Clinton family

This article is about the family related to Bill and Hillary Clinton. For other Clinton families, see Clinton.
Clinton family
Current region Arkansas and New York, United States
Place of origin Arkansas (Clintons), Illinois (Rodhams)
Members Bill Clinton
Hillary Clinton
Chelsea Clinton
William Jefferson Blythe, Jr.
Virginia Dell Cassidy
Roger Clinton, Sr.
Roger Clinton, Jr.
Jeff Dwire
Hugh E. Rodham
Dorothy Howell Rodham
Hugh Rodham
Tony Rodham
Traditions Southern Baptist Convention, United Methodist Church
Four members of the family in January 2009. From left to right, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Dorothy Rodham, and the unrelated Vice President Joe Biden.

The Clinton family is a prominent American political family related to the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who was in office for two terms from January 20, 1993 until January 20, 2001, and his wife, Hillary Clinton, the 67th United States Secretary of State from January 21, 2009 until February 1, 2013. In 2016 Hillary Clinton became the first female presidential nominee from a major political party in United States history. The Clintons (Bill and Hillary) are the first married couple, each to be nominated for president.[1]


Paternal family

Bill Clinton's father, William Jefferson Blythe, Jr. (February 27, 1910 – May 17, 1946), was a traveling heavy equipment salesman who died in a car crash three months before Bill was born.[2] Blythe was born as one of nine children to William Jefferson Blythe, Sr. (1884–1935), a poor farmer in Sherman, Texas, and his wife, the former Lou Birchie Ayers (1893–1946). He was of English and Scots descent, with family lines in North America since the days of the thirteen colonies.[3]

Blythe was married four times. He married for the first time in December 1935, and the bride was Virginia Adele Gash; they were divorced only thirteen months later. Although no child was born to the couple during their marriage, they later had a son together. After the divorce, Virginia moved to California and married first a man named Coffelt, then a man named Charles Ritzenthaler. However, she and Blythe remained friends, and she visited him on occasion. A son was conceived during these visits, and Henry Leon Blythe was born in Sherman, Texas on June 17, 1938, some eighteen months after his parents had been divorced. Henry's parents lost touch with each other when he was an infant, after his father briefly married and divorced his mother's sister, and he never knew his biological father or paternal siblings. Later in life, Henry Leon Blythe took the name "Henry Leon Ritzenthaler" in honor of a step-father. He ran several small businesses in Paradise, California, including a janitorial business, and died in 2009. He was unaware of his connection to the future president until the presidential campaign of 1992, when a Washington Post investigation, based on birth registry records, revealed details of Bill Clinton's family. Ritzenthaler met his half-brother for the first time around that time, and the physical resemblance between them was remarked upon.[4]

Blythe's second marriage happened in December 1940 when, nearly four years after his divorce from Virginia Adele Gash, Blythe married her sister, Minnie Faye Gash. This marriage was annulled only four months later, in April 1941, and there were no children. Barely days after the annulment, in May 3, 1941, Blythe married again. His third wife was Wanetta Ellen Alexander of Kansas City, Missouri. Wanetta gave birth to Blythe's daughter on May 11, 1941, exactly eight days after their wedding. She had become pregnant with Blythe's child even before he had married Minnie Faye Gash in December 1940. The daughter thus born to Wanetta and Blythe is Sharon Lee Blythe Pettijohn, who is still alive in 2016. Blythe and Wanetta were formally divorced three years later, in April 1944. They lost touch immediately afterwards; Wanetta, who eventually settled in Tucson, Arizona, had no inkling of Blythe's subsequent history until the presidential campaign of 1992 and the Washington Post story. Upon seeing old photographs of Bill Clinton's father flashed on TV, Wanetta "swears on a stack of Bibles ...... that that was the man she was married to" said her son-in-law Bob Pettijohn, Sharon Lee Blythe Pettijohn's husband.

