In Apr. 12 issue, Russell County News
By Greg Wells
Managing EditorABOVE: Clayton with some of the documents he has organized.
He was born Ronnie Clayton, then he died.
But then he came back.
Before his grandmother died she passed him a secret, which he paid little attention to at the time.
Years later the same sort of orbs, glowing balls of light which some call angels, that brought him back to his body as he lay in the morgue pushed him to discover the truth of his grandmother’s secret.
That’s his story, and despite pressure from a conspiracy by wealthy and powerful people he’s happy to name, he is sticking to it.
Ronnie has, because of his grandmother’s secret, changed his name to Thomas Jefferson Clayton.
Clayton was born here in Russell County, Kentucky, as he says many of the children of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings were.
“I know where the bones of Thomas Jefferson’s first born son are,” Clayton said this week.
Clayton has traced the line and says he has established that Thomas Jefferson Hemmings came here to the Creelsboro area in 1804 and his brother Beverly came in 1819 or 1820.
This is a story he has been trying to tell for several years, and as a result he said he fled his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, when the armed men following him made things too uncomfortable.
“I can prove everything,” Clayton says. “All I want is a DNA swab.”
He says a powerful group that owns the president’s home at Monticello (near Charlottesville, Va.) is working to prevent that DNA test.
He is working toward forcing that test by collecting signatures on a petition to push the keepers’ of Jefferson’s DNA to allow a test.
Clayton has led the kind of life that makes for movies or at least books. In fact he has already written and published one book about his early life and hints at another book about is life, since discovering he was the offspring of a president and his slave.
Starting out life with a lineage including black, white, and Cherokee ancestors isn’t rare enough to warrant a book, but the wreck that killed his older brother when they were still children was one of the first notable incidents.
Clayton said that in that wreck he was lost in the cold and snow. He wasn’t found until the next day. Clayton said the searchers saw his boot sticking up out of the snow.
Given up as dead, he said he was lead back to himself by a floating ball of light, he refers to as an orb.
“I woke up on that cold, stainless steal table and that guy in the morgue started yelling,” Clayton relates the story. “All of the sudden there were all of these doctors there with their masks on.”
The young Clayton recovered and went back to school, eventually graduating from Russell County High School, before serving five years in the Army.
Since then he has worked as a plasterer, carpenter and construction tradesman.
He said he was incarcerated, wrongfully. He adds that he was exonerated, but it was during that low point that he said the orbs came back to pay him a visit and he had the realization that he must find out if his grandmother’s words were true.
Was he the descendant of the man who drafted the Declaration of Independence?
Clayton said there was an effort to destroy the records, but he has found enough to prove it to himself, and to many others.
Since beginning on the quest, Clayton said he has been interviewed in two newspapers, and made his case on 46 radio shows, but has been well received only by the African-American media.
In his wake he indicated there has been the turmoil of buy-outs and firings as the powerful people he says are trying to keep him from establishing his birthright seek to punish those who give him a forum.
“They came in and bought Power-98 and fired everyone,” Clayton said was the aftermath of his tumultuous appearance on that Washington D.C. radio station.
But the 46-year-old Clayton pushes onward with the support of members of his family and friends who believe in his cause.
“It’s my bloodline. It’s not anyone else’s,” Clayton says stridently.
He says he will recover his family’s heritage, and his next step is attempting to get everyone in the county to sign his petition.
“Brooks Bates has signed it, so has H.K. Cooper,” Clayton said, speaking of the Jamestown Mayor and former County Attorney, respectively.
He’s circulating through the county with his notebook.
To find him, email email@example.com or stop by 127 Clayton Road in Jamestown, or call 270-343-6253.