Clays, Hangers and Millers

Dublin Core


Clays, Hangers and Millers


Here are some bits and pieces of Madison County history, not necessarily connected.

Most people know that Green Clay was the father of Cassius M. Clay of White Hall, Madison County. But did you know that he was a second cousin of Henry Clay? Did you know that he was also a brother in law of Kentucky Gov. James Garrard? Or that he was one of Kentucky’s largest landowners — at one time holding title to over 40,000 acres in Madison County? He also owned distilleries, taverns, mills warehouses and slaves.

All of this helps to explain why when a new county was developed in 1807, it was named Clay County after Gen. Green Clay of Madison County. Clay County was formed from Madison, Knox and Floyd Counties. Clay County originally was quite large, but it gave up many acres upon the foundation of no less than eight new counties. The county seat, Manchester, originally was called Greenville in honor of Green Clay of Madison County. It was later changed to Manchester, the name coming from the renowned industrial city of Manchester, England.

If you have looked over the portraits at Arlington House, you know it once belonged to the Hanger family. The Mason-Hanger Company of Lexington was the second oldest engineering and construction firm in the United States. Its headquarters was in Lexington. Among its major projects were railroad construction, New York City sewer repairs, the Grand Coulee dam and the Lincoln Tunnel. The Hanger family home was Arlington House in Richmond.

A Madison County native once served as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Samuel Freeman Miller, son of Frederick and Patsy Miller, was born in Richmond on April 5, 1816. Without a high school degree, he entered Transylvania’s Medical School, earning a M.D. degree in 1838. He practiced medicine for 12 years in Barbourville and in 1847, he was admitted to the bar to practice law. In 1850, he and his family went to Iowa, where he helped found the Republican Party. President Abraham Lincoln appointed him to the United States Supreme Court in 1862. He served with distinction on the court until he died in 1890. He is buried in Iowa.

Here we have three distinct but highly successful Madison County families. These individuals had an impact far outside the county, but all are a part of Madison’s heritage.


Dr. Fred Engle




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Dr. Fred Engle, “Clays, Hangers and Millers,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed January 20, 2022,