Founded in 1890, The J.M. Clayton Company in Dorchester County is the oldest working crab processing plant in the world.
The J.M. Clayton Company began as a small oyster shucking and packing operation in Hoopersville, Maryland, packing seafood and fresh vegetables for delivery by steamboat to Baltimore. In search of better access to supplies, telephone service, and transportation, Captain John Morgan Clayton “Captain Johnnie” moved the operation and his labor force to Cambridge in 1921.
A family business, the Company has been in the Clayton family for five generations. Crab picking was traditionally a family occupation. Generations of crab pickers passed the profession down to their children and grandchildren; some still work for J.M. Clayton today. The legendary Fronie Jones worked for J.M. Clayton for 79 years, and her daughter Nicie followed in her footsteps, working in the picking room for 69 years.