Biography of William Clayton
La Salle County, Il Biographies


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William Clayton was born in Philadelphia, Pa., March 13, 1806, where his parents settled the year before, coming from England. The year of his birth they moved to Wellsburg, W. Va., where he grew to manhood. In April, 1834, he came with his wife and four children to La Salle County, Ill., and located on section 32, Deer Park Township, buying a claim on the Esdell estate, on which was a small log house. Mr. Clayton was one of the prominent early settlers and was the first Supervisor of the township. He also served as Justice of the Peace several years. About 1873 he moved to Iroquois County and laid out the town of Claytonville, which was named in his honor. He was a man of marked characteristics and was held in the highest esteem by his friends and acquaintances. He died at the residence of his son, John S., Dec. 3, 1885. Mr. Clayton was married in West Virginia to Elizabeth Puntney, who was born near Ellicott's Mills, Md., June 19, 1803, of German English parentage. Their family consisted of eleven children, four born in West Virginia and seven in Deer Park Township. James W. was killed in Colorado in 1874 while locating a stock ranch near Greeley. Sarah A. is the wife of David Dick, of Deer Park Township. Unity A. died Dec. 4, 1849, aged eighteen years. Caroline C. is the wife of James Reynolds, of Deer Park Township. William R. and John S. are also prominent citizens of Deer Park. George W. was an extensive stock dealer in the West. and while taking a drove of cattle and horses from Texas to Colorado in the spring of 1871, was murdered, probably by his Mexican assistant. His body was found unburied with the fatal bullet hole in his head. Manning W. served in the Union army in the war of the Rebellion, and died in 1865, soon after his return home. Ellen C. is the wife of Captain S. A. Lodge, of Monticello, Piatt Co., Ill. Reason J. and Olive V. died in infancy. Mrs. Clayton died Sept. 13, 1873. "Mother Clayton, "as she was called, was a very remarkable woman, well calculated to face the dangers and privations of pioneer life. She was possessed of a bright, sunny disposition, always trying to take a cheerful view of her surroundings, yet with a determination of character and courage that carried out any project which she undertook. When she came to La Salle County, wild game was abundant and when necessary she did not scruple to procure meat for her family by the use of the rifle. At one time she wounded a deer but as she could not leave her children to follow it, it escaped. The first year after their settlement in the county, Mr. Clayton planted some sod corn, and in the fall he and his second daughter had the ague and his son the bilious fever. The physician, Dr. Hatch, lived about three miles distant. Mrs. Clayton was obliged, as help was hard to get and neighbors few, to do the work in the field and take care of her house and sick ones. Often has she rode after the doctor, and on her return home mounted her horse and gone to the Vermillion bottoms for the cows; and when at different times of the night the cattle would break into the corn field she would go out and take Old Logan, the leader, by the horn and lead him home, and chain him to a tree till morning. Her life was an eventful one, oftentimes fraught with danger and trial, yet always marked by good thoughts, good words and good deeds. Her friends were legion, as

"None knew her but to love her,
None named her but to praise."

History of La Salle County, Illinois
Inter-State Publishing Co.
Chicago 1886