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Clayton is located in Rabun County, of which it is the county seat, northeast of Atlanta between Mountain City and Lakemount along Highway 76 near Lake Burton and the Chattahoochee River. Near the North and South Carolina state lines.

The population estimate for July 1, 1998 was 1,717, an increase of 104 since 1990.

It was named after Judge Augustin S. Clayton, congressman. Local high school students produced Foxfire, the well-known collection of oral history.

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