JOHN MIDDLETON CLAYTON
John Midddleton Clayton was a great, great grandson of Joshua Clayton who came to America with William Penn, He was a son of James and Sarah Middleton Clayton, being born in Dagsboro, Sussex County, Delaware , July 24 1796.
He graduated from Yale College in 1815 and after the study of Law in the office of a cousin, Thomas Clayton, and the famous Law School at Litchfield in Connecticut, he was admitted to the Delaware State Bar in 1819, going in practice at Dover.
He married in 1822 to Sally Ann Fisher, daughter of Dr. James Fisher, Camden, Kent county, Delaware, but lost her through death in 1825. Although he was left with two infant sons, he never remarried.
Clayton soon rose to prominence in his chosen profession and became a leader in the Delaware Bar, serving the State as Secretary of State, a member of the House of Representatives and Auditor of Accounts.
He became associated with the Whig Party in Delaware and in 1829 was elected to the United States Senate. During his term in the Senate he was elected in 1831 as a Kent County Representative to the Delaware State Constitutional Convention, where he had his plan for the reorganization of the State Judiciary adopted. He resigned the Senate in 1836, after his reelection, to accept the Chief Justice of Delaware position in 1837. In 1836 Yale College conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.
1845 – 1849 he was again a Senator from Delaware and in 1850 was President Taylor's Secretary of State and negotiated with Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer, the Clayton – Bulwer treaty in an attempt to build a canal in Nicaragua to connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. He served as United States Senator from Delaware until 1856 when he died on the 9th of November in Dover.
John M. Clayton is buried at Dover, in the Old Presbyterian Cemetery.
His two sons were James Fisher Clayton and Charles McClyment Clayton who both died before they reached the age of 30 .
Publication of State of Delaware. 'Acceptance of John M. Clayton' Statue, Thursday, January 3, 1935