Clayton, William Lockhart
- J. S. Hill
Clayton, William Lockhart (07 February 1880–08 February 1966), businessman and statesman, was born near Tupelo, Mississippi, the son of James Clayton and Martha Fletcher Burdine, cotton farmers. Raised in modest circumstances in Jackson, Tennessee, Clayton left school at thirteen to work as a court stenographer and typist. Offered work in St. Louis as a secretary by a visiting businessman impressed with his diligence, Clayton followed his employer to New York City in 1896 to join the American Cotton Company. Clayton entered the cotton business at a time when the rapid improvement of communications was cutting costs and prices, creating a highly concentrated marketing system. Clayton learned the ropes of the new system and won promotion. He married Susan Vaughan in 1902; the couple had four daughters. By 1902 he had become manager of the sales department and had been appointed secretary-treasurer of a subsidiary, the Texas Cotton Products Company. Worried that the American Cotton Company would founder from mismanagement, in 1904 Clayton joined his brother-in-law Frank Anderson in establishing a cotton brokerage, Anderson, Clayton & Company, in Oklahoma City....