Dr. John Glenwood Clayton was born in Roxboro, North Carolina on July 11, 1941, to Russell and Pauline Clayton. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Wake Forest University in 1963 and a Bachelor of Divinity from the Southern Baptist Seminary in 1967. On August 1, 1964, he married Mary Greer Owens.
Clayton was Music Director for Longhurst Baptist Church in North Carolina from 1963-1964. He moved to Hayden, Indiana to be Pastor at Hayden Baptist Church from 1967-1969. From 1970-1971, Clayton was Instructor in Church History at Simmons Bible College in Louisville, Kentucky. He earned a Doctorate in Theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1971.
Dr. Clayton joined the Furman University faculty in 1972 and served as curator for the South Carolina Baptist History Collection and as the Furman University Archivist, retiring in 2003.