Clayton, Mississippi

Clayton is located about six miles south of Tunica on Old Highway 61.  In 1940, there were two plantation stores and a population of about 20 people.  There was an old brick commissary store for years at Clayton, but was recently torn down.

The community started in 1885 and was named for Judge Alexander Mosby Clayton who purchased a large tract of land at Beaver Down.  The depot was put on his plantation and named for him.  .  Al trains stopped in Clayton because of an agreement with the railroad company when the line was built.  Clayton owned a large amount of stock in the railroad.  There never really was an organized town at Clayton, but just a community around the railroad stop and post office.  Below is the railroad map identifying Clayton.

Y&MV-1939-p39-Clayton-Maud

Alexander M. Clayton was born January 15, 1801 in Virginia and married Barbara Anne Barker in 1839. He moved to Mississippi around 1840 and appears on the U.S. Census of 1840 in Marshall County, MS.  Clayton served as U.S. Consul to Havana Cuba in 1853 and represented the state in the Provisional Confederate States Congress from February to May 1861.  After resigning, he was appointed to a district court judge.  When the civil war ended, Clayton served as state court judge from 1866 to 1869.  He was a respected lawyer and wrote frequent articles about history and other matters.

Alexander and Barbara Clayton had three children. They were Arthur who died in 1866, Clara Fant, and Mary L. Hull.  Alexander Clayton died on September 30,1889 and is buried at Hill Crest Cemetery in Holly Springs, Mississippi.  Although he never lived in Tunica County, he had a large plantation there.  Clayton owned property in Tunica, Marshall, and Benton counties.  His will was made in Benton County.  In that will, he divided his land in Tunica County evenly among his two daughters.  Clara M. Fant received about 2300 acres from his Beaver Dam plantation and Mary L. Hull received an equal amount.

A post office was established there on February 10,1886 with Rufus Kyle being the first post master.

List of Postmasters and dates:

  • Rufus Kyle – Feb. 10, 1886
  • Robert A. Stone – March 10, 1890
  • Edward W. Woodson – Jan. 16, 1891
  • Nathaniel Richmond – April 17, 1893
  • William G. Jaquess – December 19, 1895
  • John La Trade – Feb. 9, 1899
  • Joe Britt – Jan. 16, 1902
  • Mary T. Hitt – July 21, 1903
  • Lola B. Thornton – March 16, 1931
  • William L. Channell – Jan. 1, 1940
  • Joseph W. Glenn – Feb 15, 1947
  • Wallace S. Franklin – Jan. 11, 1952
  • Discontinued December 10, 1953 and all mail sent to Dundee

Map of Tunica County, 1911

MS-Tunica-County-Mississippi-1911-Map-Rand-McNally

 

 

 

 

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4 comments

  1. We have always heard that my brother, Jim, got his middle name, Clayton, from that sign on highway 49. By the time he was born, after 3 other boys, my parents had run out of names, so the story goes.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Clayton MS trivia:
        In the late 1980s this Southaven lawyer had just published his first novel when he accepted my invitation to speak at a meeting of The Friends of the R.C. Irwin Library in Tunica and told us this story:
        His final draft of “A Time To Kill” had been approved, ready for the printer when John Grisham, driving along Highway 61, saw the sign for Clayton MS. He stopped at the first pay phone (Dundee maybe?) to call his editor to change all mentions of Clayton to Clanton MS. The fictional “A Time to Kill” was to have taken place in Clayton MS.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Love that, Mr. Darby. That’s why I like to read John Grisham’s books. I can relate to the places in his books. I grew up in Lula.

    Like

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