Blythe's divorce from Wanetta Alexander was granted by court in April 1944. Seven months before that, in September 1943, Blythe had already "married" Virginia Dell Cassidy of Bodcaw, Arkansas. Blythe and Cassidy remained married until his death in May 1946, which happened in a car crash. On August 19, 1946, three months after Blythe's death, Cassidy gave birth to their only child, the future Bill Clinton. Cassidy had no knowledge of Blythe's previous marriages until decades later.[5]

Maternal family

Bill Clinton's mother, Virginia Dell Cassidy (later Virginia Dell Blythe Clinton Dwire Kelley), was born in Bodcaw, Arkansas on June 6, 1923. She was the only child of James Eldridge Cassidy (1898–1957), a grocer, by his wife Edith Grisham Cassidy (1901–1968), a nurse anesthetist. Bill Clinton's father, William J. Blythe, was her first husband, and she married him in September 1943, when she was 20 and he was 33 years old. On the day of their wedding, Blythe was still legally married to his third wife Wanetta; his divorce from her was finalized only in April the following year. However, Cassidy may not have known of this circumstance at that time, and certainly did not know of Blythe's first two marriages until decades after his death. After Blythe died, she moved back with her parents, gave birth to a son three months later, and named him William Jefferson Blythe III in honor of his paternal grandfather. This was the future Bill Clinton.

In 1950, four years after Blythe's death, the young widow married car salesman Roger Clinton, Sr. (July 23, 1908 – November 8, 1967). Roger was born in Yell County, Arkansas in July 1908 to Allen W. Clinton (August 26, 1880 – June 14, 1965) and Eula Cornwell Clinton (May 29, 1882 – October 10, 1975).[6] The marriage produced one child, the actor and musician Roger Clinton, Jr., who was born in 1956 and is the only one of Bill Clinton's siblings to have been raised with him and have a close relationship with him. In 1962, Roger and Virginia Clinton suffered a crisis in their marriage; they got divorced and then remarried in quick succession within that year. At this time, the 16-year-old William Jefferson Blythe III officially adopted his step-father's surname as his own and took the name "William Jefferson Clinton." Roger Clinton died in 1967 after seventeen years of marriage.

In January 3, 1969, only one year after Roger Clinton's death, his widow married for the third time. Her groom, Jeff Dwire (June 6, 1923 - August 1974), was the same age as she, and had three daughters by a previous marriage. After briefly serving in the military, he had worked as a carpenter, a hairdresser, a judo teacher and a football coach, and had run a string of small businesses, including building houses, dealing in oil-well equipment and selling financial securities. What alarmed Virginia's family and friends was the fact that he had served nine months in prison during 1962 for stock fraud. However, Bill Clinton was supportive of the new man in his mother's life; he served as Best Man and also played and sang at the wedding reception. The marriage, which produced no children, lasted until Dwire died in August 1974 from complications arising from diabetes.

In January 1982, Virginia Dwire married for the fourth and last time to Richard Kelley. This marriage, which produced no children, lasted until Virginia's death from breast cancer on January 6, 1994. In later life, Virginia was insistent that all official documents refer to her by her full and chosen name, "Virginia Dell Blythe Clinton Dwire Kelley."

Rodham family

Bill, Hillary and Chelsea during the presidency of Bill Clinton

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the daughter of Hugh Ellsworth Rodham, businessman and staunch Republican, by his wife Dorothy Howell. She is the eldest of three children and has two younger brothers, Hugh and Anthony 'Tony' Rodham.

Hillary's father, Hugh Ellsworth Rodham, was born on April 2, 1911 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Hugh Rodham (1879-1965) and Hannah Jones Rodham (1882-1952). Both of his parents came from coal-miner families. His father (also named Hugh) was a first-generation immigrant from County Durham in northern England, while his mother Hannah (née Jones) was born in Pennsylvania to Welsh immigrants from Merthyr Tydfil.[7] Hugh was a successful businessman in the textile supply industry. Beginning as a trader who supplied drapes and window shades, he later opened a fabric printing plant of his own.

Hillary's mother was born as Dorothy Emma Howell on June 4, 1919 in Chicago.[8][9] She was the daughter of Edwin John Howell Jr. (1897–1946), a Chicago firefighter,[10] by his wife Della Murray (1902–1960).[11] She has one sister, Isabelle Howell (b. 1924).[10] Her ancestry included Welsh, English, Scottish, French, and distant Dutch; her paternal grandfather was an immigrant from Bristol in England, and many of her recent forebears had lived in Canada.[11] Before she married, and during the years of the depression, Dorothy, like other lower middle-class girls of the time, had reluctantly braced herself to the prospect of working as a typist-secretary in order to earn a living. After marrying Rodham, however, she devoted herself to her family and remained a dedicated wife and mother all her life.

