Clay-Ashland is a township located 10 miles (16 km) from the capital city of Monrovia in Liberia.[1] The town is in the St. Paul River District of Montserrado County.[2] It is named after Henry Clay a slaveowner and American Colonization Society co-founder who favored gradual emancipation and his estate Ashland in Lexington, Kentucky.[3]

Location in Liberia
Coordinates: 6°25′21″N 10°43′29″W
Country Liberia
CountyMontserrado County
DistrictSt. Paul River
Time zoneUTC+0 (GMT)

Established in 1846, Clay-Ashland was part of a colony called Kentucky In Africa,[3] because it was settled by African-American immigrants primarily from the U.S. state of Kentucky under the auspices of the American Colonization Society.


A Kentucky state affiliate of the ACS was formed in 1828, and members raised money to transport Kentucky blacks — freeborn volunteers as well as slaves set free on the stipulation that they leave the United States — to Africa.[3] The Kentucky society bought a 40-square-mile (100 km2) site along the Saint Paul River and named it Kentucky in Africa.[3] Clay-Ashland was the colony's main town.[3]

Notable residents have included William D. Coleman, the 13th President of Liberia, whose family settled in Clay-Ashland after immigrating from Fayette County, Kentucky, United States when he was a boy.[4] Moses Ricks, a successful farmer and Baptist missionary who founded the still-running Ricks Institute in 1887 to provide a Christian education to indigenous youth in Liberia, also grew up in the town.[5] Alfred F. Russell, the 9th President of Liberia, also resided in Clay-Ashland.[6] Martha Ann Erskine Ricks lived here after her father bought her out of slavery. In 1892 she received a Royal audience with Queen Victoria.

The True Whig Party, which dominated Liberian politics for more than a century, was founded in Clay-Ashland in 1869.[7][8]


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