Dr. Clopton was born in Georgia. While studying law, the Mexican War broke out and he enlisted to serve with General Zachary Taylor (1784-1850). Dr. Clopton completed his M.D. at the University of Louisiana Medical School (now Tulane University). He practiced medicine in Arkansas and Texas, however at the outbreak of the Civil War, he joined the Confederate Army. During his medical career, Dr. Clopton belonged to the Texas State Medical Association and in 1874 was elected its sixth president. He was known for his "flowery oratory" and, according to some of his students he graded exam papers by weighing them on a postal scale. One student even claimed to have proven this by receiving a 95 on an exceptionally long paper which detailed the construction of the Galveston jetties.