The Clay family
The Clay family was present in Elsfield in 1825 and were still represented in the village in 1891.
|1841||John Clay||aged 25||Thomas Clay||aged 45|
|Lucy||aged 25||Letisha||aged 40|
|Emma||aged 4||John||aged 20|
|Mariah||aged 1||Elizabeth||aged 10|
|Phebe||aged 7||Richard||aged 9|
|John Clay||aged 50||Jane||aged 5|
|1851||John Clay||aged 38||Thomas Clay||aged 60|
|Lucy||aged 33||Letitia||aged 50|
|Emma||aged 14||John||aged 16|
|Maria||aged 11||William||aged 16|
|Elizabeth||aged 9||Jane||aged 15|
|Sarah||aged 1||d. 1853|
|1861||Thomas Clay||aged 72||John Clay||aged 77||d. 1864|
|Latisha||aged 62||Mary||aged 75||d. 1868|
|Jane||aged 23||d. 1865|
|1871||Thomas Clay||aged 82|
|William||aged 36.||Ag. Lab. d. 1880|
|1881||Letitia Clay||aged 80|
|Sarah||aged 55||Small shopkeeper|
|1891||Letitia Clay||aged 93||d. 1892|
|Sarah||aged 65||d. 1898|
The Clay family were poor, though not so poor that they ended up in the workhouse. Nevertheless they provided support for their children by housing, over however short a time, their various grandchildren: William in 1861 and Clara in 1881. There is a record of the marriage of Jane Clay to James Andrews in 1864 where she made her mark rather than signing her name. It is difficult to know which person this is. Was she the daughter of Thomas Clay, who died the following year? If so, then she had come back home and her married name is not recorded.
The 19th century was a transition period between an oral and a literate age and this shows in the various spellings of the name “Letitia”, who would have been more used to hearing rather than reading her own name.
By the end of the century, only Sarah remained in the village and she eked out a meagre income by selling goods she had bought in Oxford. She would walk there and back with a basket on each arm and sell what she could carry. The Parsons family at the Manor House saved their tea leaves so she could dry and reuse them.
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