History Of The Town Of Clayton NC

Dated: 10/15/2017

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The community which hasgrown into the Town of Clayton was built on a road cut by Governor Tryon’stroops around 1770 as they marched North from New Bern to Hillsborough againstthe Regulators. Nearly 100 years later the railroad came through and the communityhad it’s first name—Stallings’ Station, since the depot for the North CarolinaRailroad was in the home of Mrs. Sarah Stallings. The name lasted only threeyears, however, before officially becoming Clayton, named for a senator fromDelaware. Incorporation followed in 1869.The new town was far fromprosperous, however the Civil War made a depressed local economy even worse.Many prominent citizens moved away during that period.Clayton-Covered-BridgeBut, following the war, therailroad was extended and businesses began to pop up. Ashley Horne developed asuccessful farming and merchandising business to become one of the mostsuccessful merchants and manufacturers in all of North Carolina. Horne’s successinspired two other men, McCullers and Barbour, to open businesses that also didwell, beginning an era of growth that lasted well into the next century. Amongthe businesses that flourished during that time were lumber plants, a brickkiln, a cotton gin, a gristmill, a sawmill, tobacco warehouses, cotton millsand a turpentine distillery.By the early 1900’s, thetown had become a major market for cotton, watermelons and tobacco. In 1907,the Raleigh Evening Times of nearby Raleigh wrote that there was “more moneyper capita in Clayton than any city its size in the world”Unfortunately, the townlost its financial eminence in the 1930’s with the onset of the GreatDepression, and its population grew slowly for the next forty years. The threelocal cotton mills continued to be a major source of jobs during that time,with 1,000 employees, but the local economy was modest and cotton was soon onits way out. By the early 1960’s the mills were gone and cotton was no longer aplayer in the local economy. But, tobacco was in, and the population shot upfor awhile before settling back down as farming became less and lessprofitable.Today, it is a thrivingcommunity and the second largest town in Johnston County. Source: visitclayton.org

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