On January 30, 1856, the area served by the post office located in Stallings Station became known as Clayton, North Carolina. Shortly after the name change, citizens recognized a need to do business as a town. On April 12, 1869, the Town of Clayton was incorporated as a municipality. When a town becomes incorporated it means the North Carolina General Assembly ratifies its charter and its geographic boundaries are defined.
A town's charter is a document that is unique to each municipality in that it outlines the conditions under which the incorporated municipality is organized. The Town of Clayton's charter encompasses:
Article I: Incorporation, Corporate Powers, and Boundaries
Article II: Governing Body
Article III: Elections
Article IV: Organization and Administration
Article V: Special Assessment Provisions
Conclusion: Purpose and Interpretation of Charter
The Town of Clayton's Charter is available for inspection at the Town Clerk's office, the Town of Clayton Library or online at www.amlegal.com/clayton_nc.
On October 19, 1981, the charter was amended to the Council-Manager form of government. The Council-Manager form of government means the Town Council hires an administrator or manager to oversee the daily operations of the town including the hiring of town employees, administration of the budget, and management of operations. Steve Biggs is the current Town Manager and he has been serving the citizens of Clayton since 1997.
In 2001, the Town's charter was amended changing the term-length of the Mayor from a two-year term to a four-year term effective in 2003. Mayor Jody L. McLeod is the first mayor to serve a four-year term of four years.
As dark began to fall on December 18, 1913, the Town of Clayton put the finishing touches on its first electric plant and pulled the switch. The Town of Clayton hasbeen served by Clayton Public Power ever since.
In 1927, the Clayton Town Hall at 231 East Second Street opened. This site remained the Clayton Town Hall until January 2003. Today this site is known as the Town Annex.
When Clayton High School relocated to its current location at Fayetteville Street and HWY 70, it was not within the Town's corporate limits (BK 1, PG 63). The Clayton High School became part of the Town when the State Legislature squared up the Town's corporate limits in 1973.
Because building permits became a requirement, the office of building inspections was established in the Town of Clayton on March 2, 1964 (BK 1, PG 112A & 114A).
Spring 1965, the Town accepted the deed to the Mrs. B. A. Hocutt property located at the corner of Second and Church Streets thus relocating the Town library from Town hall to its present day site (BK 1, PG 152).
At the January 16, 1968, board meeting the Clayton Board of Commissioners supported the endeavor to establish a community college (BK 1, PG 269).
The Chamber of Commerce was newly named on January 16, 1968 (BK 1, PG 269).
On Monday, May 5, 1969, John T. Talton asked the permission of the Board to plant a "Time Capsule", which would contain records of the Centennial that was being observed at that time. The Council approved the proposal and a ceremony was held prior to the planting. The capsule will not be reopened until the year 2069. The capsule, a four and a half foot vault weighing 600 pounds, was initially placed at what is now known as the Town Annex, has a marker, and was relocated at the Second Street side of The Clayton Center in 2006.
Realizing the Town had outgrown the Town Hall located at 231 East Second Street, the Clayton Town Council and Clayton citizens joined together to preserve Clayton's history as well as provide for Clayton's future through restoration and adaptive reuse of the former Clayton School property at the corner of Second and Fayetteville Streets. The former school, now known as The Clayton Center includes Town Hall, a conference center and a performing arts auditorium and is located at 111 East Second Street. The remodeling of the school complex allowed the Town to have a larger facility for citizen services as well as preserve a piece of Town history. The original brick high school was built in 1915 with 12 rooms and the brick elementary school was built around 1921 with 18 rooms. The gymnasium that was once part of the high school has been remodeled to serve as the Council Chambers. The auditorium, built in 1926, has also been remodeled and is again a vital part of the Clayton community providing shows and entertainment.
On Monday, January 6, 2003, the Clayton Town Council held its first meeting in the newly renovated Clayton Center.
The following resources were used to compile the History of the Town of Clayton's Governmental History:
- The 1969 Clayton Centennial Book
- Illustrated Handbook of Clayton North Carolina and Vicinity, published by John T. Talton (former Mayor of Clayton) in 1909, revised in 1936, revised in 1961
- Municipal Government in North Carolina, Second Edition, by David M. Lawrence and Warren Jake Wicker
- Town of Clayton Minute Books
A special recognition to the following Clayton Town Clerks keeping historical notes of our Town's government:
- Town Clerk W. P. Creech
- Town Clerk Pearl S. Dean
- Town Clerk Jessica Coutu
The primary focus of the "Historical Overview" of the Town of Clayton is how the Town's government has evolved; this is a work in progress. As additional information about the Town's history becomes available, this site will be updated.