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William C. Clayton

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Honorable

William C. Clayton
Member of the West Virginia Senate
from the 11th district
In office
1875–1879
Serving with R. B. Sherrard
David Pugh
Personal details
Born(1831-01-24)January 24, 1831
Hampshire County, Virginia (present-day West Virginia)
DiedMarch 11, 1915(1915-03-11) (aged 84)
Keyser, West Virginia
Resting placeIndian Mound Cemetery, Romney, West Virginia
Political partyDemocratic Party
Spouse(s)Isabella Paxton Schultze Clayton
ChildrenBessie Clayton
ParentsDr. Townsend Clayton (father)
Susan O'Hara Heiskell (mother)
ResidenceRomney, West Virginia
Keyser, West Virginia
Alma materUniversity of Virginia
ProfessionEducator, lawyer, politician, and businessperson

William C. Clayton (January 24, 1831 – March 11, 1915) was an American educator, lawyer, politician, and businessperson in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Clayton served in the West Virginia Senate representing the Eleventh Senatorial District of West Virginia from 1875 until 1879. He was twice principal of the Romney Classical Institute in Romney in 1853 and 1866.

Clayton was born in 1831 in Hampshire County, Virginia (present-day West Virginia). He received his early education at home from his father, Dr. Townsend Clayton, and attended Romney Academy and the Romney Classical Institute. Clayton continued his post-secondary education at the University of Virginia between 1846 and 1848. Following his graduation, he served as principal of Washington Academy in Amelia County, the Charlestown Academy in Charles Town, and the Romney Classical Institute in 1853 and 1866. He began practicing law in Romney in 1859, and relocated to Keyser in 1873 where he established a law practice.

He was elected to the West Virginia Senate in 1874 and served alongside R. B. Sherrard and David Pugh, representing the Eleventh Senatorial District. He unsuccessfully ran for election in the Twelfth Senatorial District for a judicial seat in 1883. In 1890, he served as the vice president of the West Virginia Bar Association from West Virginia's 2nd congressional district. By 1907, he was president of the Mineral County Bar Association, and in 1909 he served on the bar association's Committee on Legal Education. In 1892 Clayton was under consideration as a Democratic candidate for a long term on the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, but was not elected as the party's candidate at the state convention.

Clayton was an incorporator, shareholder, and director of several West Virginia businesses. In 1882, he was named by the Virginia General Assembly as a trustee of the Virginia and West Virginia Railroad Company. In 1889 he was an incorporator of the Alexander Boom and Lumber Company, and in 1890 he was both an incorporator and a director of the Patterson's Creek and Potomac Railroad Company. In addition, Clayton was a director of the People's Bank of Keyser. He practiced law until the year prior to his death, and died in 1915 at his residence in Keyser after an illness. Following his death, The Pittsburgh Post described Clayton as the "nestor" of the Mineral County bar.

Early life and academic career[edit]

William C. Clayton was born on January 24, 1831, in Hampshire County, Virginia (present-day West Virginia).[1][2][3] He was the son of Dr. Townsend Clayton, a physician in Hampshire County, and his wife, Susan O'Hara Heiskell Clayton. Clayton received his early education from his father at home.[4] He then received a collegiate preparatory education at both Romney Academy and Romney Classical Institute under the academic tutelage of William Henry Foote.[1][2] He continued his studies at the University of Virginia in the 1846, 1847, and 1848 academic sessions.[1][2]

Following his graduation from the University of Virginia, Clayton served as the principal of Washington Academy in Amelia County for several years, and subsequently served as the principal of the Charlestown Academy in Charles Town.[1][2] According to an advertisement for a female teacher in The Baltimore Sun on November 9, 1853, Clayton was serving as the principal of the Romney Classical Institute in 1853. Clayton stated in the advertisement that the institute was seeking an experienced female teacher to lead the school's Female Department. The candidate was to be qualified to teach French, English, and music.[5] Just after the American Civil War, in 1866, he again served as the principal of the Romney Classical Institute for several academic sessions.[6]

