The Gene Pool: JTR's Colorful Family History

Beware of Erroneous Clayton Research!

From Cheska Wheatley on
Fidonet Genealogy Conference, 1994/95

I'd love to compare notes with you on this family!
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Cheska's Quaker Clayton Family

This is a message I wrote some time ago to a kind soul who thought he would help me out with our Claytons.
His reply to my message was that he was satisfied with his data! Fool! Oh well, it's his tree and not mine!

>>>>>> I have William CLAYTON's line going back to Charlemagne based on the works of a Major Frank BEALS. This CLAYTON line goes back to the MANWARING family in the early 1400's. I've been able to verify the descendency of the MANWARING from Charlemagne elsewhere but I've never been able to verify the link between the MANWARING's and the CLAYTON's (or DE CLAYTON as it would have been around 1400.) I've never be quite sure where to believe it or not. <<<<<<<<

The line tracing a William Clayton back to Charlemagne was first published in: The Clayton family / by Henry F. Hepburn. Wilmington : The Historical Society of Delaware, 1904 (Wilmington, Del.: The J.M. Rogers Press). I have also seen this attributed to a Major Frank Beals but I do not have the full title of his work. However, it doesn't really matter since the William Clayton that Hepburn traced back is =not= our William Clayton! Unfortunately, back in the 1970s , the late Jim Bellarts who was publishing the "Quaker Yeoman" got hold of this and he also published it as our William's ancestry and since then it's been hard to keep it from spreading around as the gospel truth!

I fell for it too and for many years had my database cluttered with a long line of "de Claytons" etc. I even paid $50 for Bellarts' book thinking he was somewhat of an authority on the Claytons. Far from it!

Louis E. Jones, in 1982, went to England and uncovered the will of a William Clayton dated ca. 1658 in Chichester [England] Miscellaneous Wills 1653-1658, Vol. 21B, p. 59, Consistory Court Will Register in the West Sussex Record Office, Chichester. I don't have a copy of this will myself, but apparently this William identifies himself as a timberman residing in the Parish of Pancras without the East Gate of Chichester, Sussex. It lists sons William, Richard (not yet 21 years of age), Thomas (not yet 21 years of age); daughter Elizabeth and youngest daughter Mary; and *grandchildren William and Prudence Clayton, children of William.*

[Since our William's daughter Prudence was born 20 8m 1657, seems more than likely that she is the same Prudence referred to as his grandchild!] This William married 30 Oct 1631 Boxgrove Parish to Joan SMITH who was buried 27 Apr 1644. Their children baptized at Boxgrove, Sussex were: William 9 Dec 1632 (our William); Elizabeth 11 Feb 1637; Richard 13 Sep 1640; and Thomas 26 Feb 1642. Daughter Mary is supposedly from a second marriage after 1644 to Elizabeth SIMMONS whose death was recorded 6 Oct 1660 in the Lewes & Chichester Monthly Meeting records.

William Clayton (our William), son of William & Joan Smith, married 7 Nov 1653 St. Pancras Parish, Chichester to Prudence Lanckford of St. Peters the Less, daughter of William Lanckford of Broughton Parish, Hampshire. This marriage was copied again by Louis E. Jones in 1982 from the St. Pancras Parish, Chichester, Sussex Parish Register Calendar by V. London, 1945.

This new information was published, oddly enough, by Bellarts in the Quaker Yeoman in Jan. 1985. Long after I decided not to subscribe to it any longer. I have a photocopy of that issue and I'd have to say that Bellarts much to my dismay continued to hang on to the hope that at least some of the material he previously published might be true!

Apparently there is a will for a Thomas Clayton dated 10 Sep 1630 and proved 28 Apr 1631 (Consistory Court of Chichester) which names a wife Margaret, sons Walter, William, Mathew, Richard and Thomas, daughters Mary wife of Richard Martin and Elizabeth. Bellarts felt this might be the grandfather of our William which is definitely a possibility but I haven't added him to my tree yet without seeing some supportive evidence. Bellarts took it one more step and speculated that this Thomas was POSSIBLY the son of a John b. ca. 1530 who was the son of a Thomas born ca 1500 who made his will in Rudgwick parish 4 Jul 1557.

Personally, I think we are on pretty thin ice when birthdates start appearing as "about" at 30 year intervals! The English clergy kept very thorough records and there should be more definitive dates in the early parish registers so one shouldn't have to resort to "ca." dates.

Bellarts does say that the will of William ca 1658 proves conclusively that William of Chichester was not the "son of a London lawyer" but never admits that he led us up the wrong tree! AND he goes right on to say that Thomas Clayton MAY have been the grandson of Thomas De Clayton b. ca. 1440, eldest son of John de Clayton & Mary Mainwaring who was disinherited by his parents and it is likely having been disinherited Thomas would have left Lancashire perhaps settling in London or Sussex, a days journey south of London at that time...and he goes on! Nice effort on his part to salvage some useless data but I personally think he was incorporating more wishful thinking than hard evidence.


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