Born: April 13, 1878, Fayette County, Georgia.
Died: February 2, 1940, Atlanta, Georgia.
Buried: Riverdale First Baptist Church Cemetery, Riverdale, Georgia.
Claude was the son of George Washington Bottoms and Susan Elizabeth Collins, and husband of Mary Elizabeth Rivers (married 1910, Clayton County, Georgia).
Claude was educated in the public schools, and began studying music in earnest in 1898 under J. M. York. He later continued his studies under J. Henry Showalter.
After attending two sessions of the Southern Normal Musical Institute (SNMI), he received his diploma at the special session held in Dalton, Georgia, in 1902. He took a post-graduate course from the SNMI in the early part of 1904.
He began teaching in 1901, the year his first music was published in Our Thankful Songs.