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Riverside County









            Fidelity to trust has ever been a salient characteristic of Dudley G. Clayton, of Riverside, who has been continuously before the public since 1904 and has occupied the office of county clerk for a period of fourteen years—a fact indicative of the high quality of his service.  He was born in Keswick, New Brunswick, Canada, October 19, 1867, a son of James P. and Lucy A. (Golder) Clayton, who were also natives of the province.  James P. Clayton, who was of English descent, grew to manhood on a farm and was an agriculturalist for many years but at the same time acquired lumber interests of importance.  He made the trip around the Horn in 1867 and spent a year in Sacramento, where he assisted in painting the capitol building.  He returned home, intending to sell his farm, but was induced not to do so.  His son, John Clayton, who had accompanied him on the trip to California, remained in San Francisco and was engaged in ranching in the northern part of the state until his death in December, 1888.  J. P. Clayton removed with his family to Missoula, Montana, in 1880 and was there identified with the lumber business until he retired.  He was a Baptist in religious belief and contributed liberally to the support of the church, also donating generously to worthy charities.  His wife was a daughter of Daniel Golder and her mother was a daughter of Captain Strange, whom the British government placed in command of a vessel in the West Indies.  An only child, she was born on board a man-of-war and was quite young when her father settled in New Brunswick.  He preferred to make his home in that province although he owned a large grant of land on the site of Philadelphia, but neglected the latter estate, allowing it to pass from his possession, as he had other interests that represented considerable money and which engrossed his attention at that time.  Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Clayton were the parents of eight sons, of whom all but one lived to mature years.  They were:  John, Daniel, James, William A., Charles G., and W. E., all now deceased; and Dudley G. Clayton.

            The last named pursued his education in the public schools of New Brunswick until he was a youth of sixteen, when he went to Waterville, Maine, where he was a clerk in a department store for two years.  At the end of that time he returned home to settle up the business of his father, who had decided to locate in Montana.  In 1888 Dudley G. Clayton joined the family in that state, where he was associated with his father in the lumber business until 1889, when he came to California, arriving in Riverside on June 24th of that year.  The first investment which he made here was the purchase of Mr. Zimmerman’s interest in the Park (now the Plaza) Hotel but a year later he sold out and became connected with the work of developing Evergreen Cemetery in the capacity of an employee.  He became a stockholder in the Evergreen Cemetery Association and in February, 1891, was made superintendent of the cemetery.  No improvements had been made up to that time and under Mr. Clayton’s capable direction the cemetery was enlarged and beautified until it assumed the appearance of a lovely park.  For twelve years he acted as superintendent, and in 1902 became a funeral director, embarking in business at the corner of Eighth and Orange streets under the name of Clayton & Flagg.  Later Mr. Clayton purchased his partner’s interest but soon afterward sold the business and on November 1, 1904, entered the office of Sheriff P. M. Coburn as undersheriff, holding the position for two terms.  He next served under M. R. Shaw as deputy chief marshal of the police department and was reappointed deputy when Captain Johnson became chief of police, at which time the charter was adopted.  In 1908 he succeeded Chief Johnson as head of the police department, serving until shortly after Mayor Evans assumed office, when he became deputy chief.  In May, 1909, he became associated with Sheriff F. P. Wilson, again assuming the duties of undersheriff, which he discharged until July 28, 1918, when he resigned and entered the race for county clerk.  At the ensuing election he was victorious, proving so capable that he has since been retained in the office, and in 1930 was reelected for a fourth term of four years.

            On the 16th of January, 1889, Mr. Clayton was married to Miss Bertha Dunphy, now deceased, who was a native of Keswick, New Brunswick, and a daughter of Frederick Dunphy, a farmer by occupation.  They were the parents of one child, Inez E., who became the wife of Everett J. Horsley, and the mother of a daughter, Jacquelyn I., now ten years of age.  Mr. Horsley is a publisher of Los Angeles but resides in Whittier.

            Well known in fraternal circles, Mr. Clayton has been secretary of the local tent of the Knights of the Maccabees since 1893 and was also its commander for a considerable period.  His connection with the Yeomen covered twenty years, and he has filled all the principal chairs in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, long serving as scribe of Star Encampment, No. 73, of which he has been secretary for twenty-seven years.  Since 1883 he has been an earnest, devout member of the Baptist Church and for the past five years has served as president of its Brotherhood Class, consisting of about seventy members.  From the time age conferred upon the right of franchise Mr. Clayton has been a strong Republican, unfaltering in his support of the platform and candidates of the party.  Honest, industrious and efficient, he has to his credit an enviable record of public service and the respect that is uniformly accorded him is well deserved.



Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: California of the South Vol. III, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 163-166, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles,  Indianapolis.  1933.

© 2012  V. Gerald Iaquinta.