John Wurts Cloud, Sr., early settler and planter in the Austin colony and the first known Episcopal priest in Texas, one of eight children of Adam and Mary (Grandin) Cloud, was born at Flanders, New Jersey, on February 27, 1797. He was a descendant of William Cloud, a Quaker from Wiltshire, England, who arrived in William Penn's colony in 1682, and of Robert Cloud of Delaware, who served in the American Revolution. John W. Cloud's father, Adam, was the first Episcopal clergyman in Mississippi. After studying at the Episcopal Academy in Cheshire, Connecticut, Cloud graduated from Yale College in 1823. He married Sarah Adeline Hull in Cheshire, Connecticut, in 1825; they had three children. Cloud served as a minister in Mississippi, then as a missionary in Connecticut, before being ordained in New York in 1829. However, he did not publicly practice his ministry after immigrating to Texas.
He arrived in the Austin colony before May 1831 and settled at Brazoria. In 1832 he was one of a committee of five Brazoria citizens that decided to attack the Mexican fort at Velasco. He then participated in the attack on June 26, 1832, one of the first engagements of the Texas Revolution (see VELASCO, BATTLE OF). Cloud became a division commander and served as a member of the convention of Brazoria Municipality, which framed an interim code of laws and performed other basic functions of government for a large area of Southeast Texas. In 1832 he opened a school, the first in Brazoria and one of the earliest in Texas, where such courses as Latin, Greek, geometry, trigonometry, surveying, philosophy, and chemistry were offered.
Cloud's first wife died of cholera in 1833, and he married Rebecca Johnston on November 1, 1837, in Harrisburg (now Harris) County. They had nine children. From about 1837 until 1845 Cloud was occupied primarily as a planter and stock raiser in Brazoria County. He served as a justice of the peace there from about 1838 to 1843 and was an associate county justice from 1839 to 1842. He moved to the Houston area in 1845 and lived briefly in Austin County before moving to Chappell Hill, Washington County, where he died on September 15, 1850.