They are an interesting couple with prosperous sons and a daughter, in Chester Co., outside Philadelphia.
Read how ordinary people lived back in the late 1600’s and into the 1700’s, in early America.
These records go from 1681 to 1736.
They are not our direct line. His brother-in-law, James Brown, is our direct line, for he married Honour Clayton, William’s sister.
Let’s look at the records to build their lives.
For a look at William’s parents and the basics about his life (born, married, died), see the post here: William Clayton and Prudence Lankford.
November 30, 1681
Mr. William Clayton is a judge at the court in Upland, and Wm. Clayton Jr. serves on the jury, with James Brown, in the trespassing case of Peter Yocum and Peter Rambo Sr.; and Andreas Hoeman v. Israel Helme, in a case of trespass; and in the case of Peter Dalboe v. Andreas Inkhorne, in an account of unjustly and detaining his land.
March 14, 1681
Mr. William Clayton is a justice at the Court at Upland, and his son William Clayton Jr. sits on the jury in the case of Trover (finding “lost” object and claiming it) for a sow; and in the case of Peter Dalboe v. John Eustaseon (sic) in an account of trespassing; in the case of Michael Izard v. John Johnson, for not bringing in a mare according to agreement. Note: farm animals were rare because they had to be transported to the new world.
February 10, 1684
Nathaniel Park of Concord, planter, to William Clayton, Jr., of Chichester, carpenter; William Penn by patent dated 15 July 1684 granted to Nathaniel Park a tract in Concord bounded by land of Mary Moore and Jeremy Collett, containing 200 acres. Now Nathaniel Park for £15 grants to William Clayton, Jr. 150 acres, part of the 200 acres. Signed Nathaniel Park; delivered in presence of George Moore and Caleb Pusey; rec. 2 Sep. 1685 (A1:B1103)
March 11, 1691
Assignment: William Clayton of Chester assigns all right to the above mentioned deed to William Row of Concord, for £10. Signed William Clayton; rec. Joshua Fearne
April 7, 1685
William Clayton Jr. serves on a jury with John Beales, his brother-in-law, who married William’s sister Mary, in the case of Dennis Rochford v. John Hickman; Prudence Clayton and William Clayton were attested. They are William Clayton Jr.’s parents.
Modernized transcription begins:
Dennis Rochford, plaintiff
John Hickman, defendant
In action of the case
Jury returned and impaneled
Nathaniel Ervins, John Beales [married Mary Clayton, daughter of William Clayton], Joseph Bushell, Gilbert Williams, Thomas Garrett, Robert Pile, Walter Martin, Nathaniel Amplue, Wm. Cloud Jr., Wm Browne [brother of James Brown], John Kingman, Wm. Woodmansee
Henry Reynolds [married Prudence Clayton, daughter of William Clayton, Sr.] being attested declares that John Sumsion told [him] at his house that he was to pay for his freedom ten pounds [a huge amount] to Mr. Dennis Rochford and further saith not
Robert Moulder being attested declares that John Sumsion came to him and desired him to carry [transport] him up to Philadelphia which the said Moulder did, delivering him to Dennis Rochford’s wife and that the said Jn’o Sumsion fell made at Peter Rambo’s house and further saith not.
Henry Hastings being attested declares that after he had hired John Sumsion, understanding the saidf Sumsion to be a servant went up to Philadelphia to treat with Dennis Rochford, whom he finding to be the said Sumsion’s master refused to employ him.
Prudence Clayton [our direct line] being attested declares that Jn’o Hickman had some goods of Jn’o Hickman had some goods of Jn’o Sumsio’s with the invoice of them and that the said Jn’o Hickman delivered to John Sumsion again
William Clayton [Sr. or Jr?, probably Sr.] being attested declares that Dennis Rochford told him that he had agreed with and was in hopes he should be rid of a troublesome servant after which the said Dennis brought him into court at Philadelphia where he satisfied the court that his servant Jn’o Sumsion could not pay him for his freedom, according to contract, whereupon the court ordered him to return to his master.
Nathaniel Thornton being attested declares that John Sumsion came into Henry Reynold’s house and complained that he was and [sic] hungry and cold and dry, upon which he was supplied by the said Henry Reynolds with those necessaries he then wanted.
The jury finds for the plaintiff and gives him four pounds, ten shillings with cost of suit.
Whereupon judgment is granted with execution
Wm Clayton Jr. also served in the case of Eustace Anderson v. Henry Reynolds in the case of defamation and scandal.
