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William Clayton (bef. 1632 - 1691)

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William Clayton
Born before in Chichester, Sussex, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married in Saint Pancras, Chichester, Sussex, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Chester, Chester, Pennsylvaniamap
Profile last modified | Created 3 Jan 2011 | Last significant change: 12 Jul 2018
14:11: RJ Horace answered a question about William Clayton [Thank RJ for this]
This page has been accessed 2,969 times.
William was a Quaker
Flag of England
William Clayton migrated from England to Pennsylvania Colony in 1677.
Flag of Pennsylvania Colony in 1677


Disputed Origins

In 1904 Henry F. Hepburn published an incorrect Clayton family lineage. Later, James Bellarts published an extensive account of William Clayton tying him to the Yorkshire family of the same name. Research by Col. Charles M. Hansen, Louis E. Jones and Marilyn L. Winton-Misch has shown that William Clayton, the immigrant to Pennsylvania, was not related to the Yorkshire family of that name.

The research of these historians show that William (Claiton) Clayton was descended from:

William Claiton "the younger," b. 1610 in Boxgrove, Sussex, England
William Cleton "the elder," b. 1589 in Walberton, Sussex, England
Rychard Cleton, b. before 1563 in Walberton, Sussex, England



William Claiton was born to parents William Claiton "the younger" and Jone (Joan) Smith. He was baptized on 9 December 1632 at Boxgrove, Sussex, England.[2][3]

From Bill Putnam "The Clayton Family History:"

"On November 7, 1653, he [Wm Clayton] married Prudence Lanckford in St. Pancras Parish, Chichester, Sussex, England. This event is recorded in the Parish Register as, "William son of William Clayton of this parish and Prudence Lanckford of Peter the Less (Parish), daughter of William Lanckford of Groughton, Hampshire..." [4]

"William was a carpenter by trade and had joined the recently established Quaker religion. He was selected with others to act a Commissioner for William Penn to go to America, to West Jersey near Pennsylvania to clear any Indian titles to land that Penn had acquired near what is today Burlington, New Jersey just north of the colony of John Fenwick in Salem County, New Jersey.

William Clayton sailed for America on the ship Kent which left London in March of 1677 and arrived in New York in August of that year. His family was not listed on the register of the Kent, so they probably joined him later once he had established both the area and a home.

During the next four years some fourteen hundred new arrivals came to Burlington and most of these were Quakers. The Clayton family probably arrived in the period around 1689 to 1680.

In 1681, William Clayton moved his family to Chester County, just across the Delaware River in Pennsylvania onto 500 acres of land he had patented. On September 13, 1681 he presided over the first court held in Chester County. He was one of the first two judges for the City of Philadelphia. He was a member of William Penn's council in 1683 and 1684.

William Clayton died in 1689. His Will Bond was number 119 and is filed in the office for wills in Philadelphia. There was no actual will, and the bond was written by his widow Prudence. She gives power of executor to her son William, the eldest.

I do not know when Prudence Clayton died, but it was after 1690 and in Chester County. - pg 6.

Early Years

"William son of William Cleyton of this parish and Prudence Lanckford of peters teh lesse, daughter of William Lanckford of Broughton, Hants, married after purpose thrice published in Chichester Market 19 Oct, 26 Oct and 2 Oct [sic], by Richard Boughton esq., J.P."[5][6]

William and his wife, Prudence, were followers of George Fox and became members of the Society of Friends (Quakers)


William married November 7, 1653 at Saint Pancras, Chichester, Sussex, England to Prudence Lanckford, daughter of William Lanckford of Broughton Parish, Hampshire, England.[7]

Emigrated from England

William and his family emigrated in about 1677. They had been persecuted in England for their religious beliefs.

