HENRY N. CLAYTON. - Henry N. Clayton, living on section 28, Ball township, follows general farming and is a highly respected citizen of his community. He deserves mention especially in this volume because he is a native son of his township, having been born there August 22, 1857. His father, Alexander Clayton, was born in September, 1829, and the grandfather, John S. Clayton, was born in Kentucky in 1804. The great-grandfather of our subject was of Scotch ancestry and was one of the early settlers of Kentucky. His son, John S., was reared and educated there and in that state married Elizabeth Clayton, daughter of John Clayton. The grandfather became a farmer of Bourbon county, Kentucky, and in 1829 he removed to Illinois, locating in Morgan county. Soon after the birth of his son Alexander, however, he returned to Kentucky and there resided until the following year, when he once more established his home in Morgan county, Illinois. About 1838 he removed to Sangamon county, locating in Ball township, where he spent his last days, his death occurring in 1860, when he was fifty-five years of age. His wife survived him for a number of years and died at the age of seventy-three.
Alexander Clayton was a lad of five summers when he became a resident of Sangamon county and was reared upon the old home farm, plowing his first furrows in Ball township. He remained with his father until twenty-three years of age and was then married on the 3d of February, 1852, the lady of his choice being Miss Mary Marshall, who was born in the city of Newark, New Jersey. In her childhood days she accompanied her father to Illinois and her death occurred in Sangamon county in July, 1861. After his marriage, Alexander Clayton located where he now resides and became the owner of a well improved farm, placing his land under a high state of cultivation. He had two sons by his first marriage, Charles E. Clayton, now a resident of Pawnee, Illinois, and Henry N., of this review. For his second wife he chose Sadie Jane Penich, who was born in Ball township, Sangamon county, and who died in 1893. There is a son and three daughters by this marriage.
Henry N. Clayton was reared in the county of his nativity and educated in the district school near his home. His school privileges, however, were limited, for his services were largely needed upon the home farm, and it was only through the winter months that he was enabled to give his attention to the duties of the school room. He remained with his father until twenty-eight years of age and he and his brother took charge and operated the old homestead. In Ball township, in August, 1887, he was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Lord, who was also born, reared and educated in Ball township, her parents being Josiah and Nellie Lord, who were likewise natives of Sangamon county.
After his marriage Henry N. Clayton located on a farm east of Glenarm, comprising one hundred and ninety acres, which had been inherited by his wife. This he began to cultivate and improve and they lived there six or seven years, on the expiration of which period he purchased seventy-five acres of land, on which he now resides. This was then improved. Still later he bought sixty acres of his father's old home place and he now owns altogether three hundred and forty acres of valuable land in two farms, improved with two sets of buildings. He is engaged in the raising of grain and also in raising and feeding stock, and he fattens on an average of six or ten carloads of cattle and hogs annually. He is one of the extensive feeders and shippers of his township and his business has reached very profitable proportions.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Clayton have been born four sons: Floyd Alexander, Harry J., Fred and Ralph Porter. Politically, Mr. Clayton is a stanch Democrat, voting with the party since he cast his first ballot for Grover Cleveland. He has served as assessor and school director for a number of years, but has not been an active politician in the sense of office seeking. In fact, he has declined to fill a number of public offices, to which his fellow townsmen would have called him, preferring to give his aid to the county as a private citizen. His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and both are widely and favorably known in Sangamon county.