Jeff Harvey

This edition of Mercer Memories will focus on William Sanders II’s book “A New River Heritage, Volume IV” as he reconciles the version of events told to him about Clover Bottom/the Bluestone Valley by John Maxey and George Pearis Brown.

The first area is the location of the Clay Cemetery where Bartley and Tabitha Clay were presumed by Sanders and Brown to be buried.

Maxey stated that a number of members of the Clay, Pearis, Brown and related families were buried in the knoll of land above Lake Shawnee presumed to be where the Clay children were buried. He added that Conley Snidow, who owned the land from the 1920s, was adverse to the cemetery being expanded and used and that hogs were subsequently roaming the area and only the few trees in an orderly array indicated the presence of the old cemetery.

Maxey thought the Clay home was near an old spring across Route 10 from Lake Shawnee up that hollow a few hundred feet uphill from the road. A man named Elmer Cadle or Keadle known by Maxey built the Snidow Cabin and several smaller log cabins as part of the Lake Shawnee complex. The prior home at that location was owned by Daniel or George Day.

As for the Clay home, Sanders said the building on the hill must have been the springhouse not the actual home.

Jeremiah Solesbury/Shrewsbury was Mitchell Clay’s brother in law married to Mary Elizabeth Clay. He arrived around the turn of the century to what is now Spanishburg and died in 1805 or 1806. Their daughter Elizabeth married Jabez Maxey. Another daughter, Rhoda, married her cousin Henry Clay and they had a daughter Tabitha, named after her aunt.

The Henry Clay property was later owned by the Hogans. As for the Shrewsbury/Maxey land, it stretched from Spanishburg to the Blue Bridge crossing the Bluestone River where the Gardner Road intersects 19-21.

Jeff Harvey is a freelance reporter and columnist for the Princeton Times. Contact him at

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