Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Yeaman as Clay Paints Vivid Story of County's History

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Yeaman as Clay Paints Vivid Story of County's History

Article excerpt


As he paced the front of the room, 19th-century statesman Henry Clay began his speech by making an observation about his audience's "strange clothing."

"Women wearing breeches, men with their locks cut off, shoes with no buckles," he mused.

Of course, it wasn't actually the famous American politician. It was local historian and storyteller Art Yeaman, appearing recently at the Clay County Headquarters Library in Fleming Island as the former Secretary of State.

The event, which was organized by Friends of the Fleming Island Library, was held in celebration of the county's sesquicentennial anniversary. Darlene Page, adult program coordinator at the library, said she hoped the performance would spark people's interest in history and inspire further reading.

"It's to learn about Clay County and that it's named after a famous statesman and not the soil," she said.

The presentation was one of the library's monthly adult programs, which are meant to raise awareness of the library and what it has to offer.

Dressed in attire straight out of the 1800s, and sporting a historically accurate limp, Yeaman gave a synopsis of Clay's life story in the first person. He began with his childhood in Virginia and continued through his extensive service in government.

Clay, the county's namesake, served in the Kentucky state legislature, and he also represented Kentucky in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. He served as John Quincy Adams' secretary of state, and he famously ran for president of the United States three times without success. …

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