First known as Smyrna Station, the Town of Clayton began when the railroad came to this area in the mid-1850s. In 1860, the name was changed to honor Delawarean John M. Clayton, a former United States Secretary of State and strong advocate of the railroad. The town was incorporated on April 15, 1887. Clayton became one of Delmarva's largest rail centers in the late nineteenth century - serving as the hub for four railroad lines including the Delaware Railroad, the Maryland & Delaware Railroad, the Spur Line to Smyrna, and the Smyrna and Delaware Bay Railroad. From 1885 to 1920, Clayton was Division Headquarters for the P. W. & B. - later succeeded by the Pennsylvania Railroad.