ERBmania! Logo Porter's Dime Lecture Series

SOME SPECULATIONS REGARDING THE AMERICAN CLAYTONS

J. G. Huckenpöholer

During the 1994 ECOF in Baltimore, someone mentioned casually, "Of course you know about Tarzan's daughter." Of course I knew no such thing, so he referred me to The Man-Eater. Sure enough, in that story Virginia Scott says, "Oh, it's Mrs. Clayton and Charlotte!"(1)

But is there any indication that this is a daughter of Tarzan's? For several reasons, I believe she is not. My reasoning is as follows:

This is prima facie evidence that she had not had a daughter before this time.

So who are "Mrs. Clayton and Charlotte"? I believe they are distant cousins of Tarzan's who settled in Virginia during the English Civil War, during the period when a large number of royalists emigrated rather than swear allegiance to Cromwell. It is true that Burroughs has a tendency to draw together elements of his various series; however, I think in this case that the assumption of identity is unwarranted. Instead, I offer the following hypotheses:

Nowadays when we think of the difficulty of crossing the Atlantic during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, we tend to underestimate the amount of back-and-forth travel that occurred during the colonial period. It is worthwhile noting that, for example, one of Cromwell's top generals in the English Civil War was a Harvard graduate(3)--I believe it was Robert Overton but cannot verify that at the moment. In any case, I believe this to be the most likely explanation for the Virginia Claytons.


10. January 1995


1.Burroughs, Edgar Rice, Beyond Thirty and The Man-Eater, South Ozone Park, N. Y., Science-Fiction & Fantasy Publications, 1957, p. 141.

2.Burroughs, The Son of Tarzan, Chicago, A. C. McClurg & Co., 1917, p. 389.

3.The southern colonies tended to support the royalists during the Civil War, while New England was overwhelmingly pro-Cromwell. Several of Cromwell's top lieutenants--most notably Goffe and his son-in-law Whalley--escaped to Massachusetts at the time of the restoration, and lived there safe from retribution.