Joseph Alvey Clayton, soldier and community leader, was born in Marshall County, Tennessee, on December 30, 1817. He moved to Texas in the early part of 1835 and joined Capt. Amasa Turner's company, but fought in the battle of San Jacinto as a private in the artillery under Lt. Col. James C. Neill. Clayton also saw action at the battle of Chapultepec during the Mexican War. He married Amanda Poole in Tennessee on June 1, 1847, and they had eight children. He lived near Washington-on-the-Brazos until 1852, when he settled near the site of present Kerens in Navarro County. Clayton represented Navarro County at the Secession Convention early in 1861, and after hostilities began he served as the captain of a reserve company in the Nineteenth Infantry Brigade, Texas Militia. Clayton was a Baptist and Mason and took an active role in community affairs. He was twice involved in efforts to establish fairgrounds in the county. He died as a result of a farm accident on August 1, 1873, and was buried at Chatfield in Navarro County.