MARCUS D. CLAYTON . - For almost three score years and ten Marcus D. Clayton has traveled life's journey and there have been many events which mark, as milestones, his progress in the business world and also indicate the development of a strong character and honorable purpose. He was for many years an active farmer of Christian and Sangamon counties and is now living retired in Divernon. In 1841 he became a resident of this county.
His birth occurred in Caldwell county, Kentucky, March 16, 1834, his parents being John S. and Elizabeth Clayton. The father was born in Caldwell county in 1805, and after his marriage to Elizabeth, daughter of John Clayton, he engaged in farming. About 1831 he took his wife and two children to Illinois, locating first in Morgan county, and after living in Sangamon county for a year or two he returned to Kentucky, where he resided until 1835, when he again established his home in Morgan county, where he lived until 1841. In the latter year he came to Ball township, Sangamon county, and made a permanent location. After renting land for a few years, he purchased a partially improved tract of land and continued its further development until his death, in 1861. His wife survived him and reached the advanced age of seventy-two years. In the family were nine children who grew to mature years and five sons and two daughters are yet living.
The life of the farmer lad about the middle of the nineteenth century pictures the boyhood and youth of Marcus D. Clayton, who as soon as old enough to handle the plow began work in the fields, while through the winter months he attended the public schools. He remained with his father until he reached adult age and assisted in carrying on the farm. He then bought land in Ball township and began farming on his own account, and as a companion and helpmate on life's journey he chose Miss Susan Ann Matthew, a daughter of John Matthew, a pioneer settler of the county. They were married in Ball township, September 29, 1859, and for a few years lived upon a farm in that township, after which Mr. Clayton sold his property there and removed to Christian county, where he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of raw land near Palmer. Not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made thereon and for six months he continued the work of cultivation, after which he returned to Sangamon County. However, he later became a resident of Christian county, where he bought an improved farm which he operated for three years. On selling that he again came to this county and afterward bought one hundred and sixty acres in Ball township, near Glenarm. There he carried on agricultural pursuits for a number of years, after which he rented the property and took up his abode in the village, residing there from 1894 until 1903, when he bought and took possession of a nice residence property in Divernon.
Mr. and Mrs. Clayton became the parents of eight children, of whom four are living. Charles A., in connection with his father, purchased one hundred and sixty-three acres at Buffalo Hart, where he is now farming. Elizabeth is the wife of William Drennan, a farmer of Ball township. Frank is a resident farmer of Ball township. Manford E. owns and operates the old homestead. Those deceased are Noah R., who died at the age of fifteen months; Ella, at the age of three months; Thomas E., at the age of twenty-four years; and one in infancy.
Where national issues are involved Mr. Clayton is a Democrat but at local elections votes independently. He served for six years as highway commissioner in Ball township and for a number of years was a member of the school board, the cause of education finding in him a warm friend. In citizenship he has always been public spirited. He has lived a life of activity, integrity and worth, accomplishing much through honorable purpose and indefatigable energy, and at the same time laboring for the public good through active cooperation in many measures for the general welfare.