Clayton History 1936
Sometime about 1845 Jacob Cariker came from Georgia and settled in what is now known as Clayton. Among his negro slaves he had one most faithful, named Clayborne. Mr. Cariker wanted to name the place Clayborne after his "Old Faithful" servant, but there was already one place in Texas by that name. He called the place Clayton. Other settlers had come from Clayton, Alabama, and some believe the name was given by these settlers.
Mr. Cariker's home stood just back of the present home of Dr. S. L. Davis. He and his nephew cleared about fifty acres of land including the place where the Clayton School now stands, and built a twelve rail stake and rider fence around it. Later on he built a horse power gin near the east side of the present school ground, and just back of the present home of Mrs. Ethel E. Carmichael. By hard work he could gin two bales of cotton a day.
The first store in Clayton was owned by Pleas Fite, who also had the first saloon. This building was just east of the present Bryan's Store. The second store was owned by George Cariker, son of Jacob Cariker and was located where Britton's store now stands Later other stores were built by John Ash, Bud Allen and others. Still later others were operated by J. W. Cariker, son of Jacob Cariker, Brown Ross, A. W. Davis, Sr. Joe Nelson and others.
Among the first school houses was one located west and between the present town of Clayton, and the Roquemore and the old J. R. Jarrell place—the present home W. H. Latham. Hewn and split logs were used for seats.
About 1876 a Baptist College was located on the present school ground. A two story building was erected but later abandoned.
Among the earlier settlers in Clayton that pioneered business, church and school life for those of late yesterday and today were: Reeds, Carikers, Fites, Satterwhites, Hayes, Waltons, Sheppards, Morrises, Blacks, Guinns, Halls, Heaths, Hewitts, Pages, Phillips, Longs, Ashs, McClendons, Lawrences, Jarells, Banks, Nelson, Hoistons, Davises, Dukes, Carmichael, Mauritzens, Ross and others perhaps whose names we have been unable to get.
Among the first preachers were: Elder W. H. Hays, J. F. McClendon, and J B. Mauritzen. The first doctors were: Drs. Hall, Carlton, Lassiter and Deason; etc. Some of these descendants of the pioneers are represented are adding honor and worthy appreciation to these courageous forefathers, in various vocations including ministers, doctors, dentists, lawyers, and teachers scattered throughout the Lone Star State.
This is among the oldest organized town in Panola County located, on the original site. Too, no place will there be found a populace that has a keener interest in the church, school and community life. Clayton keeps apace in all enterprises for substantial growth and in a conservative manner. Some of the county's largest farms and most independent farmers are found near this little town—Clayton.
History of Panola County, 1936