Please click on Henry Reynolds: Accused of Murder in Philadelphia, in 1685, which is not highlighted here but at that link.
March 1, 1685
Land of William Clayton, Henry Reynolds, and William Clayton Jr. is mentioned in the deed of William Rawson of Chichester to James Brown, containing 87 acres, for £32.10, two tracts (A1:B158)
September 1, 1685
Wm Clayton Jr. serves on the jury with Edward Beaser (in-law) and James Brown (brother-in-law) in the case of George Foreman v. John Bristol, Thomas Powell, and Thomas Jacobs,
Please click on One Troubled Indentured Servant to read about the case
June 3, 1686
William Clayton Jr.’s property is mentioned in a report about a highway from Bethel to Chichester, sixty feet broad “to the River’s side the line between James Brown and William Clayton Junior.”
October 25, 1687
William Clayton Jr.’s land is mentioned in another court report about a road, forty feet wide, near Dennis Rochford’s line and the land late of John Beaser, thence cross Edward’s Beaser’s land …. Thence cross James Brown’s land
October 3, 1688
William Clayton Jr. is named in the case of John Wickham v. Peter Stewart, in the case of theft.
Please read the case of Peter Stewart is Caught Red-handed.
August 27, 1689
William Clayton Jr. serves on the Grand Inquest with John Beales, his brother-in-law in the case of Robert Eyre and Mary Best; and Mary Turberfield and John Eldridge;
See the article, Is this the first all female jury in New-World America?
June 4, 1690
William Clayton Jr. testified in the case of the thief John Martin. Clayton was the first “Sherlock Holmes” in America (as far as I know).
Please click on America’s first “Sherlock Holmes”;
March 3, 1690/1
William Clayton is named as a debtor for 17.8.0 to the estate if Edward Beaser, decd. for which the executor is Edward Beaser, Jr. On this day Edward craves discharge of the estate, and he is so permitted. This Edward is probably his father-in-law.
March 3, 1691
William Clayton is the plaintiff against Jeremiah Collett in an account of trespass and ejectment; case is deferred.
The same date
William Clayton assigned over a deed in open court unto William Rowe for one hundred and fifty acres, laying in Concord, bearing date Feb. 10, 1684/5.
June 9, 1691
William Clayton v. Jeremiah Collett in an action of trespass and ejectment; however, the justices do not have a quorum;
October 6, 1691
William Clayton v. Jeremiah Collett in a trespass and ejectment; This account called and the plaintiff appeared by his attorneys Charles Pickering and John White and the defendant’s appeared. David Lloyd in behalf of the governor and also the executor Tho. Basie and it was deferred until the next morning;
The morning the aforesaid account was called again and the declaration was read and the matter being largely debated concerning the way of ejectment and the court questioning the safety of proceeding in that way and manner; therefore the court by the majority of voyes do put by this account desiring the parties concerned to come to trial, according to the Constitution of this government and the they shall be fairly heard; the court adjourned until the eighth hour the next morning and met again according to adjournment;
However, I can’t find where the case was adjudicated. It was probably settled out of court.
Philip Lambert was bound over to the court upon suspicion of stealing goods from James Brown and William Clayton, but nothing being fully proved against him was discharged by the court, paying his fees.
September 13 and 14, 1692
William Clayton serves on the jury in the case of Peter Boynton v. John Maddock; in an action of scandal and defamation. The defendant denies using such words. The jury finds for the plaintiff, with cost of suit and two pence damage.
“Whereas complaint has been made to John Bristow, one of the justices of the peace, by William Clayton against Henry Reynolds for that the said Henry Reynolds did deny the payment of one pound, eleven shillings although the said Clayton had a bill under the said Reynolds’ hand, yet the said Reynolds denied the bill, but alleged that the money was paid in London, which does not appear as yet; and this return being made to the court, the court considered the same; and ordered that the said Reynolds shall pay the sum and all charges; and if it afterwards be made to appear that the said money be paid in London, the said William Clayton is ordered hereby to repay the same with all charges.”
August 2, 1693
William Clayton and James Brown serve on a jury who appraise a plantation, one hundred acres lying in the township of Bethel.
October 2, 1694
William Clayton serves on a jury that appraised land in Chichester, fronting the Delaware R. near Samuel Rowland’s line; also on the jury: Edward Beaser, James Brown, appraised June 26, 1694.
