See the article from the Daily Times:
BETHEL — If Nelson and Harriet Clayton were alive today, they would most certainly be proud of the more than 125 individuals who have proudly carried their family legacy into the 21st century. The extended family gathered Sunday at Clayton Park, the 60-acre parcel located off Route 322, to celebrate the 65th annual family reunion.
It was in 1957 that Harriet, then widowed, donated the property to Delaware County in honor of her late husband.
“If mother were here, she would be simply delighted,” said 93-year-old Anne Clayton Nesbitt. “She loved the woods, streams and nature. She would also be so proud of how our family has grown, as would my father.”
Nesbitt said her mother was interested in providing a safe, beautiful place for children to play for generations to come and tat is why the donation of the land was made.
“Clayton Park is now a source of great pleasure to an enormous number of people with its ballfields, playground equipment, picnic areas and golf course,” Nesbitt said.
In addition to the delicious food and excitement of family members gathering together, this year’s reunion had extra special meaning. A large wooden pavilion, more than four years in the planning, was dedicated in memory of Harriet Clayton.
“The park is dedicated to my father,” said Nesbitt. “Now, the pavilion is in honor of my mother. Isn’t that wonderful?”
The family expressed appreciation to Delaware County Council for erecting the pavilion, with special appreciation to county Parks Director Marc Manfre.
As five generations of the Clayton family sang, ate and enjoyed each others’ company, Donna Davis, granddaughter of Harriet Clayton, reminisced about her grandmother teaching her how to drive on the property where the pavilion now stands.
“After the property was donated to the county, we would come here every day and my grandmother would look to see how many trees had been removed,” said Davis. “She loved this park and was so proud to make the donation.”
Davis’ aunt, Beverly Clayton Martin, one of two remaining children of Nelson and Harriet Clayton, said she vividly remembers her mother taking the children to the stream to wade.
“My mother would not allow us to come alone,” she said. “She sat nearby reading a book while we played.”
Martin also has fond memories of the farm where she and her siblings were raised.
“There were cows, chickens, goats and pigs,” she said. “I didn’t enjoy cleaning out the pig stalls too much.”
At the time the Claytons purchased The Garnet Valley Farm in 1909, it consisted of 120 acres. The parcel eventually expanded to 400 acres at the height of the family’s farming endeavor. And in 1944, Nelson Clayton was presented with an award by the Farm Bureaus of Delaware and Chester counties for having raised the most produce of any farmer in the area as a part of the war effort.
Nesbitt said her mother was an educator, having graduated from West Chester Normal School. And her father was quite the entrepreneur.
“My mother was all about education and my dad was really up on everything,” she said. “We did have every kind of farm animal imaginable and when people started selling mushrooms in the area, my father erected a mushroom house.”
The sisters said when their mother first broached the idea of donating the property to the county, not one of their children had a negative comment.
“We knew this is what mother wanted to do and we were all in agreement,” said Nesbitt. “She would honestly just love this.”