WALTER E. CLAYTON.
During the ten years in which he has been engaged in mercantile pursuits in Johnston City, Walter E. Clayton has identified himself with a number of the leading business enterprises of this place, and has always been associated with movements of a progressive nature. While not a native born citizen of this place, he was brought to Williamson county by his parents in 1858, and here he has since claimed his home. Mr. Clayton was born in Robertson county, Tennessee, January 18, 1856. His father, Lambert S. Clayton, who died in Johnston City in May, 1909, was born in that same locality, June 23, 1822, and was a descendant of Revolutionary ancestry and a son of a North Carolinian farmer who died and was buried in Williamson county. Lambert S. Clayton married Miss Mary Ann Dorris, a daughter of Simpson Dorris, also from Tennessee, and she died in 1907, at the age of seventy-six years, having been the mother of the following children: Lizzie, the wife of James Stevenson, of Johnston City; Walter E.; Harriet, who married James H. Williams, and died at Carterville, Illinois; David, residing at West Frankfort; Ella, the wife of C. C. Gamble, of Johnston City; and Viola, who married Cyrus Lawrence, also of this city.
Walter E. Clayton grew up three miles northeast of Johnston City, and received his education in the district schools. On reaching manhood he took up the vocation of his father, and subsequently engaged in buying and shipping livestock to Chicago and St. Louis, following both occupations until thirty-two years of age, when he became identified with railroad contract work. He accepted grading contracts and completed contracts on the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad, the Illinois Central Railroad and the Frisco Railroad from Sapulpa, Oklahoma, to Denison, Texas, and then built a part of the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf, west from Oklahoma City, to Arapaho, at which point he concluded his several years of work at this strenuous business. Notwithstanding, some of his contracts lay through the heart of the Creek Nation of Indians, yet one of the most dangerous tribes on the continent, nothing of an alarming nature occurred as a result of his forced association with them. His last contract took him among the more recently barbarous tribes of the Arapahoes, the Kiowas and the Comanches, where he had ample opportunity to observe the effects of the Government's civilizing influence upon the once terrors of the prairies.
On returning to Illinois Mr. Clayton soon embarked in the mercantile business in Johnston City, purchasing the interest of one of the Lee brothers and subsequently taking over the interest of the other brother. He is one of the directors of the Johnston City State Bank and one of the original men to petition for its charter, and was one of the promoters of the Pioneer Building and Loan Association of this place.
On September 14, 1876, Mr. Clayton was married to Miss Cora E. Harper, who came to this state from North Carolina in 1860, a daughter of John Harper. Mr. and Mrs. Clayton have had the following children: Leonard L., with the Stotlar-Herrin Lumber Company, at Johnston City; Mary A., the wife of J. O.. Sledge, of Denver, Colorado; J. Herman, city attorney of Johnston City; Miss Della, residing in this city; Gracie, residing in Denver, Colorado; Eula, a teacher in the schools of Johnston City; and Miss Ruby, who is attending school. The Claytons are actively identified with the Missionary Baptist church, and in the past Mr. Clayton was one of the officials of the Johnston City congregation and served the Sabbath-schools as its superintendent. In his capacity as a fraternity man he has never allied himself with any secret body other than the Modern Woodmen of America. He has been active in the upbuilding and development of Johnston City, where his business associations are many and his friends legion.