June 10, 1695
The land of William Clayton Jr., Francis Chadsey, and Henry Reynolds is named in a deed from John Beazer and William Hewes to Philip Roman of Chester Co., cordwainer; fifteen acres for £4.7.6 (A1:B155)
September 8, 1696
William Clayton’s land is mentioned in the deed from Edward Bezar of Bethel, bricklayer, to Thomas England of Edward Bezar, for £56.00, containing 167 acres, originally granted to Edward Bezar Sr. dated 2 March 1681; signed Edward Bezar (A1:182)
June 10, 1696
“At 1s 8d per hundred acres 4£ 3s 4s, the total sum being twenty-four pounds, three shillings and four pence; subscribed by the aforesaid grand jury, Walter Martin, foreman; William Clayton will except of this account if the court will be pleased to grant him and order of court to gather it, allowing reasonable charges for the gathering it; the said William Clayton, having due to him eighteen pounds, 1s, 6d, for his father’s salaries and his work on the old courthouse, and he will be ready to give an account to the court when he has received it; the court grants it him that he shall have an order from the clerk for him to receive it and that he shall give an account to the court when he have received it.”
December 14, 1697
William Clayton witnesses a deed between Francis Chadsey of county Chester, yeoman, to Robert Langham of Chichester, yeoman, for £47.00, containing 7 acres (A1:B195)
June 20, 1699
William Clayton and James Brown, both of Chichester, to the town of Chichester. William Clayton and James Brown give to the town of Chichester land in Chichester for a public street and marketplace now called broad Street. Signed James Brown and William Clayton (A1:B244)
The inhabitants of Marcus Hook, having confirmed to their town by Charter, from the Provincial Council, by order made the 12th mo. [February] 14 1700 of the privilege of holding a Fair and Market at that place, which had been granted to them formerly by Gov. Markham and Council, the people of Chester became alarmed and presented to the Council, on the 7th mo. [September] 23 1701, a petition stating,
“That whereas the Governor and Council about eleven years ago  had granted to the said Town two Fairs to be held every year which to this time they had quietly enjoyed, but now by reason of one fair being granted to Chichester, they were informed one of theirs was to be suppressed, which is likely to prove injurious & much to the damage & disappointment of the said Inhabitants, who, as usual, had made provision for their approaching fair.”
“Ordered, that because of the provision made aforesaid, the fair, which was of course to be held at the beginning of the next 8th month ensuring [October] be still continued be held same time as usual, any Order to the contrary notwithstanding; and that both said fairs, with the weekly market and the streets, etc. of the said Town, be confirmed to the said Inhabitants by Charter, in case they make due application for the same.”
The order of Council referred to as having been made upon a petition of the Inhabitants of Chichester and others as presented to the Council, is endorsed and dated the 14th of 12 mo. [February] 1700. The original can be seen among the Logan Papers in vol. iv. Marked “Roads in the Historical Society of Pa. and is as follows:
The humble petition of William Cleiton [Clayton], James Brown, Walter Marten and the rest of the Inhabitants of Chichester & others to William Penn, Esq., and the Council thereof, Absolute Proprietor and Governor of Pennsilvania and territories thereto belonging, Humbly sheweth that your said petitioners desire your Honors that you would grant two fairs to the town of Chichester to be kept yearly in Broad Street at the time and places hereafter shall be mentioned by your said petitioners William Cleiton, James Brown and Walter Marten. The fairs to be kept in Broad St., Chichester, the first fair to be kept on the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th days of June, the second fair the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th days of September.
Whereas last year your said petitioners did exhibit a petition to the Lieutenant Governor & Council of Pennsilvania, to wit, for a Market to be kept weekly in Broad St. at the town of Chichester, on Friday or the sixth day of each week, as hereafter shall be showed. The said Lieutenant Governor and Council did grant to the town of Chichester a Market to be kept at the time and place as was desired by your said petitioners. We acknowledge ourselves much obliged to them for their kindness to us. Further your said petitioners desire your Honors that you would further confirm our said Market to your said petitioners.
The place laid out by your said petitioners, William Cleiton, James Brown and Walter Marten is on the road coming out of the river side of Chichester between the enclosed fields of William Cleiton and James Brown at the town now being laid out as a street. The situation of the place having a descent two or three ways, and it hath a good prospect to a higher place than the rest and for commodiousness it is on the main Road to the town that goes to the river, being convenient for both town, country, and river. To accommodate the fair place and Market place it is laid out Thus: to begin 200 feet from the River side the place to keep the fair and market house in is 230 feet in length and 140 feet in breadth as by the draught of the plot reference as had thereto doth appear [sic]. Your said petitioners desire that you would grant us our reasonable proposals; that is to say the fair place for men’s merchant goods, wares, produce, and victuals whatsoever is to be kept in the place that is laid out 230 feet in length and 140 feet in breadth, which is the market place, and the fair place for Horses, Cattle, Sheep and all other live goods whatsoever, to be kept in that place that is 500 feet in length and 100 feet in breadth which extendeth to the market place to the bridge. The street from the River side to the bridge is now called Broad St.
