Clayton Family Papers, 1855-1922

Creator name: Clayton family.
Collection number: 4792
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Abstract: Thomas L. Clayton (1934-1905) of Asheville, N.C., was the son of Ephraim Clayton (1804-1892) and Nancy McElroy Clayton (d. 1892). He married Emma A. Clayton (1829-1887). During the Civil War, Clayton served in the Confederate army, stationed in Georgia during the Atlanta campaign in 1864, and later in Alabama. After the war, Clayton became a contractor with the Western North Carolina Railroad. Chiefly letters between Thomas L. Clayton and his wife Emma, many written while he was serving in the Confederate army. Other correspondents include Clayton’s father, mother, brother, and friends in the Confederate army. Topics include the election of Abraham Lincoln and the southern reaction, fears of possible slave uprisings, and feelings in Asheville about secession. After Thomas Clayton joined the Confederate army, there are letters relating to Thomas’s war experiences, including reports of battles around Atlanta, Ga., and Emma’s trials on the homefront. Post-war letters are chiefly about routine personal and business affairs. Also included are a few items relating to railroad surveying, damage caused by federal troops, and other matters.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Nancy Clayton wrote to her son Thomas Clayton on 7 December 1860, mentioning “frequently hearing of plans for insurrection among the negroes..”