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Clayton, North Carolina (NC)

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"Clayton - The Premier Community for Active Families"

The town of Clayton, named for Delaware Sen. John Middleton Clayton (1796-1856), was built on the road that was cut by Governor Tryon's troops as they marched from New Bern to Hillsborough against the Regulators around 1770.

Nearly 100 years later the railroad came through and the community had its first name - Stallings' Station, since the depot for the North Carolina Railroad was in the home of Mrs. Sarah Stallings. The name lasted only three years, however, before officially becoming Clayton. The Town of Clayton was incorporated in 1869. Today, it is the second largest town in Johnston County.
 
The first post office was located just southeast of the present site, under the name of Gulley's Store. On January 30, 1856, the name was officially changed to Clayton.
 
By the early 1900's, the Clayton had become a major market for cotton, watermelons and tobacco. In 1907, the Raleigh Evening Times of nearby Raleigh wrote that there was "more money per capita in Clayton than any city its size in the world."

As dark began to fall on December 18, 1913, the town of Clayton put the finishing touches on its first electric plant and pulled the switch, and the town has been served by Clayton Public Power ever since.

On Monday, May 5, 1969, John T. Talton asked the permission of the Board to plant a "Time Capsule," which would contain records of the Centennial that was being observed at that time. The Council approved the proposal and a ceremony was held prior to the planting. The capsule will not be reopened until the year 2069. The capsule, a four and a half foot vault weighing 600 pounds, was initially placed at what is now known as the Town Annex, has a marker, and was relocated at the Second Street side of The Clayton Center in 2006.

On October 19, 1981, the town's charter was amended to the Council-Manager form of government, which means the Town Council hires an administrator or manager to oversee the daily operations of the town including the hiring of town employees, administration of the budget, and management of operations.

The 2006 population of Clayton was 13,842, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. One of the fastest growing towns in one of North Carolina's fastest growing counties, Clayton has more than 700 companies doing business in Clayton and employing nearly 7,700 people (2003 U.S. Census Bureau industry data).

Clayton, at just over 10 square miles, is home to the Hocutt-Ellington library, one of the few municipal libraries in North Carolina, a first class facility with a dynamic children's room, reading programs and an extensive collection.

The town also is home to the Clayton Center, which features a 600-seat auditorium that was renovated from the former Clayton school buildings into a state-of-the-art performance and conference center. It is home to the Palladian Series, a professional performance series that runs between October and May annually. The auditorium also is rented to local groups for pageants, concerts and presentations.

And Clayton's Harvest Festival - the Clayton Chamber's largest event of the year - brings artists and craftsmen from the local region and around the state to Clayton annually in September. The Clayton Art Faire, sponsored by Clayton Visual Arts committee, is held each year in June in conjunction with Millstock, a local music and crafts festival.

Find out more about Johnston County, NC -

  • Town of: Benson, NC
  • Town of: Four Oaks, NC
  • Town of: Garner, NC
  • Town of: Smithfield, NC
  • Town of Selma, NC

  • Sources:
    Town of Clayton: <http://www.townofclaytonnc.org/> and <http://www.townofclaytonnc.org/CommunityHistory.aspx> and <http://www.townofclaytonnc.org/Government/Default.aspx>
    Clayton Chamber: <http://claytonchamber.com/index.php>