Death and Legacy

William died August 1, 1689 at Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania

William Clayton received a patent for 500 acres in Chester Co.,PA. Moved from Chygoes Island, which was renamed Burlington by the Quakers, and is no longer an island.
William Clayton and his wife, Prudence and family went to New Jersey on the ship KENT in 1677. He went with several commisioners from London who were sent out by the proprietors to New Jersey to purchase land from the Indians. William Clayton has a patent from the British government for land, and he settled first at Burlington, New Jersey. Later he moved to Pennsylvania near Chester, and was the most prominent member of the Chester Meeting - the meeting house which was built on land given for the purpose by James Brown. William Clayton was a member of the Provincial Council, and he presided at the first meeting of the council under the government of William Penn. He and the famous Daniel Francis Pastorius were the first 2 judges of Philadelphia.
CarolynWages92added this on 6 Jul 2010
William CLAYTON was baptized 9 Dec 1632 Boxgrove, Sussex, England. He married 7 Nov 1653 Pancras Parish, Chichester, Sussex, England to Prudence LANCKFORD, the daughter of William LANCKFORD of Broughton Parish, Hampshire, England. Early adherents to the teachings of George Fox, William and Prudence became members of the Society of Friends. On 7th day 12th month 1663 William was committed to jail in Sussex and fined 6 pounds for meeting with other Quakers. Having refused to pay his fines, William was jailed for six months in the House of Correction in the town of Arundel.
William Clayton and his family came to America about 1677 but the exact date of their arrival is uncertain. There was a William Clayton who arrived in 1677 in New Jersey on the ship "Kent" reportedly from London in the company of certain commissioners sent by the proprietors of New Jersey to purchase land from the Indians. This may have been another William Clayton who has been mistaken for our William Clayton by Hepburn and others over the years. On 6th day 8th month 1678, William Clayton Sr., William Clayton Jr. and Prudence Clayton were witnesses to the first marriage recorded at Burlington Monthly Meeting, Society of Friends, West Jersey. In March 1679 William Clayton purchased the share of Hans Oelson, one of the original grantees of Marcus Hook and settled at that place. Their daughter Honour Clayton married 6th month 1679 at "Markers Hook" under the care of Burlington Monthly Meeting.
The family moved within the next decade to Chester Co., PA where William's estate was administered 1st day 8th month 1689.

They had seven (known) children, Mary Jane & her twin Elizabeth were fifth and sixth. Elizabeth died at birth.


Wife: Prudence Lanckford Mickel
Child: Honour Clayton
Child: William Mickel Clayton
Child: Prudence Clayton
Child: Joseph Clayton
Child: Elizabeth Clayton
Child: Hannah Clayton
Date: 07 NOV 1653
Place: Chichester, Sussex, England


Note: Sources: History of Chester County, Pennsylvania, pg. 498: Origin of Some Clayton Lines in Pennsylvania and Delaware by Mary J. and Matthew Hilt Murphy, pg. 9.
He went to America in 1677 in the ship "Kent" to New Jersey from
London, England, and settled in Burlington. He surveyed Burlington Island in 1677. In 1678/79, he purchased the share of Hans Oelson, one of the original grantees of Marcus Hook, and settled in that place. As a
Quaker, he was an active and consistent member, and likewise took a
part in political affairs. He was one of several Commissioners sent
from London by the proprietors of New Jersey to purchase land from
the Indians. He moved to Chester, PA., where he was a member of the
Provincial Council, and presided at the first meeting under the
government of William Penn. He was acting Governor of Pennsylvania
in 1684-1685, and a member of the Governor's Council during the
drafting of the great charter. He and Samuel Pastorious were the
first 2 Judges of the city of Philadelphia. He was a justice in Upland
County, and then for Chester County.

Died BET 1688 AND 1689. Chester, Pennsylvania. Imported only 1688 from Death Date and marked as uncertain.

Research Notes

He was not acting Governor of Pennsylvania from 1684 to 1685 & I am unsure of the source of this error. When Penn left for England he entrusted the government to Council President Thomas Lloyd and the Provincial Council on Aug 6, 1684 (p.414), and Lloyd was president of the council from 1684-1688 (p. 417). He specifically wasn't the deputy governor described in the Frame of Government. John Blackwell, a Puritan, was appointed the first deputy governor (1688-1689). [8]

See Wikipedia article here:

Note by SJ Baty: The Clayton history in Putman has been convincingly refuted here: Also in this link is presented sourced evidence that William Clayton is not descended from great-grandfather Thomas Clayton. - Update to add: I contacted Bill by email in June 2018 and presented him the information contained in the Hunt records. He has agreed to modify his site to reflect the new research but mentioned that he may not be able to get to it for some months.


