Kentucky Woman Suffrage
Name of Historic Site:
Stephen Chipley house
Event(s)/Use associated with woman/group/site:
A calling card for Mary J. Warfield Clay in the Laura Clay collection at the University of Kentucky Special Collections indicates she is "at home" at 78 North Broadway - here is where she mentored her activist daughters and supported woman suffrage causes
Private dwelling now used for rental apartments
Years of Importance:
This house is where Mary Jane Warfield Clay lived for some time after leaving her farm, Clermont as it was known at the time, when her husband Cassius Clay returned. She came to live in Lexington with her sister, Anne E. Warfield Ryland, and her daughters - and by 1878 her divorce was finalized. Letters to her family members, and particular to her daughters (especially Mary Barr, Sallie, Anne, and Laura), show her intense interest in current events and politics. Her eldest daughter, Mary Barr Clay, began traveling to national suffrage conventions in the 1870s - she invited the great suffragist orator Lucy Stone to come to Lexington to stay with her mother Mary Jane. By 1879 the Clay women had started the Fayette County Equal Rights Association. Mary Jane would mail Kentucky newspapers to her daughter Laura at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. At some point, she moved out of her sister's house into a nearby house fronting North Broadway. Her calling card with the address "78 North Broadway" is archived in the Laura Clay collection at the University of Kentucky's Special Collections and Research Center. Many thanks to the help from Peter Bourne who translated the house number from the nineteenth century into the current site now numbered 182 North Broadway. The house was built in 1838 for and by Reverend Stephen Chipley, a member of the City Council of Lexington. She lived here when in town and also with her brothers in Madison County when working her farm there.