selected to return to the United States on 3 May 1943 to tour the country and help sell war bands. That spring of 1943 Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews needed to get back to Washington, D.C. He was Commander of the European Theater of Operations and known as the father of the Air Force. General Andrews knew Hot Stuff’s pilot Capt. “Shine” Shannon and chose to fly back to the United States with him.

Hot Stuff had a scheduled refueling stop in Iceland but crashed into a mountain in bad weather that day on 3 May 1943. All onboard, including George Weir, were killed except the tail gunner. The real purpose of General Andrews’ travel was that he was going back to Washington, D.C., to be blessed by Congress and the president, awarded his fourth star, and formally named Supreme Allied Commander in Europe to lead an assault across the English Channel. Because of his death, the job was assigned to Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower nine months later in February 1944.

In a subsequent diary entry a fellow soldier wrote, “I don’t see how anyone could have been a better crew chief than George. He went beyond the call of duty in working on his plane. Time meant nothing when things needed to be done. The plane was a living thing to him and long after the most severed inspector would pronounce the plane fit, George would still be out there tinkering around making little adjustments, polishing the interior, and looking things over. . . . He was everything a good soldier should be — loyal, capable, and industrious.”

The Hot Stuff crew and those on the flight with Gen. Andrews are memorialized online here with stories and several videos. Jim Lux, a friend of a surviving member who had missed the flight the day it crashed, worked hard to memorialize the crew and their history. He led an effort to dedicate a plaque at the site with plans and hopes of a future memorial monument by the wreckage near Grindavik, Iceland.

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, 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.

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James Harrison Claybourn
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.

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)