White Hall


White Hall State Historic Site was the home of Cassius Marcellus Clay (1810-1903), emancipationist, newspaper publisher, and friend to Abraham Lincoln.  Clay was born in 1810, the son of a prominent slave-holding family.  Educated at Transylvania University and Yale, Clay began forming antislavery views in his college years. 


Cassius Clay began a political career in the 1830s, winning election to the Kentucky General Assembly.  He became known as a gifted orator, often making bold and inflammatory statements on the subject of slavery.  In 1845, Clay founded the True American, an antislavery newspaper published in Lexington.  True to his firebrand style, his newspaper aroused the animosity of many proslavery Kentuckians.   


Clay’s brashness created many enemies in the commonwealth and beyond, and he was often subjected to violence.  Clay brawled and dueled on many occasions, often suffering serious wounds but always recovering to resume his outspoken ways.


Clay supported Lincoln in the 1860 election and was rewarded by being appointed as minister to Russia.  After serving for one year, Clay returned to America where he was commissioned a major general in the Union army.


Today, White Hall is interpreted by the Kentucky Department of Parks.  The house is decorated with period furnishings and authentic artifacts from the nineteenth century, including many items related to Abraham Lincoln.


White Hall State Historic Site