CLAYTON, JOSEPH, wholesale grocery merchant, of Jacksonville, Morgan County, Ill., was born near Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England, July 24, 1830. He is the eldest son of Matthew and Hannah (Buckley) Clayton, also natives of England, his father being born March 6, 1806. He was a fancy weaver by occupation, a trade which his son, Joseph, learned at an early age. Matthew Clayton came to the United States in 1851, the mother being dead, and Joseph and another son, William, and three sisters, Martha, Emma and Harriet, remained behind for a year, then followed the father to this country, the family settling in North Lee, Mass.
On April 7, 1857, Mr. Clayton, his father and ten other men made a journey together to the Territory of Minnesota, taking up adjoining tracts of land near Waseca. As it was found impossible to earn any money in that region, Mr. Clayton returned to the East, rejoined his wife in Uxbridge, Mass., and resumed his old occupation. From 1863 to 1874 he was designer and superintendent of the Merrimack Woolen Mills, at Lowell, Mass., and in August, 1881, assumed a like position at Joseph Capp and Sons' Woolen Mills, at Jacksonville, which he continued to hold for about five years. He then formed a partnership with his son-in-law, W. A. Jenkinson, in the retail grocery business, and later (in 1895) in a wholesale grocery.
On March 31, 1857, Mr. Clayton was united in marriage in Uxbridge, Mass., with Urania Taft, a daughter of Azra and Susan (Keith) Taft, who died in 1865, leaving two daughters - Susan, wife of Clarence Woodbury, and residing at Waseca, Minn., and Ellen M., wife of W. A. Jenkinson, of Jacksonville. In 1872 Mr. Clayton was married to Harriet A. Chase, of Pelham, N.H. and their union resulted in two children - Annie Urania and Maude Elizabeth.