Lost Ripley – Clay Funeral Home on College Street

17 Apr

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.



– Tiffany

– Source: Oral History interview with Geraldine Clay, Lauderdale County From its Earliest Times by Kate Johnston Peters


6 Responses to “Lost Ripley – Clay Funeral Home on College Street”

  1. annese ashton April 17, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    Alex Clay’s first wife, who was a Nixon, was related to the Junius Clay family through June’s grandmother Elvira Nixon. It is unclear whether Alex and June’s family were related or if they came from the same slaveholder. Ongoing research is trying to answer that question.


    • Tiffany April 17, 2013 at 11:35 am #

      Thanks for commenting Annese and for visiting the blog again. I’ve been thinking they just have the same surname through their slaveholder, but the genealogist in me is always searching for a connection.

  2. William Carson November 19, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    Feel free to post the pictures of the funeral home I sent you.

    • Tiffany November 19, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

      Thanks William. I was planning to write you an email to request consent to use them.


  1. Lost Ripley – Clay Funeral Home – Follow Up | Black Ripley - November 20, 2013

    […] The original article on the Clay Funeral Home can be found here -> https://blackripley.com/2013/04/17/lost-ripley-clay-funeral-home-on-college-street/#comments […]

  2. Best of Black Ripley Awards 2014 | Black Ripley - January 29, 2015

    […] Lost Ripley – Clay Funeral Home on College Street […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: