Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wilie Daniel Clifton Monument in the old Fulton Cemetery

Shown above is the base section of the Wilie (spelled Wiley in many old Itawamba County records) Daniel Clifton obelisk monument in the old Clifton section of the historic Fulton Cemetery. The Clifton plot contains many beautiful and ornate monuments.

Wilie Daniel Clifton was born on February 18, 1806 in Wake County, North Carolina. He was the son of William Clifton (born 1764 in Sussex County, Virginia; died 1838 in Wake County, North Carolina) and Sarah Hunter (born 1765 in Wake County and died during the 1850's in Wake County). He was the grandson of John and Mary Clifton and Reuben and Sarah Speight Hunter. Wiley's paternal great grandfather was William Clifton (died 1756).

Wilie Daniel Clifton came to Itawamba County from Wake County during the late 1830s with his brother John Clifton and first cousins Henry and Joel B. Clifton. Henry, Joel and John settled east of Fulton in the New Home Church community and Wiley Daniel settled in the village of Fulton. The Clifton family was quite successful. When Wilie settled in Fulton during the 1830s he probably found that the land was too poor around Fulton to support a plantation large enough to support his family and slaves. He purchased about 2000 acres of rich farming land about 13 miles west of Fulton (just west of present-day Mooreville in and around Tulip Creek bottom) and developed quite a successful cotton plantation. Wilie became partners in a mercantile business on Main Street in the small village of Fulton in 1839 under the name of Eckford and Clifton, with the Eckford family of Aberdeen being his partners.

At this time he also built a substantial house, regarded during antebellum times as the finest home in Fulton. On August 17, 1841 he married Julia Fielder Oliver (born August 19, 1819 in New Bern, North Carolina) the daughter of Joseph Oliver, Jr. and Esther Ann Ellis. Wiley Daniel and Julia F. Clifton's first child was born in the village of Fulton on August 18, 1843. The following year, Eugene, their first son was born. During 1845 their second daughter, Martha Ann was born, followed by Wilie in 1849, Charles H. during 1853 and Julia J. during 1855.

Wilie Daniel Clifton became very successful in the mercantile business at Fulton. The family lived during the fall, winter and spring months at their home in Fulton and spent the summers on their plantation on Tulip Creek in the western part of the county along the Fulton and Pontotoc Road.

During the 1840's, Clifton purchased many lots in the village of Fulton and apparently owned the Fulton Female Academy, which was operated by attorney Robert O. Maupin and wife Louisa. There is a notation in his estate papers that stated Msrs. Harrison and Toomer built a chimney for the Female Academy in the town of Fulton, and laid two hearths and repaired the chimney to the old academy. The estate of Clifton paid the bill during 1855. It is also apparent that Wilie Daniel Clifton was a member of the Fulton Baptist Church ($19.25 was paid out of his estate during 1855 to M.C. Cummings for lumber that was to be charged to the Fulton Baptist Church).

The Clifton’s Tulip Creek plantation overseer was Adam Yeager who was paid $250 a year for his services. According to the 1850 Itawamba County census, Adam Yeager (born 1822 in TN) and wife Rutha, along with their three children (Monroe, Sarah and Permelia) lived on the Tulip Creek plantation twelve miles west of the Clifton’s town home.

Wilie Daniel died on October 16, 1855 of typhoid fever. His plantation on Tulip Creek was sold and his widow and children continued to live in the Clifton mansion in Fulton. Today the Clifton family plot can be viewed in the historic section of Fulton Cemetery

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