General Sir William Clayton, VC KCB 1st Baronet (1799-1901) was the son of John William Clayton, the 3rd Duke of Greystoke and the younger brother of Jesse Clayton, the 4th duke. Arguably he may have been the most fecund member of the Clayton family, acccording to the researches of Philip José Farmer in Tarzan Alive and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life. He was the great-uncle of Tarzan and the father of several important figures in world history, some illegitimate.
Of his several marriages, as described in these two books:
- his first wife Wilhelmina, daughter of Jakobus Retief, a Boer, died of snakebite before they could return to England
- his second wife, Ermione, daughter of General Alexandros Khatamagos, died shortly after giving birth to their daughter Aspasia.
- his third wife Marie, daughter of a French trapper in the Americans named Grandin and a Crow woman, was swept away by a mountain stream and presumed drowned. Cheryl L Huttner has subsequently discovered that Marie survived and gave birth to a son, Phillippe-Guillaume de Grandin.
- his fourth wife, Lorina, daughter of Lord Dacre and Jane Carfax, gave birth to a son Phileas and daughter Roxana. The marriage ended in divorce and the children were, somehow, disinherited.
- his successive fifth and sixth wives were Maida and Katrina van Kortrijn, whose father Petronius was a Dutch merchantman. Maida was stabbed to death in an altercation with her cook, and Katrina died of a fever while en route to South Africa.
- his seventh wife, Leona Allendi, daughter of a rancher named Giuseppe, he met n Africa serving in the Great Kaffir War, but she died of pneumonia while he was away fighting in the Crimea (Farmer notes that Harry Flashman refers to Clayton in his suppressed memoirs Dawns and Departures of a Soldier's Life.
- his eighth wife, Nathalie, daughter of Prince Alexander Gromsky of Kiev, abandoned him.
- his ninth wife was Angela Bridget, daughter of General Pedro Alvarez y O'Shaughnessy, died of melancholia a year after giving birth to their daughter Angela Clayton, from whom James Bond descends.
- his tenth wife was his housekeeper, an Irishwoman named Margaret Shaw, who bore him his heir, William. She died in a boating accident
- his eleventh wife was his subsequent housekeeper, Martha Wharram, daughter of the vicar of Reigate. Both their children died young, Phileas Sallust in infancy, and Martha in the fire that claimed Lady Clayton as well.
- his twelfth wife was Jane, the forty-one year-old widow of Sir Charles Brandon of Brandon Beeches who apparently saw no issue with marrying a seventy-eight year-old. Their daughter Ultima married John T, McGee of Ohio, from whom Travis McGee descends. Jane died two days after her husband's hundredth birthday.
- his thirteenth wife was a twenty-two year-old widow named Genoa Darnley. Their son Isaac died at age four of diptheria. Lady Clayton survived her husband.
In Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, Farmer also identifies several illegitimate offspring of the General:
- Fu Manchu, by the Chinese princess Ling Ju Hai
- James Moriarty, by his housemaid Morcar Moriarty (although many scholars disagree with Farmer as to which of the three brothers bearing that name Clayton had fathered)
Later scholars have been able to add the following:
- John Henry by Bafia of the Waziri tribe (identified by Dennis Power in his article Hammer of Freedom: The Henry Family)
- Fo-Lan, brother or twin brother of Fu Manchu (the identity of their father is discussed in a pair of articles by Rick Lai and Dennis Power)
- "The Secret History of Captain Nemo" by Rick Lai (original version) - discusses the identities and parentage of the three Moriarty brothers
- "Hammer of Freedom" by Dennis Power
- "Fu Manchu versus Cthulhu" by Rick Lai (original version) - has Fu Manchu and Fo-Lan as half-brothers, sons of Dirk Struan
- "The Devil Doctor: the Early Years of Fu Manchu" by Dennis Powe - has Fu Manchu and Fo-Lan as half-brothers, sons of William Clayton and grandsons of Dirk Struan