This enterprising and well known business man of Gifford is one of the representative citizens and public minded men who have built the town of Gifford to what it is and have the energy and push and skill to make of it a prosperous and influential municipality. It is very fitting therefore that the history of Nez Perces County should grant space for the life of Mr. Clayton. He was born in Jackson County, Arkansas, on October 14, 1863, being the son of John M. and Cynthia (Damron) Clayton. The father was a Methodist minister and a chaplain in the Confederate army during the entire war. His wife’s brother, John Damron, was a soldier in the conflict on the southern side. The father still lives on the old homestead at Pea Ridge, where our subject was reared. The place is the spot of the battle and made famous by Sigel and others. William S. was educated in the common schools and in Pea Ridge Academy. In 1884 he came to Wyoming and there spent three years herding stock. Then two years were happily passed in visiting his home place and vicinity. After that, Mr. Clayton came to Klickitat County, Washington, and learned the blacksmith trade in Centerville, in that County. He wrought there and in Sherman County, Oregon, for eight years and in 1899 came to Culdesac. In 1900, he came to Gifford and started a blacksmith shop. G. M. Lindsay started a general merchandise establishment at about the same time and this was the nucleus of the town. In June 1901, Mr. Clayton started a small hardware store in connection with his blacksmith shop and as business increased he erected a building especially for it and put in a good stock. He went into partnership with his brother, George D. Clayton, and by fair treatment of customers, and good business methods, they have built up a good business, have cleared the house from all indebtedness and are rapidly building themselves up as prosperous and substantial merchants. In 1898 Mr. Clayton married Miss Ella E., daughter of Anthony and Maggie (Bishop) Tozier. She was born in Kansas, on June 8, 1874, and has two brothers, James and Robert. Mr. and Mrs. Clayton have one child, Lloyd Alvin. Mr. Clayton has three brothers, George D., John M., and Walter P.; he has also five sisters, Mary C, wife of Dr. T. A. Coffelt; Annie L., wife of Charles B. Lewis; Fanny L., wife of Lemuel Keith; Hattie J. and Nellie. Mr. and Mrs. Clayton are members of the Methodist church and are highly respected people. Mr. Clayton came to this country not possessed of great capital and his ability and enterprise with his genial way and skill have placed him in the front ranks of business men of this section.
Source: An Illustrated History of North Idaho: Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone counties, state of Idaho; Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903