Hillary's parents were married in early 1942.[10][12] Hillary, the eldest of their three children, was born in October 1947. She was followed by Hugh Edwin Rodham in 1950 and Anthony Dean Rodham in 1954. Hillary's father, Hugh Ellsworth Rodham, died of a stroke on April 7, 1993 in Little Rock, Arkansas at the age of 82. His wife, Dorothy Rodham, died on November 1, 2011 due to heart failure.[13] Both of Hillary's parents had the good fortune to see their son-in-law, Bill Clinton, elected president.

Hillary has two brothers, Hugh and Anthony. Hugh Edwin Rodham (born May 26, 1950) is a politician and member of the Democratic party. In 1994, he ran for election to the US Senate from Florida. He lost to incumbent Republican candidate Connie Mack III.[14][15][15] In 1986, he married Maria Victoria Arias, a lawyer and an immigrant from Cuba; they live in Coral Gables, Florida. Hillary's second brother, Anthony Dean Rodham (born 1954), usually known as Tony Rodham, is a consultant and businessman. In May 1994, Tony (aged 40) married Nicole Boxer (born 1967), daughter of Barbara Boxer, the Jewish democratic Senator from California. The wedding, which was attended by 250 guests, was held at the White House. It was the first White House wedding since Tricia Nixon married Edward F. Cox in 1971.[16] Tony and Nicole have one child, Zachary (b. 1995). They separated in 2000 and were later divorced. In the summer of 2005, Tony Rodham married Megan Madden of Vienna, Virginia.[17] The couple have two children, Fiona and Simon, and live in Vienna, Virginia.

Family of Chelsea Clinton

Bill and Hillary Clinton's daughter Chelsea Victoria Clinton was born on February 27, 1980 in Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas while her father was Governor of Arkansas. On July 31, 2010, Clinton and investment banker Marc Mezvinsky were married in an interfaith ceremony in Rhinebeck, New York.[18] Mezvinsky (born December 15, 1977) is the son of former members of Congress Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky and Edward Mezvinsky, and was raised in the Conservative Jewish tradition.[19] The senior Clintons and Mezvinskys were friends in the 1990s and their children met on a Renaissance Weekend retreat in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.[19] They first were reported to be a couple in 2005, and became engaged over Thanksgiving weekend in 2009.[20] Following their wedding, the couple lived for three years in New York City's Gramercy Park neighborhood,[21] later purchasing a condominium in the NoMad District of Manhattan for $10.5 million.[22] Clinton announced in April 2014 that they were expecting their first child.[23] Their daughter Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky, was born September 2014,[24] and their son Aidan Clinton Mezvinsky, was born in June 2016.[25][26] Shortly after Aidan was born, the family moved to the nearby Flatiron District.[27] Chelsea Clinton worked as an NBC reporter and currently works with the Clinton Foundation.[28]


Socks with Clinton's secretary Betty Currie.
Bill Clinton and Buddy in 1997.

While living in the White House the Clintons had two pets: a cat named Socks and a dog named Buddy. Socks, born about 1989, was adopted by the Clintons in 1991.[29] The cat was left under the care of Bill Clinton's secretary Betty Currie, residing with her until Socks' death on February 20, 2009, euthanized due to cancer of the jaw.[30] Buddy, a Labrador Retriever born on August 7, 1997, was acquired by the Clintons on December 5, 1997. Buddy was named after Clinton's late great uncle Henry Oren Grisham, nicknamed "Buddy". The Clintons kept Buddy after they left the White House in January 2001 however the dog was hit by a car on January 2, 2002 and died.[31] The two pets were reported to not get along.[32] Clinton adopted a new dog in 2005, whom he named Seamus.[33]

Offices held

Bill Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Clinton was the third female Secretary of State and the first former First Lady to hold political office. In addition, she was the runner-up for Democratic primary for President in 2008 and was the Democratic nominee in 2016.

