IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

Silas M. Stalnaker

Silas M. Stalnaker is a scion of a family whose name became identified with Iowa history nearly three-fourths of a century ago and there can be no measure of doubt or uncertainty in pronouncing as to the value of his service during the long years of a signally active and worthy career. He achieved distinctive success as a representative of the pedagogic profession, which he followed for forty years, has served twenty-eight years in the office of justice of the peace and his knowledge of the law is such that he has proved far more eligible for admission to the bar than many who have gained this distinction. He has long handled legal matters of a minor order and his advice and counsel have been sought in connection with the adjudication of matters of much importance. He maintains his home in the village of Littleport, where he has served consecutively in the office of justice of the peace since 1878 and where he has the distinction of being the oldest incumbent of such magisterial office in the county, in point of years of service. He has held practically all other offices in Lodomillo township and is now the efficient township clerk. Silas Marion Stalnaker was born at Greeley, Delaware county, Iowa, on the 18th of March, 1849, and is a son of James and Elizabeth (McLane) Stalnaker, both natives of Virginia and representatives of sterling families early founded in the historic Old Dominion. The lineage of the father includes both English and German strains, and that of the mother traces back to staunch Scotch-Irish origin. James Stalnaker was one of the very early pioneer settlers of Iowa, as he established his residence in Scott county, this state, in the year 1842, when the state was still on the very frontier of civilization. Later he went to Grant county, Wisconsin, where he remained about eighteen months, and at the expiration of this period, in 1846, he returned to Iowa and established the family home at Greeley, Delaware county, near which place he obtained land and engaged in farming, as one of the early exponents of agricultural industry in that section of the state. He was a man whose sterling attributes of character well equipped him for the responsibilities and vicissitudes of pioneer life, and his name merits a place of honor on the pages of Iowa history. His death occurred on the 7th of September, 1875, and his wife, who had been his devoted helpmeet, was summoned to eternal rest on the 28th of June, 1877. Henry P., the eldest of their eight children, is now living retired at Arlington, Fayette county, this state; William is a resident of Cox Creek, Clayton county; Silas M., of this sketch, was the next in order of birth; Emeline is the wife of William Rounds, of Oklahoma; John E., who resides at Strawberry Point, has the honor of being the oldest school teacher in Clayton county; Solomon is deceased; Millard F. is a resident of Marshalltown, Iowa; and Virginia is deceased. Silas M. Stalnaker acquired his early education in the pioneer schools of Iowa, and that he made good use of the advantages thus afforded him is shown by the fact that he early proved himself eligible for service as a teacher. In the district school his seatmate at one time was Hon. Charles H. True, who later attended college and who became a citizen of prominence and influence. Mr. Stalnaker was denied collegiate advantages, but to whom life has ever been a school and through his broad experience and his association with men and affairs he has effectually overcome this seeming handicap of earlier years. At the age of twenty years he became a successful and popular teacher in the schools of Iowa, and he continued his earnest and valued services in the pedagogic profession for forty years. Virtually all of this service was given in his native commonwealth, but for two and one-half years he was engaged in teaching in the state of Oregon, where he had the distinction of being principal of the schools of Bandon, the town that is the most westerly incorporated town in the United States. Mr. Stalnaker has long been one of the wellknown and highly honored citizens of Clayton county, where his circle of friends is limited only by that of his acquaintances, and he has practiced law in a minor way for fully thirty-five years. He is now the dean of the justices of the peace in this county, as previously noted and is the incumbent also of the office of town clerk. He was the census enumerator for Cox Creek township in 1890 and in 1900. His political allegiance is given to the Democratic party and he has been an effective advocate of its principles and policies. On the 16th of August, 1897, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Stalnaker to Miss Anna Gottschalk, who was born and reared in Clayton county, and they have two children, Minerva M., who was born October 31, 1900, and Carroll C., who was born October 24, 1910.

source: History of Clayton County, Iowa; From The Earliest Historical Times Down to the Present; by Realto E. Price, Vol. II; page 393-394
-submitted by S. Ferrall


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