Clayton was born in Refugio and wanted to be a cowhand from a young age. When he saw the cowhands riding by he'd grab his stick horse and "lope along wid 'em". He started cowboyin' on the O'Connor Melon Creek Ranch with the foreman, Jim Coward. L.V. Terrell showed him the ropes, literally and figuratively. An excellent rider, Clayton loved the horses, handling the baddest ones no matter how bad. Clayton could remember most of the horses he ever rode and talk about them in great detail. Clayton suffered a stroke in his mid fifties and he finished up his first interview with the project by declaring "Sho' like to walk and ride one more time before I die... I wanna ride one more good hoss... with a bad T-C brand on him.