From A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 670
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902


   The list of the leading citizens of Rice county contains the name of W B Clayton, one of the representative and honored citizens of the locality.  His record as a soldier and as a business man has been so honorable that he has gained the confidence and good will of all with whom he has been brought in contact.  He was born in Marshall county, West Virginia, January 13, 1845, and is a son of Tylee Clayton, a native also of Virginia.  His parents removed from New Jersey to the Old Dominion and were of German descent.  Tylee Clayton was reared to the quiet pursuits of the farm and was married to Mary Bush, a native of Virginia and of Pennsylvania Dutch descent.  They became the parents of ten children, namely:  John Wesley, who was a soldier in the Union army during the Civil war, and is now deceased; Jacob, who served in the Forty-third Ohio Regiment for three years during the Civil war, and died in Marshall county, Virginia; William B, the subject of this review; Isaac, a resident of Newark, Ohio; George, of Dodge City, Kansas; Elizabeth, deceased; Sarah, who became Mrs Caldwell and resides in Marshall county, Virginia; Margaret, now Mrs Wilson, of Marshall county, Virginia; and Susan and Rebecca, who died in the Old Dominion.  The father was called to the home beyond at the age of seventy years.  He was a stanch supporter of Republican principles, and both he and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal church.  The mother also reached the seventieth milestone on the journey of life.

   W B Clayton, whose name introduces this record was reared to the honest toil of the farm, and the common schools of Marshall county afforded him his educational privileges.  At the opening of the Civil war his loyalty asserted itself and he became a member of Company A, Forty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  He enlisted in October, 1861, at Bellaire, Ohio, under Colonel Kirby Smith, who was mortally wounded at Corinth.  He was later under the command of Colonel Swann, who was wounded at South Corinth, at which place Captain Spangler was also killed, and Mr Clayton was next under the command of Captain C M Davis.  His regiment took part in many hard fought battles, including New Madrid, Corinth and Memphis, and at the last named place the regiment veteranized and our subject returned home on a furlough.  After his leave of absence had expired he rejoined his regiment and went to the front, fighting against General Hood’s forces at Decatur, Alabama.  He took part in the siege of Atlanta, went with General Sherman on his memorable march to the sea, and on through the Carolinas to Richmond, Virginia, and finally to Washington, DC, where he took part in the grand review, the most wonderful military pageant ever seen on the western hemisphere.

   After the close of hostilities Mr Clayton returned to his home in Marshall county, Virginia, where he remained until 1870, when he removed to Kendall county, Illinois.  The year 1874 witnessed his arrival in the Sunflower state, securing a homestead in Center township, Rice county.  He afterward sold that property and purchased his present farm of one hundred and sixty acres, which he has placed under a high state of cultivation, the rich and fertile fields annually yielding to the owner a golden tribute in return for the care and labor which he bestows upon them.  The place is located five miles from Frederick and is one of the well improved and valuable places of the locality.

   When twenty-three years of age Mr Clayton secured as a companion for the journey of life Miss Margaret Coffield, who was born, reared and educated in Virginia, a daughter of Adam and Sarah Coffield.  She was subsequently called to the home beyond, leaving three children:  Newton, who is an employee of the Standard Oil Company and resides in southern Ohio; William, a resident of Marshall county, Virginia; and Sarah, of Dodge City, Kansas.  In March 1881, Mr Clayton was again married, his second union being with Miss Mary Keesling, who was born in Wythe county, Virginia, and was there reared and educated.  She is a daugher of James Harvey Keesling, of Rice county, Kansas.  The union of Mr and Mrs Clayton has been blessed with three children, namely:  Cora, Harvey and Libby.  Mr Clayton maintains pleasant relations with his old army comrades by his membership in Kit Carson Post, GAR, of Lyons, of which he is a charter member.  Both he and his wife are active and worthy members of the Methodist Episcopal church.  He is a man of strong mentality, of broad humanitarian principles and kindly motives.  No trust reposed in him has ever been betrayed, and whether on the field of battle or in private life he is true to his country and its best interests, - a loyal and patriotic citizen.