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Friday, 4 September 2015

Clay and Glynne Emigrants to the USA

From Susan Johnson, USA:

My great-great grandparents emigrated from Berwick in the 19th century. My great-great grandmother was Sarah Clay, daughter of the farmer, John Clay. John managed several farms within his lifetime. Their family farmed in the area for generations. Their last farm, is still in existence, as a horse farm.

Sarah marred John Glynne and emigrated to New York City. John Glynne was a farm hand we think. We don't know where exactly he came from. My cousin found that Glynne was younger than Sarah, and they may have eloped. This could be around 1875 or so. I have dates somewhere.

Their oldest son was Darling John Glynne, my great grandfather.
He might have been born in Berwick, or New York City.
There may be some painted portraits of Sarah and the Clays somewhere in Berwick.The younger John Clay wrote a book about his father in Berwick, "John Clay: A Scottish Farmer", which he published in 1906.

I have several interesting stories about the Clays. John Clay's son, John, also emigrated to USA, and wrote several books about his father as well as his own new life in Wyoming. John Clay the younger was a cattle rancher and a significant figure in the development of the western frontier in Wyoming.

The younger son of Sarah and John Glynne, Michael Glynne, grew up to be a vaudeville impresario in New York. One of his theatres in Long Island, has been restored.

2 years ago, I met a long-lost cousin of my grandmother. He is younger than me ! It turns out the youngest child of Sarah and John Glynne was a girl who married an Italian in New York. She was disowned (although it seems Sarah kept in contact). She had ten children, the youngest of which became the father at a late age, hence my long-lost cousin !  In any case, meeting him is particularly important because my grandmother died in 1969, and had lost both her parents and her sister to the flu within a week in 1929.

My mother, Margaret Glynne Korth Johnson, and her sister, Joan, both had red hair. My grandmother had dark violet eyes, and so it was a family joke as to where the red hair came from. Of course, it was Berwick-upon -Tweed. We don't know Sarah's colouring, but chances are there are plenty of red genes. My brother and sister both have auburn hair, while I am dark gold.


  1. With regard to Susan's question "If I come to visit, how can I research their lives there?", I have replied:
    With regard to research, since there were Clay families on both sides of the Border, Northumberland & Durham Family History Society,, and Borders Family History Society,, are likely to be able to help you.

    You may need to use the resources of Berwick Record Office - see but I suggest you plan your visit well in advance.

  2. I seem to remember that Trevor Swan gave a talk about a Clay family, possibly around March 2005 and it might have been n the magazine.

  3. I seem to remember that Trevor Swan gave a talk about a Clay family, possibly around March 2005 and it might have been in the Borders Family History Society magazine.

  4. I am taking it that your cousin is Michael P from New York? If so the info he gave you came from me ;-), in the course of my research into Kerchesters Farm. Trevor Swan and I have spoken this morning and will help you in any way we can.

    Kind regards


    1. My great-great grandparents were Sarah Clay and John Glynne. My great grandmother was Annie Clay Glynne who married an Italian John P. in the late 1890s. My grandmother, Louisa, was the eldest of their children. The other siblings I know of were, Sarah, Jenny (Thomasina), Frances, John, James, Antoinette and Henry (Uncle Harry) who settled in Long Island.

  5. My great-great grandparents were Sarah Clay and John Glynne. My great-grandmother, Annie Clay Glynne, married John P. an Italian in NY in the late 1890's. Their eldest child, Louisa, was my grandmother. Her siblings were Sarah, Jenny (Thomasina), Frances, John, James, Antoinette and Harry (Henry) who settled in Long Island.

    This article provided many details and history for me and my family. Thank you. Sincerely Susan Miller


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