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History & Heritage

Civil War MarkerThe Town of Clayton is part of the Carolina Campaign Civil War Trail markers that lead from the Battle of Bentonville site near Four Oaks to Downtown Smithfield, Selma and then to Clayton.  Visitors may follow the trail markers along US Hwy 301 that indicate the march of troops after the battle, which took place on March 19-21, 1865. 

The Battle of Bentonville was the last major offensive of the Civil War and the confederate's only serious attempt to stop General Sherman's March from Atlanta. 


“Flag of Truce”
Trails sign in Town Park at the corner of O’Neil and Main Streets

Two former North Carolina governors, William A Graham and David Swain, traveled here from Raleigh April 12, 1865, with a letter from Gov. Zebulon Vance requesting a meeting to discuss peace terms. Sherman, headquartered here, received the letter and agreed to safeguard the state capital, which Johnston was then in the process of evacuating.

Map Link


The Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library enjoys a historic setting along a tree-lined street in Downtown Clayton. Patrons can enjoy a full range of library services including a collection exceeding 61,000 books plus 2,400 books on tape/CD, a wing dedicated to its extensive children’s collection, public computer/internet access, special programming for children including a summer reading program, and the Clayton History Room which houses reference materials, family histories, and artifacts significant to the people and culture of Clayton.

100 S. Church St.
Clayton, NC  27520

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235-A East Market Street
Smithfield, North Carolina 27577

tel 919.989.8687  |  fax 919.989.6295
toll free 1.800.441.7829


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