Clayton, North Carolina
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Clayton, North Carolina
Clayton, North Carolina
Official seal of Clayton, North Carolina
"The Premier Community for Active Families"
Location of Clayton, North Carolina
Location of Clayton, North Carolina
Clayton is located in North Carolina
Location of Clayton, North Carolina
Clayton is located in the United States
Clayton (the United States)
Coordinates: 35°38?50?N 78°27?29?W / 35.64722°N 78.45806°W / 35.64722; -78.45806Coordinates: 35°38?50?N 78°27?29?W / 35.64722°N 78.45806°W / 35.64722; -78.45806
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
CountiesJohnston, Wake
 o MayorJody McLeod[1]
 o Total15.16 sq mi (39.27 km2)
 o Land15.14 sq mi (39.22 km2)
 o Water0.02 sq mi (0.06 km2)
341 ft (104 m)
 o Total16,116
 o Estimate 
 o Density1,643.68/sq mi (634.63/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 o Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
27520, 27527
Area code(s)919
FIPS code37-12860[4]
GNIS feature ID1019689[5]

Clayton is a town in Johnston County, North Carolina, United States, and is considered a satellite town of Raleigh. As of 2010, Clayton's population was 16,116,[6] up from 6,973 at the 2000 census. By 2019 the town's estimated population was 24,887.[7] Much of that growth can be attributed to the town's proximity to the Research Triangle area and access to major highways such as I-40 and US 70.


The community which has grown into the town of Clayton was built on a road cut by Governor Tryon's troops around 1770 as they marched northwest from New Bern to Hillsborough against the Regulators. Nearly 100 years later the railroad came through and the community had its first name--Stallings' Station, since the depot for the North Carolina Railroad was in the home of Mrs. Sarah Stallings. The name lasted only three years, however, before officially becoming Clayton. Incorporation followed in 1869.

The new town was far from prosperous, and the Civil War made a depressed local economy even worse. Many long-time citizens moved away during that period.[]

Following the war, the railroad was extended and businesses began to pop up. Ashley Horne developed a successful farming and merchandising business to become one of the most successful merchants and manufacturers in all of North Carolina. Horne's success inspired two other men, McCullers and Barbour, to open businesses that also did well, beginning an era of growth that lasted well into the next century. Some of the businesses that flourished during that time were lumber plants, a brick kiln, a cotton gin, a gristmill, a sawmill, tobacco warehouses, cotton mills and a turpentine distillery.

By the early 1900s, the town had become a major market for cotton, watermelons and tobacco. In 1907, the Evening Times of nearby Raleigh wrote that there was "more money per capita in Clayton than any city its size in the world."[]

Unfortunately, the town lost its financial eminence in the 1930s with the onset of the Great Depression, and its population grew slowly for the next forty years. The three local cotton mills continued to be a major source of jobs during that time, with 1,000 employees, but the local economy was modest and cotton was soon on its way out. By the early 1960s the mills were gone and cotton was no longer a player in the local economy. But the tobacco industry was bustling and the population shot up for a while before settling back down as farming became less and less profitable.

The state began to change during the 1970s. An industrial base began taking shape and residential growth was increasing in the Raleigh area nearby. Clayton's workforce adapted, shifting to a more service/trades-oriented economy, and the town began to grow once again. By 1980, the population had grown to 4,091 and to 4,756 by 1990. The population then jumped to 6,973 in the 2000 census. Today, manufacturers like Caterpillar and bio-pharmaceutical companies like Grifols (formerly Talecris) and Novo Nordisk are big local employers. In 2010, the population had increased to 16,116.

The Clayton Banking Company Building, Clayton Graded School and Clayton Grammar School-Municipal Auditorium, Clayton Historic District, Cleveland School, Ellington-Ellis Farm, Walter R. and Eliza Smith Moore House, Sanders-Hairr House, and Stallings-Carpenter House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[8]


Clayton is in northern Johnston County, with a small portion extending northwest along US 70 Business into Wake County. In 2006, construction began on the Highway 70 Clayton Bypass, a 10.5-mile (16.9 km) stretch from Interstate 40 along the southern portion of Clayton to Highway 70 business southeast of town. It was completed in June 2008. US 70 leads southeast 13 miles (21 km) to Interstate 95 at Smithfield. Downtown Raleigh is 16 miles (26 km) northwest of Clayton via US 70 Business and Interstate 40. Many local unincorporated communities outside of the town limits use Clayton mailing addresses, including Cleveland, Powhatan, and Flowers.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of the 2010 census the town had an area of 13.53 square miles (35.05 km2), of which 13.51 square miles (34.99 km2) were land and 0.02 square miles (0.06 km2), or 0.16%, were water.[6] The town is part of the Neuse River watershed. The town limits now extend northeast to the Neuse River and beyond.

