Clay Funeral Home was a business started by Lauderdale County native Alex Clay. Clay was born in Lauderdale County, TN in 1882 and he passed in 1951. He was the son of Elias and Mary Jaroe Clay both former slaves. Clay Funeral Home was located at 168 College Street. He was one of the first graduates of Lauderdale County Training School graduating in 1908. According to the US Census prior to his work as an undertaker he worked as a farmer. Clay buried many of Lauderdale County’s Black citizens. It is also thought that Clay owned Canfield Cemetery located on Scott Drive in Ripley, TN. According to oral history the Clay funeral home was located behind a few homes on College Street, one of those homes belonged to Junius (June) and Cordelia Clay, who are believed to have been cousins to Alex Clay. The land on College Street were Alex Clay made his business was given to him by Chaney Jaroe, his grandmother. Prior to the Clay Funeral Home being in this spot this location was home to the bush arbor that was home to Miles Chapel CME Church before a lot was secured for this church on Elm Street. After his death he left all of his assets to his wife and children. I have not yet been able to determine the exact location of Clay Funeral Home. I also haven’t been able to locate picture of it. If you have pictures of it that you would like to contribute, please let me know.
– Source: Oral History interview with Geraldine Clay, Lauderdale County From its Earliest Times by Kate Johnston Peters