Today's Clayton is an elegant, relaxing place, an oasis of calm isolated from the rest of fast-paced Contra Costa County. This place exists because of the vision of founder Joel Clayton, who was born in Bugsworth, England, in 1812. Clayton made his way to the United States, where he became an entrepreneur and land developer in the East before moving with his family to California, where he envisioned and then built an agricultural and mining center in these rolling hills in 1857. The miners and farmers here worked the land to serve the rapidly developing urban civilization in the Bay Area, which before long reached the little village. Gradually the farms and mining camps gave way to country estates and, later, to the sylvan community we know today.