There are 37 communities named Clayton around the world. Most of them are very small, fewer than 1,000 people. There are 5 Claytons in the United Kingdom. The largest is in West Yorkshire and has 17,000 residents. One of England’s Clayton’s has been swallowed up by the city of Manchester and has a population of 16,000. My favorite Great Britain Clayton is Clayton-le-Woods in Lancashire. The Claytons in England were usually name for barons. There have been 3 of them with that surname.
There are 30 Claytons in the United States. You don’t hear very much about them because the largest one has a population of only 23,000. It is in North Carolina and is the largest Clayton in the world. The Clayton in Tennessee is so tiny that I only know about it because it’s near Reelfoot Lake. This fairly large body of water was completely created by the massive 1811 earthquake in the Missouri Bootheel. The 2nd largest Clayton is in Victoria, Australia. It has a population of only about 20,000 people. There is a town called Clayton Bay in South Australia. It began life as Clayton, and only about 350 people live there. This brings the total number of Claytons to 37.
No one Clayton was the inspiration for so many towns, but Clayton is a fairly common name. One of them may have been named for Ruth Clayton. This Ruth was a 20th century British medical researcher. Chris Clayton was a Royal Navy Pilot and admiral. Pat Clayton was a noted desert explorer. Jan Clayton was a fairly successful actress. Her biggest role was playing the mother of the boy whom Lassie the dog repeatedly rescued in early TV.
So all the Clayton towns in the world were named for barons, politicians like members of Congress or Parliament, military figures, writers, musicians, actors, athletes, and fictional characters. The bassist for U2 was Adam Clayton. Clayton Moore played The Lone Ranger for many years. Four Brazilian footballers have or had Clayton for their first names. George Clooney won an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for playing a law firm fixer named Michael Clayton. This movie got a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Clayton I’m most familiar with is Clayton, MO. This town of 16,000 has become a suburb of St. Louis and is a business and restaurant magnet for the entire area. It was named for Ralph Clayton, a farmer from Virginia who moved to Missouri in the 1830s. Part of Washington University is in Clayton.