12 Main Street
Backstory and Context
The house at 12 Main stands on Lot 2 of the original town plat of James Clemens' land that became the City of Madison. Lot 2 was first purchased at the October 5, 1868, Clemens estate auction by Hamilton G. Bradford. The property changed hands many times until Seymour and Indiana Doolittle built their home here. They also purchased in an 1876 auction the adjacent Lot 1, which had been bought at the 1868 auction by John J. “Studdivant” (Sturdivant) of Limestone County.
The Doolittles likewise purchased Lots 3 and 4 that had initially been purchased by Theodorick S. Clay, a brother of Thomas J. Clay and Andrew Clay, all of whom appear in the history of Madison. Andrew died in the Civil War while his family lived in Limestone County in the Shoal Ford area. However, Andrew's widow Sarah Russell Webb Clay moved into Madison and ended up purchasing Lots 7, 8, 9, and 10 by 1869. Theodorick and his wife Jane purchased Lots 17 and 18 for their house across the tracks near Thomas J. Clay.
Sarah Russell had married Robertson Webb, a man 41 years her senior. In the 1850 census she was 24, and he was 65. They had several children together in addition to being guardians of the three Clay brothers, who were children of Robertson's sister (or daughter?) Nancy Webb Clay. After Robertson passed away, Sarah married Andrew Clay, one of the matured children that she and Robertson had raised, but who was still closer to Sarah's age. More of Sarah's story is told in relation to the Clay House at 16 Main Street.