Stephen W. Miles Jr.

Submitted by Kerry Patrick

Written on front of this photo is "My Cousin Stephen."  
This photo was also found in Kate Miles's album.  Both pictures taken by a St. Louis photographer.  I did find a website on Early St. Louis photographers  Arthur T. Urie was in business at 2 N. 4th St. during the years 1861-1876.  Stephen Jr. died in 1872, so I'm guessing the photo was taken 1861-1872.  


An Illustrated Historical Atlas Map, Monroe County, Ills, Carefully compiled from Personal Examinations and Surveys, Published by W. R. Brink & Co. of Illinois, 1875.

Biographical Sketches of Citizens of Monroe County, Illinois, p. 31.

STEPHEN W. MILES, (Deceased.)

The late Stephen W. Miles, who died in the year 1872, is deserving of a place among the list of biographies included in this work, no less for his qualities as a prominent business man and an exemplary member of the community, as for his connection with some of the old families of the American Bottom.  By his mother he was connected with the Shook family - one of the earliest to settle in Moredock precinct, and his father whose name was also Stephen W. Miles, was a resident of Monroe county as early as the year 1819.

The Miles family is probably of Welsh descent.  Its first members emigrated to America at a period previous to the Revolutionary war. Some of them took part in that conflict and did their share toward securing the independence of the colonies.  Thomas Miles was the grandfather, and married Sarah Fish.  Stephen W. Miles, the father was a son by this marriage.  He was born at Cazenovia, Madison county, New York, on the thirtieth of November, 1795.  He emigrated to Illinois, and settled at Eagle Cliffs in the year 1819.  He was at this time a young man of twenty-four.  He married Lucretia Shook, and spent the remainder of his life in the American Bottom, where he died.  In the year 1858 he built a tomb as a burial place for himself, family and descendants, "to whose use," according to the inscription, "it is freely dedicated under the care of the oldest male heir of his family in succession, in trust for the above purpose."  Here rest the remains of the deceased members of the family. The spot is the site of an old burying ground occupying the brow of the Bluff just south of where the Duck Hollow road leads out into the Bottom, overlooking for miles the fertile valley below.

The Shook family is of Virginian descent, and was prominent in the settling of the Bottom, where Lucretia Shook, the wife of Stephen W. Miles, sen., was born and raised.

Stephen W. Miles, jun., the subject of this biography, was born in the year 1828, in the month of June.  Two sisters and a half-brother were other members of the family.  The schools in the neighborhood of where he was born gave him advantages for securing his early education.  He was under the instruction of a good teacher, and his natural aptitude for learning was so great and he was so industrious in his habits that he made rapid progress.  His attainments were far better than ordinary.  Through his life he kept up a taste for reading, and acquired thorough scholarship and extended literary culture.  He was raised on a farm, and in his youthful years he was employed in agricultural labor, and indeed, though he followed other occupations, he kept up this pursuit through life.

In January, of the year 1853, when in the twenty-fifth year of his age, he married Mary E. Tyrrell, then a resident of Monroe county.  Mrs. Miles was born in Hancock county, Illinois.  Her father was a native of Ohio, and her mother of Pennsylvania.  After the occurrence of this event, Mr. Miles went into partnership with his father in the merchandising business, at which he had been previously employed.  After a residence in the County of about seven years from the date of this marriage, he removed with his family to St. Louis on account of the great prevalence of sickness in the vicinity of where he lived.  While a resident of St. Louis, he carried on business operations in that city, though at the same time his business interests were still largely in the American Bottom.

About eleven years were spent in the city, and then, in the fall of 1871, the family moved back to Monroe county, anticipating a change for the better in the healthfulness of the region, and took up their residence in the Bottom about two miles below Smith's Landing, and at no great distance from the Mississippi.  Some years before this he had formed a partnership with Mr. James A. Smith of Smith's Landing, and with him had conducted a heavy business in real estate.  It was but a few months after his return as a permanent resident to the Bottom that Mr. Miles' death occurred.  He had not been entirely well for some time before this event, which, however, took place very suddenly.  He visited Waterloo on a Thursday in the beginning of April, 1872, and on the evening of the same day was taken sick.  He rapidly became worse, and he breathed his last on the following Sunday morning, April 7th, 1872.  His disease was pronounced by the physicians to be spinal meningitis.  He left, to mourn his loss, beside a large circle of friends and acquaintances, the wife, who for nearly a score of years, had been the faithful and sympathetic companion of his married life, and six children who had learned to reverence him as a kind and indulgent parent.

It remains only to say a few words in regard to the character of Mr. Miles, and his relations in life.  He was a man of sincere religious convictions, and through his life his influence was always exerted on the side of right, and his efforts directed toward the assistance of every good cause.  He experienced religion and shortly after his marriage became connected with the Baptist Church.  On the subsequent dissolution of this organization in the Bottom, he united with the Methodists, with whom for some time he remained in fellowship.  While a resident of the city of St. Louis he was a member of a Presbyterian church.  But with whatever branch of the Christian church he was connected, he carried the same liberality and benevolence in his religion, the same broad, catholic spirit which led him to be less careful about the particular forms and ceremonies employed in Divine worship, so that there was not wanting the true essence of godliness.  All measures for the advancement of the religious interest of the community, all plans looking to the spread of morality and intelligence, had in him a constant and energetic supporter.  The Sunday-school work especially had his sympathy, and in building up this and other Christian interests he gave both his labor and his means.  His liberality was conspicuous.  The generous feelings of his nature were easily aroused, and whatever his heart prompted, his hand was ready to execute.

In his family he was kind and cheerful, a fond and considerate husband, and a tender and watchful parent.  Seven children blessed his marriage relations.  These, in the order of their births, were Mary L., Amanda C., Stephen A., Edward V., Horine, Leonore, and Clinton Barrett.  The second of these died when an infant, as did also the last.  The eldest daughter, Mary L., is the wife of William T. Ditch, Esq., a prominent resident of the Bottom.

The business qualification of Mr. Miles well fitted him to carry on the extensive business he conducted. He received property by inheritance from his father, but his wealth was principally the result of his own accumulations.  His mind fitted him for enterprises of more than ordinary magnitude, and a shrewd judgment characterized his operations.  He was of medium height, dark hair and eyes, and of attractive personal appearance.  He left behind him an unimpeachable record as a man of integrity and honest dealing in all his commercial transactions, and his death was lamented both in social circles and by the business world.