Monday, September 14, 2009

Thompson Clayton

There were several different sets of Clayton families in early Itawamba County. Perhaps the most well-known is the family of Col. W. L. Clayton, lawyer and Civil War veteran, who lived in the area around Mooreville in what became part of Lee County. Another set of Claytons lived in and around Tremont along the state line, part of the Middleton Clayton line. I'm familiar with this family as Middleton's daughter Henrietta married Thomas Evans, brother to my GGG grandfather William Evans. Another set of Claytons lived south of Fulton near Tilden, and it is this family that I am concerned with today.

Thompson Clayton moved to Itawamba County from Alabama about 1865, based on the birthplaces given for some of his children. He was born about 1820-1825 in South Carolina, probably Spartanburg County, and lived for a spell in Cherokee County, Georgia before moving with his wife and children to DeKalb County, Alabama around 1858. Thompson was married to Patience Malinda, who was born about 1825 in South Carolina. These facts are known.

Deed records in the Itawamba County courthouse indicate that Thompson bought land in 1867 from Elizabeth Harrison and in 1870 from M. C. Cummings. This land today is located west of Nita Lake Road, about half-way between Highway 78 and Highway 25 South. Thompson farmed the land with the help of his sons. He and his wife died sometime between 1880 and 1900, the last record of them being the 1880 census. I do not know where they are buried, probably in an unmarked grave on their property.

Census and family records show the following children for Thompson and Malinda:

Nathaniel Merida
Elijah Davis
Eda J.
Hamilton Brooks
Matilda Tabitha
Noah T.
Daniel James

The rest of the story about Thompson Clayton is pure speculation, however it is based on strong information. I believe that our Itawamba Thompson belongs to the Claytons who lived along Motley's Creek (sometimes Motlow) in northwestern Spartanburg County in the late 1700s and early 1800s. His father was likely the elder Thompson Clayton who owned land there and is found in the early census records. The elder Thompson is also found in the church records of Holly Spring Baptist Church of Christ, a Primitive Baptist church. Today, the cemetery of this church is filled with Claytons and Brashears. Thompson Sr. died 1840-1841. The names of his wife and children are not known - as yet.

The Brashears family is closely intertwined with the Spartanburg Claytons. In fact, it is believed that Patience Matilda, our Thompson Jr.'s wife, was a Brashears, probably the daughter of Merida Brashears. I refer to her as Patience Malinda because she is found as Patience in the 1850, 1860 and 1880 censuses, and as Malinda in the 1870 census. Merida Brashears has been found also as Meredith and Meriday, and it is believed that Patience Malinda named her first-born son after her supposed father: Nathaniel Merida Clayton. There is no proof that I have found that supports this conclusion however, only strong indications. No Brashears have been determined to have moved to Itawamba County.

More to come on the Claytons.

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