Named for Kentucky statesman, Henry Clay, who appeared on the $50 bill from 1869 – 1874.
Henry Clay, Sr., American lawyer and planter, statesman, and skilled orator who represented Kentucky in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives served three non-consecutive terms as Speaker of the House of Representatives and served as Secretary of State under President John Quincy Adams from 1825 to 1829. Clay ran for the presidency in 1824, 1832 and 1844, while also seeking his party's nomination in 1840 and 1848. However, he was unsuccessful in all of his attempts to reach his nation's highest office.
Despite his presidential losses, Clay remained a dominant figure in the Whig Party, which he helped found in the 1830s. Clay's Whig Party collapsed shortly after his death, but Clay cast a long shadow over the generation of political leaders that presided over the Civil War. Mississippi Senator Henry S. Foote stated his opinion that “had there been one such man in the Congress of the United States as Henry Clay in 1860-’61 there would, I feel sure, have been no civil war. Abraham Lincoln, stated Henry Clay was his “beau ideal of a statesman,” a political role model to be emulated and supported.
He was one of eight to be featured on the $50 bill … listed below.
1878 Edward Everett $50 Silver Certificate
1861 Andrew Jackson $50 Two-Year Interest Bearing Note
1862 Alexander Hamilton $50 Legal Tender
1863 Alexander Hamilton $50 Compound Interest Treasury Note
1864 Alexander Hamilton $50 Interest Bearing Note
1869 Henry Clay $50 Legal Tender
1874 Benjamin Franklin $50 Legal Tender
1882 Silas Wright, Jr. $50 Gold Certificate
1891 William Henry Seward $50 Treasury Note
1902 John Sherman $50 National Bank Note
1913 Ulysses Simpson Grant $50 Gold Certificate
1914 Ulysses Simpson Grant $50 Federal Reserve Note
1918 Ulysses Simpson Grant $50 Federal Reserve Bank Note
1928 to Present Ulysses Simpson Grant $50 Small Size Banknote
Visit Kentucky! #TravelKY #ExploreKentucky
In 1804, Clay purchased land outside of Lexington, with the dream of building a plantation called "Ashland," named for the surrounding forest of ash trees. By 1812, Clay owned a productive 600-acre plantation. Located in Lexington, Kentucky, it is a registered National Historic Landmark.
Maintained and operated as a museum, today Clay's estate of Ashland includes 17 acres of the original estate grounds.
The Ashland Stakes, a Thoroughbred horse race at Keeneland Race Course that has run annually since the race course first opened in 1936, was named for the historically important estate.