Among the venerable and highly respected citizens of Denver township,
Richland county, Illinois, who deserve special mention in a work of this
character, is Silas Cloud, for his life has been one of consecutive and
honest endeavor, resulting in good both to himself and family and those of
his community, which he has seen develop through all its stages.
Silas Cloud was born in Clinton county, Ohio, January 7, 1833, the son of Henry and Anna (Laymon) Cloud, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of North Carolina. They were married in Ohio, settling on a farm in Clinton county soon afterward, where they remained until the death of the subject's father, which occurred in 1835, when Silas was two years old. Henry Cloud was not fifty years old when he died. He is buried in the old Masonic cemetery at Lynchburg, Ohio. His widow remained on the farm in Clinton county until about 1850. The subject was then seventeen years of age. Mrs. Henry Cloud was re-married, her second husband being Christian M. Foster, who was also a native of North Carolina. They both remained in Clinton county the remainder of their lives, the subject's mother dying first in 1880, when nearly seventy years of age. She is buried in the same cemetery with her first husband. Her second husband survived her about three years. No children were born to them. The subject's father and mother were the parents of seven children, all boys but one, all of whom grew to maturity, Silas being the sixth child in order of birth.
Silas Cloud's early education was obtained in the common schools of Clinton county, Ohio, having first attended a select school and later a free school in the days when pupils sat on rude benches, which were usually too high for the feet to touch the floor. He did not get much education until after he became of age, then he fitted himself for a teacher which profession he followed with much success for a period of twenty-eight years. The subject remained at home with his mother until his marriage on October 26, 1860, to Mary E. Montgomery in Clinton county, Ohio in which place she was born, November 11, 1839, the daughter of William and Mary Ann (Extel) Montgomery, both natives of New Jersey, the father of Irish descent. Mrs. Cloud's parents were married in New Jersey and moved to Ohio, buying a farm in Clinton county upon which they lived the remainder of their lives. Mr. Montgomery dying in 1867, at the age of seventy years, and Mrs. Montgomery survived until 1884, dying at the age of eighty-one years. Both are buried in the Masonic cemetery at Lynchburg, Ohio. They were the parents of twelve children, ten of whom grew to maturity, two having died in infancy, the subject's wife was the eighth child in order of birth. Mrs. Cloud attended the common schools in Ohio. When she and the subject were married they rented a farm in Clinton county, Ohio, where they lived a few years, the subject farming during the summer months and teaching school in the winter. In September 1863, they moved to Illinois, settling in Richland county, where they bought a sixty acre farm of unimproved land in Denver township, forty acres being on the prairie and twenty acres in timber. He at once erected a log house and other similar buildings, making rapid and extensive improvements and later buying an adjoining farm of forty acres. They finally owned a substantial frame dwelling. Mr. Cloud taught school during the winter months in Richland county. In 1873 they sold their principal farm and moved to the eighty acres upon which they have since resided. It is now well improved and nearly all under cultivation. Mr. Cloud at one time owned one hundred acres of good land in Denver township, but he has since sold twenty acres of timber land, now owning eighty acres of improved land. He has never lived out of Denver township since coming to Richland county in 1863. Although both Mr. and Mrs. Cloud have seen many years of hardship and privation during their lives, their old age is comfortable and happy. They have always worked hard and have been successful. Mr. Cloud's record as a farmer is worthy of praise, but that of school teacher is especially worthy of commendation, for it covers a long stretch of time, twenty-eight years in Ohio and Illinois, and twenty-six years without missing a year. After he had taught two years he attended college in Lebanon, Ohio, for two years. He intended teaching for thirty years, but thought it advisable to give it up on account of trouble with his eyes. He won a wide reputation as an able educator and his services were in great demand.
To Mr. and Mrs. Cloud six children have been born, three of whom grew to maturity, only two of them now living. They are: Ida, deceased; John L., living; William Henry, deceased; Thomas W., deceased; Albert, deceased; Wylie L., living. John is single and is living at home with his parents. Wylie, who is also single, is engaged in the laundry business in Chicago where he has lived for eight years.
In his fraternal relations Mr. Cloud belongs to the Lynchburg lodge, No. 151, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, at Lynchburg, Ohio, where he joined in 1855, in which order he has passed through all the chairs in the subordinate lodge. He has also been a member of various other secret orders, such as the Illinois Grange and the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association. In politics he is a Republican, and once ran for the office of County Treasurer on the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association ticket in his county. He has been treasurer of the Commission of Highways for sixteen years in Denver township, which position he has very faithfully filled. He now holds the office of School Trustee, and he has been president of the School Board for nearly thirty years. Mr. and Mrs. Cloud are members of the Methodist church at Marion chapel in Denver township. Mr. Cloud has been active in church work and in the duties of the same for many years, having been a member of the church for thirty years. He has been steward and recording steward for twenty-five years, having never missed but one meeting during that time. He has been superintendent of the Sunday school for the past fifteen years. He is now one of the trustees of Marion chapel, also trustee of the parsonage of the circuit. Mr. Cloud has now reached the age of seventy-six years, and he has always been blessed with good health, now being hale and hearty for one of his age. His good life companion is now sixty-nine years old and she has not enjoyed her usual splendid health for the past few years. They are a fine old couple and admired by all Denver township and surrounding country for their lives of wholesome influence and their kindness of heart, and for the great good they have accomplished in material, educational and religious work.
Extracted 26 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 279-281.