See also


  1. "Hillary Clinton Makes History By Claiming Democratic Presidential Nomination". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  2. "Biography of William J. Clinton". The White House. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
  3. "The Ancestors of President Bill Clinton (b. 1946)", by William Addams Reitwiesner stating : "The following material on the immediate ancestry of Bill Clinton is taken almost verbatim from Gary Boyd Roberts, Ancestors of American Presidents, First Authoritative Edition. Santa Clarita, Cal.: Boyer, 1995."
  4. "Clinton's Lost Half-Brother? To Neighbors, He's Just Leon". The New York Times. 22 June 1993. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  5. Andrews, Edmund (June 21, 1993). "Clinton Reported to Have A Brother He Never Met". New York Times.
  6. US Census, 1910, Yell County, Arkansas.
  7. Roberts, Gary Boyd. "Notes on the Ancestry of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton". New England Historic Genealogical Society. Archived from the original on June 7, 2013. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  8. In Hillary Rodham Clinton's June 3, 2008, campaign appearance in New York City following the final primaries of her presidential campaign, she said her mother would be turning 89 the following day.
  9. "Dorothy Rodham, mother of Hillary Clinton, dies at 92". Chicago Tribune. November 1, 2011. Archived from the original on November 3, 2011.
  10. 1 2 3 Clinton, Hillary Rodham (2003). Living History. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 2–11. ISBN 0-7432-2224-5.
  11. 1 2 Reitwiesner, William Addams. "The Ancestors of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton". Retrieved July 8, 2007.
  12. Clinton, Hillary Rodham. Living History. Simon & Schuster, 2003. ISBN 0-7432-2224-5. pp. 4–9.
  13. 1920 Cook Co., IL, U.S. Federal Census, Chicago, 2956 Michigan Ave., Jan. 8 & 9, Enumeration Dist. 66, sheet 4 A, page 73 A, line 34, Dorothy Howell, 7 mons. old.
  14. "First Lady Biography: Hillary Clinton". Accessed via Google cache July 10, 2007.
  15. 1 2 "Florida Vote Goes to Brother Of First Lady". The New York Times. October 5, 1994. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
  16. "A Rose Garden Wedding", The New York Times, May 30, 1994. Last accessed March 23, 2008.
  17. Argetsinger, Amy; Roberts, Roxanne (2005-10-19). "Marsha and Jack: Any Closer and ... : Surreal Estate". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-12-06.
  18. Seelye, Katherine Q.; Haughney, Christine (July 31, 2010). "Town Elbows Its Way Into Clinton Wedding". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  19. 1 2 Bocella, Kathy (July 30, 2010). "The quiet Main Liner who's marrying Chelsea Clinton". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on August 5, 2010. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  20. Baker, Peter (November 30, 2009). "Chelsea Clinton Announces Engagement". The New York Times. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
  21. Seeyle Katharine Q, ; Haughney, Christine (December 18, 2013). "Town Elbows Its Way Into Clinton Wedding". The New York Times. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  22. Heller, Jill (March 16, 2013). "Chelsea Clinton Apartment: Former First Daughter Scoops Up $10.5 Million Madison Square Park Pad In The Whitman". International Business Times. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  23. Chozick, Amy (April 17, 2014). "Chelsea Clinton Says She Is Expecting". The New York Times. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  24. "New Mom Chelsea Clinton Celebrates Baby Daughter". The New York Times. via AP. September 27, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  25. Deerwester, Jayme (June 18, 2016). "Chelsea Clinton gives birth to son Aidan". USA Today. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  26. McCarthy, Ellen (June 18, 2016). "Chelsea Clinton gives birth to second child, son Aidan". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  27. Walker, Ameena (July 29, 2016). "Chelsea Clinton's former Madison Square Park pad already in contract". Curbed NY. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  28. Confessore, Nicholas; Chozick, Amy - "Unease at Clinton Foundation Over Finances and Ambitions," The New York Times, August 14, 2013 - p. A1.
  29. Cellania, Miss. "The Nine Lives of Socks Clinton". Mental Floss. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  30. "Socks, former Clinton cat, put to sleep -". CNN. February 20, 2009. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  31. "Former first dog Buddy killed by car". CNN. January 3, 2002. Archived from the original on January 1, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
  32. "President Clinton Touts Economy While President-elect Bush Warns of Slowdown". January 12, 2001. Retrieved October 22, 2010.
  33. Halperin, Mark (June 2, 2005). "Clinton Names New Dog Seamus: It's a Chocolate Lab Named Seamus". Politics. ABC News. Retrieved April 9, 2010.
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