Clayton is a town in Jefferson County, New York, United States. The population was 5,153 at the 2010 census. The town is named after John M. Clayton, a federal political leader from Delaware. The town contains a village also named Clayton. Both are northwest of Watertown. The village of Clayton, nearby Cape Vincent, and Alexandria Bay are popular tourist destinations on the New York mainland side of the Thousand Islands region. The area was first settled around 1801. The town was formed from parts of the towns of Orleans and Lyme in 1833. The town was named after statesman John M. Clayton. The village of Clayton became the main railroad terminus for the Thousand Islands resort region, during its heyday at the turn of the twentieth century.
The town of Clayton offered several hotels to visitors, some grand, now mostly vanished. In 1872, the community of Clayton voted to set itself apart from the town by incorporating as a village. Fairview Manor, Swarthout Site-A04507.000038, and Grindstone Island Upper Schoolhouse are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 104.0 square miles (269.4 km2), of which 82.4 square miles (213.3 km2) are land and 21.7 square miles (56.1 km2), or 20.83%, are water. The town is situated on the St. Lawrence River near Lake Ontario. Across the river lies Ontario, Canada.
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