Augustin Smith Clayton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Augustin Smith Clayton (November 27, 1783 – June 21, 1839) was a jurist and politician from the American state of Georgia.

Clayton was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, attended the Richmond Academy in Augusta, Georgia, and graduated with the inaugural class of Franklin College (now known as the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences) at the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens with a Bachelor of Arts in 1804. While at UGA, Clayton founded the Demosthenian Literary Society.

After studying law under the tutelage of judge Thomas P. Carnes, Clayton was admitted to the state bar in 1806 and began practicing law in Carnesville, Georgia (which was named in the Judge's honor). In 1807, he married Judge Carnes' daughter, Julia, and they moved back to Athens in 1808. Clayton's granddaughter, Julia Carnes King, would marry another famous UGA alumnus, Henry W. Grady.

In 1810, Clayton was elected to represent Clarke County in the Georgia House of Representatives and served through 1812. In that same year, he became the secretary for the Board of Trustees for UGA. Clayton was appointed to the board in 1816 and remained on the board until his death.

Clayton also served as the clerk of the Georgia House from 1813 to 1815. In 1826 and 1827, he was elected to the Georgia Senate. Clayton also served as judge of the superior courts of the Western circuit of Georgia both preceding (1819–1825) and following (1828–1831) his state senate service.

In 1831, Clayton won a special election to fill the remaining term of the resigning Wilson Lumpkin in the United States House of Representatives, and Clayton won reelection to a second term in the regular election in 1832.

Clayton maintained business interests in the construction of a cotton mill in 1827 known as the Georgia Factory on the Ocoee River located south of Athens. He also played an instrumental role in securing the charter for the Georgia Railroad in 1836.

After his congressional service, Clayton returned to Athens and practiced law. He died in that city in 1839 and was buried in its Oconee Hill Cemetery. Clayton Street in Athens, Clayton, Georgia and Clayton County, Georgia were all named in his honor. His final residence in Athens was located on the north side of Clayton Street approximately halfway between Thomas and Jackson Streets.

It was posited by John Donald Wade that Clayton was the ghost writer of Davy Crockett's autobiography, this suggestion has been robustly challenged.[1]


His 7 children included William Wirt Clayton (1812–1885), who would later become a judge, director of the Western and Atlantic Railroad, talx collector for Fulton County, Georgia and an officer of the Georgia National Bank.[2]


  1. ^ John Donald Wade; M. Thomas Inge (2010). Augustus Baldwin Longstreet: A Study of the Development of Culture in the South. University of Georgia Press. p. xxxv. ISBN 9780820334806. 
  2. ^ Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events, 1880s-1930s, Franklin M. Garrett

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Wilson Lumpkin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's at-large congressional district

January 21, 1832 – March 3, 1835
Succeeded by
George Towns