Henry Clay's Funeral

Henry Clay of Kentucky died of tuberculosis on June 29, 1852. His career included serving as speaker of the House of Representatives, a United State senator, and Secretary of State in the John Quincy Adams administration. While his three attempts at becoming president failed, he was nevertheless a towering figure in the politics of antebellum America. Clay died at his hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. From there his coffin was brought to the Capitol and into the Senate Chamber where the funeral service was conducted with the president and the cabinet in attendance. Then, the coffin was brought into the Rotunda and placed in the center of the room. Clay was the first American honored with his remains lying in state. Since that time the distinct honor has been extended to 31 Americans, including 11 presidents.