Joseph, son of William (3) Clayton, was born at New Salem, Ontario county, New York, May 25, 18J3, and was educated there in the public schools and at a select school of the Friends. He worked on a farm until he was twenty years old. He learned the trade of tanner at Proctor, Pennsylvania. He then returned to Canandaigua and for two years conducted a dry goods store. In 1899 he came to the town of Phelps, Ontario county, and bought the Bigelow Planing Mill. After two years he sold out and removed to Marion, Indiana, where he engaged in the manufacture of oil cans for the Standard Oil Company. After two years he sold out and during the following ten years was in the real estate business at Marion, Indiana. Having sold his business he went to Oklahoma and for four years was in the oil business. Since 1905 he has been in the real estate business in Phelps and has also engaged in fruit growing. He is a member of the Friends Church and of the Maccabees.
He married Emma, daughter of John W. Hawley, of Canandaigua. They have one son, John Clayton, born February 27, 1893, now (1910) a student in the high school.