Photo: Dr. Daniel B. Clayton

Dr. Daniel B. Clayton

Source: Lula Feaster Album
Medium: Silver Albumin Carte de Visite
Album Notes:
Rev. Dr. Clayton
Father of Virgil Clayton
one of Grand Ma Wollings guardians


Daniel B. Clayton was a Universalist minister who traveled from Eastern North Carolina to Texas preaching often in churches with descendants of Feasters and Colemans of Fairfield Co., South Carolina (1). His son, Virgil P. Clayton, was a serious suitor of Maria Louisa Georgiana "Lula" Feaster in the years before she married John G. Wolling in 1872.

The D.B. Clayton family lived in Red Banks, 9 miles from Holly Springs, Mississippi. Dr. Clayton's passion for his faith is evident in a letter published in 1848, shortly before the birth of his son, Virgil Clayton, in 1850 (2). After Civil War fighting threatened the family, they went to Feasterville, SC in autumn, 1863.

Dr. Clayton's book, "Forty Seven Years in the Universalist Ministry", provides a clue about how his son Virgil Clayton may have met the teenage "Lula" Feaster. When the Claytons sought refuge among Universalist friends during the Civil War, Virgil lived in the house built by Lula's uncle and guardian, John Christopher Columbus Feaster.

The Claytons lived in the Feasterville Boarding House, and Rev. Clayton taught at the Feasterville Academy 1864 and 1865 (3). He did not teach in 1866 because he could not collect from his subscribers. In 1866 he began traveling the countryside earning money by repairing clocks. Clayton ran a "little mercantile business for someone who lived more than 20 miles away." He ran the store for a year and preached once a month at Feasterville's LIberty Universalist Church (1).

Mrs. Clayton was "discontented at the isolation" - she was used to living in town. Rev. Clayton rented a hotel in Columbia in March, 1868. They closed out the store and moved in April, 1868. They ran the hotel for 12 years. He moved to Atlanta to work for the newspaper "Universalist" and ran a hotel (4). In 1883 he returned to South Carolina with his wife and daughters. He traveled extensively, preaching across the south. His wife Mary Ann and daughters lived with their son and family when they went to Cash's Depot, SC. Rev. Clayton came to Feasterville to preach, on occasion (1).


  1. Smith, Nancy Jo, e-mail msg 5 Jan 2003, sharing information from "Forty Seven Years in the Universalist Ministry" by Daniel B. Clayton

  2. Clayton, Rev. D. B. 1848. Letter from Mississippi - to the Rev. Thomas Whittemore on the progress of Universalism in Mississippi. Trumpet and Universalist Magazine, 18 Nov. 1848): 90. Transcribed on "The Southern Universalist" webpage,

  3. Bolick, Julian Stevenson. 1963. A Fairfield Sketchbook. Reprinted 2000, Fairfield County Historical Society, Winnsboro, South Carolina. pp. 268-269.

  4. U.S. Census, 1880, Atlanta, Fulton Co., Georgia, roll T9-0148, p. 507-b. Daniel B. Clayton, age 63.

Resources for Daniel Bragg Clayton

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Except where noted, all images are from the Clowney-Cato Collection.©