Town Hall is located at 111 East Second Street and is shared with The Clayton Center, a performing arts and conference center.


As of the 2010 census,[10] there were 16,116 residents living within the Town of Clayton. There were 5,944 households, with an average of 2.57 persons per household. The population density was 1,192.8 inhabitants per square mile (460.5/km2) with an inventory of 6,648 housing units at an average density of 492 per square mile (190/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 69.5% White, 21.8% African American, 10.7% Hispanic or Latino 0.4% American Indian, 1.4% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander.

Of the 5,944 households in the 2010 census, 44% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.6% were married couples living together, 15.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30% were non-families. 25.4% of non-family households were made up of householders living alone. 16.3% of households had individuals 65 years of age or older.

The age demographics of the 2010 census determined that 32.9% were under the age of 19, 4.9% were aged 20 to 24, 32.8% aged 25 to 44, 20.8% aged 45 to 64, and 8.5% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.9 years. Females made up 52.5% of the population while males made up 47.5% of the population.

The median income for a household in the town was $53,101, and the median income for a family was $64,856. Males had a median income of $46,108 versus $40,839 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,234. These figures put Town of Clayton well ahead of the North Carolina averages for the same categories.


Town Council

Name Office Term start Term end Reference
Jody McLeod Mayor December 2003 2023 [11]
Michael Grannis Mayor Pro-Tem Councilman since December 2005
Mayor Pro Tem since December 2009
2021 [12]
Art Holder Councilman December 2009 2021 [13]
Jason Thompson Councilman December 2011 2023 [14]
Bobby Bunn Councilman December 2017 2021 [15]
Avery Everett Councilman December 2019 2023 [16]


  • Clayton High School (Home of the Comets)
  • Clayton Middle School (Home of the Eagles)
  • Cooper Academy (Home of the Rockets)
  • Cleveland Elementary School
  • East Clayton Elementary School (Home of the Explorers)
  • Powhatan Elementary School (Home of the Pride)
  • River Dell Elementary School (Home of the Racers)
  • Riverwood Elementary School (Home of the Rams)
  • Riverwood Middle School (Home of the Ravens)
  • West Clayton Elementary School (Home of the Bulldogs)

Notable people


  1. ^ "Mayor Jody McLeod". Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved .
  6. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Clayton town, North Carolina". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved 2015.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-08-16. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Mayor Jody McLeod". Town of Clayton, North Carolina. Retrieved 2019.
  12. ^ "Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Grannis". Town of Clayton, North Carolina. Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ "Councilman Art Holder". Town of Clayton, North Carolina. Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ "Councilman Jason Thompson". Town of Clayton, North Carolina. Retrieved 2019.
  15. ^ "Councilman Bobby Bunn". Town of Clayton, North Carolina. Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ "Councilman Avery Everett". Town of Clayton, North Carolina. Retrieved 2019.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Trinity Dean Valerie Ashby Appointed to Second Five-Year Term. Duke Today. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  19. ^ Sam Beddingfield. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  20. ^ Gary Clark Stats. Basketball-Reference. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  21. ^ Vern Duncan Stats. Baseball-Reference. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  22. ^ Douglas Ellington: Asheville's Boomtown Architect. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  23. ^ "Lt. Eric Lamar Ellington 1889-1913". Houston Post. Oct-Nov 1957. Retrieved .
  24. ^ "Clayton's Keni Harrison bounces back with world record hurdle run". Retrieved .
  25. ^ Rodney Rowe | USA Track & Field. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  26. ^ Kodi Whitley. Baseball-Reference. Retrieved October 29, 2020.

External links

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