Your Petitioners humbly desire your Honors that you would give us a Charter for two fairs to be yearly forever and for our market as it was granted us by the Lieutenant Governor and Council ; that is to say, to be kept weekly on the sixth day of the week as above said, with all the incidents thereto belonging.
We hope that you would grant us our reasonable proposals if you think fit and convenient of them with what privileges and profits may accrue in time to come to your said petitioners in so doing we shall be very much obliged to you for your favor and kindness and shall be ready to serve you in your reasonable demands with our desire for your health, welfare and prosperity shall be continued by your Humble petitioners.
A long list of 112 names is appended, including William Clayton, James Brown and Walter Marten; Thomas Brown and William Brown; John Beazer, Richard Beazer and Edward Beazer.
John Hill Martin, Chester and Its Vicinity, Delaware County, in Pennsylvania, with Genealogical Sketches of Some Old Families (Philadelphia 1877 pp. 92-94).
July 14, 1701, Provincial Council, Philadelphia
William Clayton of Chichester, producing an account of eleven pounds, eleven shillings, due his father, Wm. C. L. [sic] decd. for building a cage for malefactors in the town of Philadelphia, at the first settling of this province; ordered that the provincial treasurer discharge the said account.
For the original order for the cage, please click on Lashes for contempt of government;
May 27, 1708
William Clayton witnesses a deed from John Bristow of Elk R. in Maryland, yeoman, to John Tyler of Chester, tailor, 5 lots in Chester, contiguous, for £60.0.0 (E5:42)
August 10, 1709
Land of William Clayton sons & William Clayton Jr. (sic) in mentioned in the deed between Walter Martin of Chichester, yeoman, to his eldest daughter Mary Martin, for love, two lots in Chichester (B2:350)
May 3, 1709
William Clayton, Sr. of Chichester, innkeeper, to his son and heir William Clayton Jr. for natural love and affection, a tract in Chichester, bounded by Broad St., land of William Clayton Sr. and land of Walter Martin, containing 2 lots, a parcel by the Great Road and bounded of Timothy Atkinson, Walter Martin, and William Clayton Sr. and Richard Bezars, containing 5 ½ acres; signed William Clayton Sr., delivered in presence of Edward Bezar, Thomas Clayton, and John Beals (C3:97)
Note on previous abstract: it is touching (to me, at least) to see William Clayton Jr. now called Sr. Life moves on.
August 11, 1712
William Clayton and William Clayton Jr. witness a deed from Thomas Withers of Chichester, yeoman, and Jane his wife to John Packer of Birmingham, yeoman (C3:284)
William Clayton, Jr., of Chichester, cordwainer, to William Clayton Sr. of Chichester, innkeeper, for the sum of £50.00, a tract bounded by land of Edward Beazer, William Clayton Sr., a lot that was Walter Martin’s, containing 3+ acres. Signed William Clayton Jr. Delivered in the presence of George Rospe, Richard Marsden, and John Simcock (C3:428)
October 10, 1716
William Clayton is named in a deed from Gaien Stevenson, Chester Co., yeoman, to William Horne and Robert Pyle; Francis Chads, dec., had four children: Sarah, Grace, Betty and Anne; William Clayton owed the estate £4.0.0 (D4:39)
June 3, 1724
Thomas Howell [son-in-law to William Clayton] of Chichester, waterman, to William Clayton, innholder; Thomas Howell for £60.0.0 grants to William Clayton a tract in Chichester, bounded by Market St., Delaware R., land of William Clayton Jr., lot formally belonging to Walter Martin and a lot of Mathias; signed Thomas Howell; delivered in presence of Joshua Cowpland and Joseph Parker (D4:244)
June 10, 1724
Edward Clayton of Bradford, yeoman, and Ann his wife, to William Clayton of Chichester, yeoman (this may be William Clayton’s son); 196 acres, for £40.0.0, a tract in Bradford, bounded by land of Thomas Arnold and Daniel Smith, provided William Clayton pay £56.16 by June 10, 1731; delivered in presence of Richard Clayton and Abel Clayton (D4:280)
September 1, 1736