Law and political careers[edit]

In 1859, Clayton commenced the practice of law in Romney.[1][2][4] He continued the practice of law during his tenure as the principal of the Romney Classical Institute.[6] He relocated to Keyser in 1873 and established a law practice there.[1][2]

On September 11, 1874, he was nominated as the West Virginia Democratic Party candidate for the West Virginia Senate seat at the party's Eleventh Senatorial District Convention in Petersburg.[7] In November 1874 Clayton won his election to the senate seat and represented the district alongside R. B. Sherrard of Hardy County.[1][8][9] Clayton first served in the West Virginia Legislature's 12th Legislative Session, which convened in Charleston on January 13, 1875, and adjourned on December 23, 1875.[10] He served in the 13th Legislative Session of 1876,[2][11] and in the 14th legislative session of 1877 when he served as senator from the Eleventh Senatorial District alongside David Pugh of Hampshire County.[1][12] Clayton served in the state senate until 1879.[13][14]

In the Judicial Election of November 6, 1883, in the Twelfth Senatorial District, Clayton ran for election against J. D. Armstrong and lost with 1,969 votes to Armstrong's 6,203.[15] In 1887 Clayton was admitted to practice law in the courts of Randolph County.[16] By 1890, Clayton was still engaged in the practice of law with a lucrative practice in Keyser.[1] He was a member of the West Virginia Bar Association, and in 1890 he served as a vice president of the organization from West Virginia's 2nd congressional district. In June 1890, Clayton attended the association's meeting on Blennerhassett Island, near Parkersburg, where he served on a committee that drafted the bar association's resolution on the legal rights of married women.[17] On July 1 of that year, Clayton was also selected to serve on the association's Committee of Legal Biography, on which he served as its chairperson.[18] In 1907 he was president of the Mineral County Bar Association.[19] By 1909, he served on the West Virginia Bar Association's Committee on Legal Education. He attended the association's annual meeting in Webster Springs, July 7–8, 1909.[20]

In March 1891, Clayton and C. Wood Daily of Keyser argued on behalf of the West Virginia Central and Pittsburgh Railway Company in a mandamus case at the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia brought by a director of the company, W. Irvine Cross. Alex Shaw of Baltimore claimed his right to cumulate his stock ownership in the company, and elected Cross as a director of the company. On March 24, the court ruled that the company was governed by the cumulative method, and therefore, Cross was entitled to his director seat.[21]

In April 1892, Clayton was under consideration as a Democratic candidate for a long term on the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.[22] At the West Virginia Democratic Party State Convention in August 1892, held in Parkersburg, Marmaduke H. Dent was elected as the party's candidate for election to the long term, beating out Clayton, Joseph Moreland, and Robert W. Monroe.[23]

Business pursuits[edit]

Clayton was an incorporator, shareholder, and director of several West Virginia businesses. On February 21, 1882, the Virginia General Assembly passed an act of incorporation of the Virginia and West Virginia Railroad Company and named Clayton as one of the "body corporate and politic" of the company. The railroad was to have been constructed from the West Virginia–Virginia state line in either Frederick or Shenandoah counties in Virginia to Alexandria or another point on the Potomac River near Alexandria.[24] In July 1889, Clayton was an incorporator with $100 in shares of the Alexander Boom and Lumber Company, which constructed, operated, and maintained log booms across the Buckhannon River near the confluence of the river's Left Fork and Right Fork tributaries in Upshur County.[25]

