News

80th Illinois Recruiting Flag

This American flag with 34 stars was used in recruiting by Company H of the 22nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company C of the 30th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and the 80th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment at the beginning of the Civil War. The 80th Illinois included brothers James Harrison Claybourn and William Pratt Claybourn.

James McHenry carried it in recruiting for Company “H” of the 22nd Illinois. It went to Belleville, Illinois, with companies “H” and “I” in May of 1861. The flag was returned to Randolph County and carried by Henry McDonald with Captain Alexander Wybus’s Company to Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis. The company disbanded there, some men going into the 10th Missouri and others into the 5th Illinois Companies, but the greater number went into Company C of the 30th Illinois. The flag was then carried by Macdonald with Companies C and E of the 30th Illinois to Belleville, and thence to Birds Point, Missouri. At Birds Point, flag owner James McHenry presented the flag to Charlie E. Brown of Blaire. It was then returned once more to Randolph County and used as a recruiting flag for Company G of the 80th Illinois. Charlie E. Brown took it to Centralia as the Company G flag for the 80th Illinois, but Col. Thomas G. Allen then used it for the entire regiment as the regimental flag for 80th Illinois until the regiment received colors from the government at Louisville, Kentucky.

After the war, Mr. Brown presented it to the high school museum at Sparta, Illinois. The ladies who made this flag are as follows: Mrs. Mary Ann McHenry (mother of Dr. James McHenry of the 22nd Illinois and of Mr. John McHenry), Mrs. James Ward, Mrs. Barbara Gordon, Mrs. Ann McLaughlin, and Mrs. Mary McLaughlin. It is now housed at the University Museum at Southern Illinois University.

Betty Jean Morrow

Betty Jean Morrow was born on 7 August 1931 in Hammond, Lake County, Indiana, to William Samuel Morrow and Lilyan Mable Wheeler. The family moved from Hammond to Evansville, Indiana, in about 1938. After William and Lilyan divorced in April 1939, Lilyan moved to Michigan, requiring Betty and her brother Billy to shuttle back and forth between Evansville and Michigan.

The constant juggling was hard on Betty, but she noted that it forced her and her brother to grow up fast and become relatively self-sufficient, both emotionally and financially. “Thank God I had my brother,” she said. Betty and her brother were so close, in fact, that unknowing observers often thought they were dating.

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Born of Clay

We are pleased to announce the publication of Born of Clay: The Story of the Claiborne · Claybourn · Clayborn Families in the United States. Clocking in at over 500 pages with detailed biographical information on thousands of individuals, this is an unparalleled history of the Claiborne – Claybourn – Clayborn families in the United States.

Beginning with Joshua Clyburn in the late 1790s, this history gets progressively more detailed as the generations progress toward modernity.

As early as 1906, Verner Marvin Claybourn began collecting data on the Claybourn Family, and on the English family from whom he believed the family descended. In about 1935 Harriette Pinnell Threlkeld became interested, did some research, and with Verner collected data on the hundreds of descendants of William Divine Claybourn, her great-grandfather. From their foundational core the Claybourn Genealogical Society published this one-of-a-kind book on thousands of individuals connected to the family.

The book is printed on demand resulting in a purchase price of $115. There is no markup so it is sold at-cost. Click here to get your copy today!

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.”

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.

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

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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 [email protected] 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.

Renew Your Membership

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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, Claybourn.org, 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, 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.