Clinton family

The Clinton family is an American political family related to Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States (1993–2001), and his wife Hillary Clinton, the 67th United States Secretary of State (2009–2013), Senator from New York (2001–2009) and the First Lady of the United States (1993–2001). Their immediate family was the First Family of the United States from 1993 to 2001. 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 to each be nominated for president.[1] Hillary was defeated in the election by television personality, real estate developer and businessman Donald Trump.

Coat of Arms of Bill Clinton.svg
Clinton family.jpg
Bill, Hillary and Chelsea during the presidency of Bill Clinton
Current regionArkansas and New York, United States
Place of originArkansas
MembersBill Clinton
Hillary Clinton
Chelsea Clinton
Connected membersWilliam Jefferson Blythe Jr.
Virginia Dell Cassidy
Roger Clinton Sr.
Roger Clinton Jr.
Jeff Dwire
Four members of the family in January 2009. From left to right, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Dorothy Rodham, and the unrelated then-Vice President Joe Biden.

They are not related to Founding Father and vice president George Clinton and his nephew New York Governor DeWitt Clinton.


Paternal familyEdit

Bill Clinton's father, William Jefferson Blythe Jr. (February 27, 1918 – 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 Scotch-Irish descent, with family lines in North America since the days of the Thirteen Colonies.[3][4][5]

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 an investigation by The Washington Post, 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.[6]

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, on 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.[7][8]

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.[9]

Maternal familyEdit

Bill Clinton's mother, Virginia Dell Cassidy was of Irish ancestry[10] (later Virginia Dell Blythe Clinton Dwire Kelley), she 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 25 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. 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).[11] 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.

On 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."

Family of Chelsea ClintonEdit

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.[12] 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.[13] 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.[13] They first were reported to be a couple in 2005, and became engaged over Thanksgiving weekend in 2009.[14] Following their wedding, the couple lived for three years in New York City's Gramercy Park neighborhood,[15] later purchasing a condominium in the NoMad District of Manhattan for $10.5 million.[16] Clinton announced in April 2014 that they were expecting their first child.[17] Their daughter Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky, was born in September 2014,[18] their first son Aidan Clinton Mezvinsky, was born in June 2016.[19][20] Shortly after Aidan was born, the family moved to the nearby Flatiron District.[21] Chelsea Clinton worked as an NBC reporter and currently works with the Clinton Foundation.[22] Their second son Jasper Clinton Mezvinsky, was born in July 2019.[23]


Socks with Clinton's secretary Betty Currie.
Buddy being walked by the Clintons on the White House lawn in 1998.

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.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26] The two pets were reported to not get along.[27] Clinton adopted a new dog in 2005, whom he named Seamus.[28]

Offices heldEdit

Bill Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary 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 alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Hillary Clinton Makes History By Claiming Democratic Presidential Nomination". 26 July 2016. Retrieved August 25, 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. ^ "About the Ulster-Scots".
  5. ^ "Ulster-Scots and the United States Presidents" (PDF). Ulster-Scots Agency.
  6. ^ "Clinton's Lost Half-Brother? To Neighbors, He's Just Leon". The New York Times. June 22, 1993. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  7. ^ Jackman, Tom (1993-10-17). "The First Dad". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved 2021-11-21.
  8. ^ Rotstein, Arthur H. (1993-08-06). "Clinton Family Keeps Growing and Growing and Growing ..." Associated Press. Retrieved 2021-11-21.
  9. ^ Andrews, Edmund (June 21, 1993). "Clinton Reported to Have A Brother He Never Met". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "President Clinton/Cassidy Connection | Cassidy Clan".
  11. ^ US Census, 1910, Yell County, Arkansas.
  12. ^ Seelye, Katherine Q.; Haughney, Christine (July 31, 2010). "Town Elbows Its Way Into Clinton Wedding". The New York Times. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
  13. ^ a b 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.
  14. ^ Baker, Peter (November 30, 2009). "Chelsea Clinton Announces Engagement". The New York Times. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
  15. ^ Seeyle Katharine Q, Haughney, Christine (December 18, 2013). "Town Elbows Its Way Into Clinton Wedding". The New York Times. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Chozick, Amy (April 17, 2014). "Chelsea Clinton Says She Is Expecting". The New York Times. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  18. ^ "New Mom Chelsea Clinton Celebrates Baby Daughter". The New York Times. September 27, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  19. ^ Deerwester, Jayme (June 18, 2016). "Chelsea Clinton gives birth to son Aidan". USA Today. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  20. ^ McCarthy, Ellen (June 18, 2016). "Chelsea Clinton gives birth to second child, son Aidan". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  21. ^ Walker, Ameena (July 29, 2016). "Chelsea Clinton's former Madison Square Park pad already in contract". Curbed NY. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  22. ^ Confessore, Nicholas; Chozick, Amy - "Unease at Clinton Foundation Over Finances and Ambitions," The New York Times, August 14, 2013 - p. A1.[1]
  23. ^ Clinton, Chelsea [@ChelseaClinton] (January 22, 2019). "Marc and I have loved watching Charlotte be such a wonderful big sister and we're excited to watch Aidan become a big brother! We cannot wait to meet our newest addition later this summer" (Tweet). Retrieved January 29, 2019 – via Twitter.
  24. ^ Cellania, Miss (24 February 2009). "The Nine Lives of Socks Clinton". Mental Floss. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  25. ^ "Socks, former Clinton cat, put to sleep". CNN. February 20, 2009. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  26. ^ "Former first dog Buddy killed by car". CNN. January 3, 2002. Archived from the original on January 1, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
  27. ^ "President Clinton Touts Economy While President-elect Bush Warns of Slowdown". CNN. January 12, 2001. Retrieved October 22, 2010.
  28. ^ Halperin, Mark (June 2, 2005). "Clinton Names New Dog Seamus: It's a Chocolate Lab Named Seamus". Politics. ABC News. Retrieved April 9, 2010.