Clayton was an incorporator and a director of the Patterson's Creek and Potomac Railroad Company, which was chartered on March 15, 1900 with a capital stock of $20,000.[26][27] The railroad was to be constructed from Patterson Creek on the North Branch Potomac River, to a point along the North Branch Potomac River between Short Gap and Pinto, thus acting as a 5.42-mile (8.72 km) cut-off around the congested Cumberland Rail Yard in Cumberland.[26][27][28] The railroad was to reduce the distance along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Main Line by 10.5 miles (16.9 km).[27] The Patterson's Creek and Potomac Railroad Company was charged with the railroad's construction and was to operate the venture from an office in Keyser.[26] On April 5, 1900, the company was formally organized at a meeting held at a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad office in Keyser where Clayton was elected as a director.[27] It was decided at the meeting that construction was to begin on both ends of the railroad, which was to include the construction of one tunnel measuring 4,000 feet (1,200 m) in length.[27] By January 1901, no track had been laid, and the tunnel had not begun construction, which had been estimated to take a year to complete.[29] The railroad was completed in 1903, and by 1905, it was assessed at a value of $67,850.00 and known as the "Pinto Cut-Off."[28][30] By 1912, the Patterson's Creek and Potomac Railroad Company had become a subsidiary of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and on September 25 of that year, it was finally merged with its parent company along with its other West Virginia subsidiaries.[31][32]

In March 1909, Clayton was reelected as a director of the People's Bank of Keyser.[33]

Later life and death[edit]

He continued to be active into his later years. In 1912 he participated in an automotive procession to Moorefield with other prominent local attorneys to attend the funeral of Moorefield lawyer Benjamin Dailey.[34] Clayton continued to practice law until the year before his death in 1915.[13][14]

Obelisk gravestone of Clayton, his brother Charles T. Clayton, and his sister-in-law Laura D. Clayton, at Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney.

Clayton died on March 11, 1915, at his residence in Keyser at the age of 84, following an illness.[13][35][36] Clayton was survived by his sister Clara Clayton, and his nephew Charles T. Clayton of Washington, D.C., who was a private secretary to David John Lewis, U.S. House Representative from Maryland. In his obituary in The Pittsburgh Post, Clayton was described as the "nestor" of the Mineral County bar.[13][14] He was interred at Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney near his wife, Isabella.[35] He shares an obelisk gravestone with his brother Charles T. Clayton and sister-in-law Laura D. Clayton.[35]

Personal life and marriage[edit]

Clayton married Isabella Paxton Schultze (March 9, 1835 – September 27, 1891). Schultze was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 9, 1835, and was the daughter of Dr. Robert Schultze and his wife Elizabeth "Bessie" Armstrong Schultze.[35] Her sister was Elizabeth "Bessie" Jane Schultze, the first wife of Christian Streit White, Hampshire County Clerk of Court and, later, President of the West Virginia Fish Commission.[37][38][39] Her father, Dr. Robert Schultze, was a professor of foreign languages at the University of Edinburgh.[40] Dr. Schultze also served in the British Diplomatic Service.[37][40] Clayton and his wife had one child, Bessie Clayton, who was born on October 3, 1873, and died on August 21, 1874.[35]

On September 27, 1891, at 19:00, Clayton's wife died at their residence in Keyser as a result of contracting typhoid fever. She was buried at Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney.[35][41]

Religion[edit]

