In 1986 Mildred Barker Johnson, and her husband, Joseph, founded an organization called the Descendants of William Claiborne of Virginia. She started by writing to eight people who had signed the Visitor's Register at St. Cuthbert's Church, Cliburn, Westmoreland, England, stating that they were descendants of William Claiborne. Five of those Claibornes responded, and formed the nucleus of the Claiborne Clan. A meeting of Claibornes took place in Williamsburg, Va. in September, 1988, and that was the real beginning of the present organization. However, in 1992, through a series of coincidences, we learned that an earlier Claiborne reunion had been held at the Jamestown Exposition in 1907.
As membership grew, the organization expanded to include not only proven descendants of William Claiborne, but all Claibornes (regardless of how the name is spelled) who are still working to prove their line of descent. Currently we have members from the Irish branch descending from Dr. Christopher J. Cleborne, the Irish branch descending from Oliver Arthur Clibborn, and members descending from John Clyborn of Dale Parish in "old Henrico County". Until "Cliborn-Claiborne Records" was published in 1986, the Cliborn line had been placed under William Claiborne.
Reunions have been held in Williamsburg; King's Lynn and Cliburn, England; east Tennessee; and New Orleans, La. We have formed close ties with King's Lynn, England, because in the 1500's, William Claiborneís father and grandfather served as Mayor of the town.
The publication of the award-winning genealogy, Claiborne of Virginia, Descendants of Colonel William Claiborne, The First Eight Generations by John F. Dorman and Claiborne T. Smith, Jr., M.D., as well as Lolita Bissell's Cliborn-Claiborne Records, did much to bring attention to William Claiborne. Soon after came Gene Williamsonís three books about the important role Claiborne played in the early settlement of this country --Of The Sea and Skies: Historic Hampton and its Times; Chesapeake Conflict : The Troublesome Early Days of Maryland; and Guns on the Chesapeake: The Winning of America's Independence. Williamson published a narrative poem, We Claim Right of Possession The Saga of William Claiborne in 2000.
The Claiborne Clan continues to work on our primary project which is to search English records to establish a connection between Thomas Cleyborne of Kingís Lynn, Norfolk, England, (Williamís grandfather), and the ancient family of Cliburn in Westmoreland. We help members who are still researching their Claiborne (however spelled) ancestry.
Click on the following web pages to learn more about our organization.