  1. Hunt, Roger D. The History of the Hunt Family. Oregon City, OR: Privately published, 2011. Accessed 29 April 2015 Hunt cites as his source: Hansen, Charles M. “The Parentage of William Clayton, Quaker Immigrant to Pennsylvania: A Correction,” The Genealogist 4 (1983): 169-73., and offers the following information: "It is the opinion of Marilyn L. Winton-Misch of the National Society of Descendants of Early Quakers (NSDEQ), who spent years in England researching primary source records of early Quakers, that William Clayton of Walberton, baptized there on 24 February 1589, was the same person as William Clayton “the Elder” who later lived in Boxgrove, about four miles away. She determined there is no convincing evidence of a connection with the Clayton families of Rudgwick parish, 24 miles away.".
  2. Christening record of William Claiton: "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 11 February 2018, William Claiton, 09 Dec 1632); citing , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 504,433. Accessed 7 July 2018 SJ Baty.
  3. Hunt, Roger D. The History of the Hunt Family. Oregon City, OR: Privately published, 2011. p. 210.
  4. - pg 6
  5. Sussex Record Society, Barbican House, Lewes, Sussex, England, St. Pancras, Chichester Parish Register: 1558-1812, Tilington, notes and extracts, 49, FHL microfilm 504431.
  6. See also, Marriage of William Cleyton and Prudence Lanckford: "England Marriages, 1538–1973 ," database, FamilySearch ( : 10 February 2018), William Cleyton and Prudence Lanckford, 07 Nov 1653; citing Saint Pancras,Chichester,Sussex,England, reference , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 504,431. Accessed 7 July 2018 SJ Baty.
  7. England Marriages, 1538–1973, index, FamilySearch (accessed 10 May 2014), William Cleyton and Prudence Lanckford, 07 Nov 1653; citing Saint Pancras,Chichester,Sussex,England, reference; FHL microfilm 504431.
  8. Richard Alan Ryerson, [ William Penn's Gentry Commonwealth: An Interpretation of the Constitutional History of Early Pennsylvania, 1681-1701]. Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies Vol. 61, No. 4, William Penn: To Honor His 350th Anniversary (October 1994), pp. 393-428
  •, The Clayton Family from England to America
  • Carole Holmes records

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No known carriers of William's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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Images: 1
The Clayton Family - William Clayton III
The Clayton Family - William Clayton III


On 7 Jul 2018 at 13:53 GMT SJ Baty wrote:

Correct LNAB for William should be "Claiton."

On 16 Jun 2018 at 21:41 GMT SJ Baty wrote:

I have started a G2G discussion thread for this profile related to the erroneous line of William Clayton's ancestry Clayton-170.

On 17 Mar 2018 at 01:22 GMT SJ Baty wrote:

Clayton-4274 and Clayton-170 appear to represent the same person because: Same birth date, same death location, same name, same siblings - pretty much looks like a dup.

On 4 Mar 2018 at 16:44 GMT SJ Baty wrote:

The ancestors for William Clayton are in error:

"The line tracing a William Clayton back to Charlemagne was first published in: The Clayton family by Henry F. Hepburn. Wilmington, 1904 (Wilmington, Del.: The J.M. Rogers Press). .. the William Clayton that Hepburn traced back is =not= our William Clayton! Unfortunately, back in the 1970s , the Jim Bellarts publishing the "Quaker Yeoman" incorrectly published it and since then it's been hard to keep it from spreading around in error."

Please see: page 210

source: “The Parentage of William Clayton, Quaker Immigrant to Pennsylvania: A Correction,” The Genealogist 4 (1983): 169-73.

On 26 Jun 2014 at 19:19 GMT Frank Gay wrote:

William Clayton, Sr. was listed among first members of Chichester MM in 1684. his wife, Prudence Clayton was a member of the women's group in 1681. His daughter, Honnor (sic) Brown, wife of James Brown was in the women's group in 1688, James in 1684, He spelled Browne with and 'e', his wife did not

On 10 May 2014 at 13:25 GMT Cynthia (Billups) B wrote:

William is 16 degrees from George Barnes, 22 degrees from Amy Utting and 14 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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