Clayton was of Presbyterian faith and was an active member and a ruling elder of the Winchester Presbytery.[13][14] In May 1895, Clayton served on a special committee that conducted in an investigation over the expulsion of members of the Presbytery's church in Gerrardstown.[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Atkinson & Gibbens 1890, p. 955.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 495.
  3. ^ Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 491.
  4. ^ a b West Virginia Bar Association 1915, p. 139.
  5. ^ "Female Teacher Wanted". The Sun. Baltimore. November 9, 1853. p. 3. Archived from the original on June 24, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  6. ^ a b Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 299.
  7. ^ "Nominations". The Weekly Register. Point Pleasant, West Virginia. October 1, 1874. p. 2. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Chronicling America.
  8. ^ "West Virginia Legislature". Spirit of Jefferson. Charles Town, West Virginia. November 17, 1874. p. 2. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Chronicling America.
  9. ^ "Where The Senators Reside". The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. Wheeling, West Virginia. November 12, 1875. p. 4. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Chronicling America.
  10. ^ Lewis 1889, pp. 456–457.
  11. ^ Atkinson & Gibbens 1890, p. 66.
  12. ^ "Our Next Legislature". Spirit of Jefferson. Charles Town, West Virginia. November 7, 1876. p. 1. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Chronicling America.
  13. ^ a b c d e "William C. Clayton". The Pittsburgh Post. March 13, 1915. p. 2. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  14. ^ a b c d "Attorney William C. Clayton". The Gazette Times. Pittsburgh. March 13, 1915. p. 3. Archived from the original on June 4, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  15. ^ Atkinson & Gibbens 1890, p. 134.
  16. ^ Bosworth 2009, p. 179.
  17. ^ "The Bar Association". The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. Wheeling, West Virginia. June 27, 1890. p. 1. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Chronicling America.
  18. ^ "The Bar Association". The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. Wheeling, West Virginia. July 2, 1890. p. 1. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Chronicling America.
  19. ^ West Virginia Bar Association 1908, p. 214.
  20. ^ West Virginia Bar Association 1910, pp. 178–179.
  21. ^ "Shaw Wins The Fight". The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. Wheeling, West Virginia. March 25, 1891. p. 1. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Chronicling America.
  22. ^ "State Politics". The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. Wheeling, West Virginia. April 26, 1892. p. 4. Archived from the original on October 6, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Chronicling America.
  23. ^ "The State Convention". Spirit of Jefferson. Charles Town, West Virginia. August 2, 1892. p. 2. Archived from the original on October 6, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Chronicling America.
  24. ^ Virginia General Assembly 1882, p. 181.
  25. ^ "Wheeling Capitalists". The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. Wheeling, West Virginia. July 27, 1889. p. 4. Archived from the original on July 6, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Chronicling America.
  26. ^ a b c "Incorporations". The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. Wheeling, West Virginia. March 16, 1900. p. 4. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Chronicling America.
  27. ^ a b c d e "Business Booming". The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. Wheeling, West Virginia. April 9, 1900. p. 6. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Chronicling America.
  28. ^ a b Tribune Printing Company 1907, p. 308.
  29. ^ "Construction". Railway Age. 31: 57. January 18, 1901. Archived from the original on April 13, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Google Books.
  30. ^ Brooks 1910, p. 62.
  31. ^ "Subsidiaries of B. & O. in West Virginia to Be Merged". The Daily Courier. Connellsville, Pennsylvania. September 17, 1912. p. 1. Archived from the original on July 23, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  32. ^ "B. & O. Subsidiaries to Be Merged". The Pittsburgh Post. September 14, 1912. p. 16. Archived from the original on July 23, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  33. ^ "Bank Officers Elected". The Evening Times. Cumberland, Maryland. March 11, 1909. p. 11. Archived from the original on October 6, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  34. ^ "Attending Funeral". The Evening Times. Cumberland, Maryland. October 11, 1912. p. 10. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  35. ^ a b c d e f "Indian Mound Cemetery: A-C Listing for All Sections". HistoricHampshire.org. HistoricHampshire.org, Charles C. Hall. Archived from the original on January 28, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  36. ^ "Death Record Detail: William C. Clayton". West Virginia Vital Research Records. West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Archived from the original on October 6, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  37. ^ a b Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 743.
  38. ^ "Marriage Record Detail: Christian Streit White". West Virginia Vital Research Records. West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Archived from the original on June 19, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  39. ^ "Marriage Record Detail: Christian Streit White". West Virginia Vital Research Records. West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Archived from the original on June 19, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  40. ^ a b Atkinson 1919, p. 438.
  41. ^ "Death Record Detail: Mrs. William C. Clayton". West Virginia Vital Research Records. West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  42. ^ "Winchester Presbytery". Spirit of Jefferson. Charles Town, West Virginia. May 14, 1895. p. 2. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015 – via Chronicling America.

Bibliography[edit]

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