I stumbled over some clues here this weekend, and subsequent googling led to the new Abraham Lincoln presidential library in Springfield, where the papers of William G. Cloyd and Bryan Wilson, our house’s first two owners, are stored.
The house was built for/by Judge Cloyd, who with his wife Lillian McKinney Cloyd raised six children, one of whom, Margaret Mary, married Bryan Wilson, a lawyer from St. Louis. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson moved into her childhood home in Bement and lived here until their deaths in the mid-1970s. The house was vacant and decaying until 1979, when Ron and Dee Mulvaney bought it and spent 25 years fixing up the place and raising their children. We bought the house from them in January 2004.
So now we need to plan a trip to Springfield to look through the Cloyd/Wilson papers.
If you’re related to the Cloyds or Wilsons or know something about their house, please leave a comment below.
Updates as I find them:
An 1891 biographical notice about William G. Cloyd:
William G. Cloyd. The legal profession is constantly attracting to it men of ability and shrewdness, gifted with eloquence and a deep insight to technicalities and obscure points of the law. The bar of Piatt County numbers among its most talented representatives Judge Cloyd, whose title was fairly earned by long and honorable service as judge of this county. He was born in Kenton County, Ky., Oct. 5, 1848, and was only four years old when he was taken by his parents to Pike County, Mo. There he passed his youth, receiving a common-school education and coming thence in June, 1865 to Decatur, Ill., where for about four years he was engaged in teaching.
In 1869 Mr. Cloyd began the study of the law and two years later was admitted to practice at the bar. Locating in Bement, he has since been a resident of this thriving city and has been deeply interested in its progress. In June, 1879, he was elected Judge of Piatt County, to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Judge William McReynolds. That he filled the position to the satisfaction of the people is shown by the fact that he was re-elected in November, 1882, and served until 1887, being an incumbent of the office about seven and one-half years. Politically, he is a strong Democrat, and is prominent in the ranks of that party. Sine he retired from the judgeship he has devoted his time and attention almost exclusively to the legal profession and his eminent ability in that direction is widely recognized.
The marriage of Judge Cloyd and Miss Lillian McKinny, daughter of the late I. R. McKinny, was solemnized in Monticello, this state, and of their happy union two children have been born – Candace and Walter. Mr. and Mrs. Cloyd are highly esteemed throughout the community where they reside and by their social and benevolent dispositions have become endeared to all who know them.