William Clayton is named in a deed between Thomas Howell [WC’s son-in-law] of Chichester, yeoman, and Rachel his wife to William Vaughn of Chichester, yeoman; then the chain of custody or possession is listed: Edmund Andres, Esq. Governor of NY, by deed dated 28 Mar. 1676 to Hans Olson, et al. 1000 acres; Hans Olson by deed dated 12 Mar 1678 grants to William Clayton gets 1/6; he died intestate, so the same 1/6 descended to son William Clayton; he grants it by deed dated 8 Sep 1699 to Thomas Canthy (sic) a lot in Chichester bounded by the river, land of William Thomas, Back St.a lot formerly of Isaac Taylor; Thomas Canthy bargained away the said lot to Humphrey Johnson by virtue of said bargain Humphrey Johnson with Thomas Canhty grated said lot to Mordecai Howell by deed dated 3 March 1704/5. Mordecai Howell by deed dated 10 Feb. 1734/5 granted to Thomas Howell, the said lot; now Thomas Howell and said wife Rachel for £15.0.0 granted William Vaughn the said lot; signed Thomas Howell and Rachel Howell (F6:524)
William Clayton Jr’s probate
It’s too light to read, so it is summarized here.
Will written: December 4, 1725
Will proved: Feb. 22, 1727/8
William Clayton is named as a yeoman
Elizabeth: His dear and well-loved wife is to get half his household goods and one half my stock of cattle …. and the negro girl named Dinah, during his wife’s natural life;
Son Richard: five shill.
Son-in-law Thomas Howell, ten shillings [land records say he’s a waterman and that he married Rachel Clayton]
Sons Edward and Ambrose Clayton: all the lot or parcel of land in Philadelphia town between the lots of my sons Thomas and Abel
His negro girl Dinah to be free and set at liberty at age thirty-five with apparel; if she have a child or children, then they are free and set at liberty at thirty-five (when she reaches thirty-five) and have some clothes;
Ambrose: land in Chichester and upper (illegible)
Five sons: William Clayton, Edward Clayton, Thomas Clayton, Abel Clayton and Ambrose Clayton, the remainder of the land to be equally divided among them; excepting land in Philadelphia to Richard Clayton
Executors: Edward, Thomas, Abel and Ambrose
John Wold ing [?]
Robert X ____
John Bond or Bone
His assets from his inventory:
To bonds and bill etc. (illegible) 354.32.45
Book (illegible) 38.09.7
5 forty-foot lots at Philadelphia 80.00[?].00
Land lying at Chichester 7.0.0
2 cows and one calf and 2 mares 30[?].30.0
Half of lot [?] 3.00.00 [?]
Wearing clothes and all household goods and plantation & my tenements [?]
Rest difficult to read
Taken by John Carter and Jos. Bonsal (?)
Date difficult to read, but year is 1727/8
March 25, 1728
Ambrose Clayton son of William Clayton, late of Chichester in the county aforesaid having made application to this court for the choosing of his Guardian, he being a minor which the court admits him to do.
Be it remembered that Thomas Clayton of Chichester in the said county, mariner, is admitted guardian and next friend to the said Ambrose Clayton being within age and is hereby empowered to prosecute and defend all suits and please and action whatsoever for and on behalf of the said Ambrose Clayton (vol. I, pp. 61.)
Clayton Land Records in Chester County, Pennsylvania
Clayton Deed Records in New Castle County, Delaware
The Records of Henry Reynolds and Prudence Clayton
Records of John Beales, Chester County, PA
William Clayton and Prudence Lankford
Honour Clayton and James Brown
Bryant, Carol. Abstracts of Chester County, Pennsylvania Land Records, vol. 1, 1681-1730, Heritage Books, 2006.
—. Abstracts of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Land Records, vol. 2, 1729-1745. Family Line Publication, 1997,
“Enterys of the Orphans Court” of Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1716-1730 and 1732-1734, transcribed by Dorothy B. Lapp, The Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, Pennsylvania (Danboro, PA: Richard T. and Mildred C. Williams, 1973).
Record for the Courts of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Begun the 13th of September, 1681, Ending the 10th day of March 1696/7 (Patterson and White, 1920)
Minutes of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania, containing the proceedings of the Council from December 18, 1700 to May 18, 1717, vol. 2, Harrisburg, Theophilus Fenn., 1838.