Who was Daddy Claxton?

The History of the Fabled Daddy Claxton

Wikipedia says that Daddy Claxton really wasn’t featured in the first versions of The Wabash Canonball American folk song first made famous by The Carter Family, that it was the name of someone else first.

Mudcat Cafe says Daddy Claxton first was included in the song when Roy Claxton Acuff began to sing the song in the early 1900s.

Regardless, Daddy Claxton, from a historical perspective, was a fabled character who died a long time ago and was on his way back to Dixie to go to his final resting place aboard an equally fabled American railroad engine, The Wabash Cannonball.

There are arguments if there ever was a “Daddy Claxton” way back, but my grandpa’s mom was always called “Mama Claxton,” so, as Claxton says, “To me, it’s not a stretch to believe there once could have been a tall, deep voiced Claxton man who was known for his contributions to the American justice system.”

Who Is Daddy Claxton today?

Donny Claxton grew up the eldest of five children to USAF Lt. Col. Bernie Claxton (retired) and Cindy Claxton.  He’s moved 36 times in 48 years thanks to the United States Air Force and his dad’s 22 years of service to our nation.  That means that when moving across our great country, he’s probably been there before and most likely, has friends there, too.

After graduating from Auburn University in 1989, he began working in the Alabama Governor’s Office for the late Gov. Guy Hunt, the first Republican governor elected in Alabama since Reconstruction. When Gov. Hunt left office in 1993, Daddy Claxton had risen through the ranks to become the governor’s assistant press secretary.  After a stint on the campaign trail with Winton Blount, III, Daddy Claxton began working for former Gov. Fob James in his 1994 re-election campaign.  In January 1995, Daddy Claxton at age 30, became the governor’s press secretary.

(It was while working in Gov. Hunt’s office, before he was married and thinking about kids, that Montgomery Attorney G. Dennis Nabors began calling Mr. Claxton, “Daddy” Claxton, in part after the Wabash Canonball, which he would sing with air guitar when ever referring to him as such.)

In 2001, after trying his hand in opposition research and event management, Daddy Claxton and his family of three daughters moved from Montgomery, Alabama to Dallas, Texas, where he took the job as communications director for the Dallas Independent School District, the 12th largest school district in America.  Mr. Claxton was featured on multiple print, radio and live TV interviews over the next six years, including appearances on Lou Dobb’s CNN show, and a show hosted on MSNBC with Tucker Carlson.

In 2007, Mr. Claxton began working for Sunwest Communications in Dallas handling math and science programs supported by the ExxonMobil Foundation.  During this time, he helped build alliances with his former colleagues, include Gov. Hunt’s Press Secretary, Terry Abbott and his Drive West Communications group in Houston, Texas, as well as John McLaughlin and Associates in New York.

The Internet and Social Media

Daddy Claxton always has been an innovator when it comes to using the Internet.

During the 1993-94 campaign efforts, he purchased his first laptop computer and had his first email account with a super speedy 14.4 PCMCIA card.

He also became the first person to establish an email account for a statewide candidate, Gov. James, in August of 1994.

In February 1995, while at a visit to  Huntsville, Alabama’s Super Computer Authority facilities, he was first introduced to the concept of a Web browser.  The Super Computer officials offered to install the first T-1 lines into the Alabama Capitol, and Mr. Claxton bought a “How to write HTML in a week book” and began organizing, writing and posting the first Web pages for Alabama State Government in October of 1995.

In spring of 2004, Mr. Claxton created his first blogging account under the domain of DadsCenter.org.

In the summer of 2008, he began to use social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook using the name DaddyClaxton.

In mid 2009, he stopped using the dadscenter.org domain and switched everything to this site, DaddyClaxton.com.

Mr. Claxton has continued to be an innovator in the use of social media, including involvement with multiple brands, including EA SPORTS Active, Nintendo, Chevrolet, and Gillette.

Today, DaddyClaxton is a social engagement strategist working with brands and bloggers to help them connect with each other via the Internet.  While he still works on an occasional Web site project, his focus on social engagement.  Not social media, but social interaction and exchange.

In 2012 he became an active designer of books for iPad using the Apple software iBooks Author. Since then, he has built and designed multiple books for iPad for various clients including Learning Forward, one of the leading professional development organizers for educators worldwide, and recently has begun work for several corporations making training materials.

Daddy Claxton: The Dad

Daddy Claxton remains as active as he can in the lives of his three daughters.  There’s a whole lot of drama there to talk about, but for now,  just read the blog.  The book will come later.

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