History of Clayton NC dates back to 1734, when English Captain William Blunt and his men landed on what was then called Cape Hatteras Island. They were not the first to settle there as several had already made their claim. What they were able to do was build a fort that would be their headquarters for most of their time in the area. Because of the fort and its location, they were well protected from Indians who were a regular threat to their settlers. That is why the town was referred to as the “Fortunate Islands of the Coastal Mountains”.
It wasn’t until the later half of the 1800’s that the NC was really established as a state. By that time the major population had already been established in what we now know as Raleigh, NC. The history of that time frame can be divided into three parts. The period that encompassed the end of the colonial period and the beginning of the Jim Croce era was known as the Colonial Period. During that time, there was no one specific government and power structure to call the shots.
The second part of the history of Clayton NC can be termed the Post-colonial Period. This was also a period where several new governments set up with different powers and became known as counties, cities, or towns in their area of jurisdiction. One of those being New Hanover county, which controlled the eastern part of the state including the largest city of Wilmington. The third major element in the history of Clayton NC is the period that came to be known as the Jim Crow Era.
During this time period, blacks were simply referred to as whites and slavery was also commonplace. There were no special laws established to separate the races but rather punishments were administered in the same way. That is why, up until the Civil Rights Movement, no laws were in place to prevent discrimination against blacks. So, in many cases, a white person could be legally served by an African American but would have no legal right to do so.
So now we know that the early history of Clayton NC included much of what we consider today to be history. However, as times changed, new elements appeared that changed the history of that area of North Carolina. For example, with the influx of pioneers from Europe and the emerging railroads came industry which brought with them wealth. Many of these people settled in and around the areas that they traveled through.
In addition to that coming development. This movement encompassed the area and soon it had developed towns, schools, a courthouse, and a wide network of businesses. As this happened, some of those who settled in the area saw this as an opportunity to build their own homes for themselves and their families. Many of those that lived here built some of the most beautiful houses in the area today. The town of Clayton has even been named one of the “Ten Places You Must See in a Lifetime” by the World Traveler.