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 Lewis Miles

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Lewis Miles

  • Birth 30 Jun 1845 Ohio, USA
  • Death 10 Nov 1921
  • Burial Corydon, Wayne County, Iowa, USA
  • Memorial ID 64243222

Biographies and Portraits of the Progressive Men of Iowa Volume 1
By B. F. Gue, Benjamin Franklin Shambaugh
Conaway & Shaw, Publishers 1899

MILES, Hon. Lewis, of Corydon, who served several terms in the legislature and has been twice appointed United States district attorney, was born in Marion county, Ohio, June 30, 1845. He came to Wayne County with his parents in April, 1853, and has resided there constantly since. His father, William Miles, was a farmer. He died December 26, 1879. His mother, Emily Welch Miles, died October 11, 1865.

Lewis Miles worked on a farm until 19 years of age, when he commenced the study of law in the office of Gen. S. L. Glasgow. He was admitted to the bar at Corydon, in October, 1868, and commenced active practice in November, 1872, at which time a partnership was formed with Capt. J. N. McClanahan.
In October, 1869, when but a few months past 24, he was elected to the state legislature, and despite his youth, was recognized as one of the most influential members of the lower house. In June, 1873, the relation with Captain McClanahan was dissolved, and another formed with W. H. Tedford, now a judge in the Third judicial district, under the firm name of Tedford & Miles, which continued until February, 1879. His next law associate was J. W. Freeland and the firm of Freeland & Miles enjoyed a prosperous business until 1891, when it was dissolved. Mr. Miles practiced alone until August 1, 1894, when he became associated with C. W. Steele, under the firm name of Miles & Steele, which still continues.

Mr. Miles was married February 20, 1868, to Miss Mary D Robb, at Corydon. They have an interesting family of four children; William E., born March 9, 1871; Charles B., born February 4, 1874; Winifred, born March 9, 1876, and Lois, born August 5, 1882.

In 1879 he was a candidate on the republican ticket for the state senate, and was defeated, although running far ahead of ticket. In 1880 he was presidential elector for the Eighth district and voted for Garfield and Arthur. He was the choice of his party for member of the upper branch of the general assembly again in 1883, and was elected by a good majority, serving in the Twentieth and Twenty-first General Assemblies. President Harrison appointed him to the position of United States district attorney for the southern district of Iowa, and during his incumbency of that office, extending over a period of four years, not a single indictment drawn by him or in his office was quashed or declared insufficient. His record as an officer and his distinguished party services secured him reappointment to the district attorneyship when the republicans returned to power in 1896, the Iowa delegation being united in recommending him for the place. He takes an active part in politics, and is in demand as a speaker during every campaign. He made thirty-seven speeches in the McKinley-Bryan campaign. He has been engaged in the active practice of law since 1872, except when broken by his appointment to the United States attorneyship, and has a law library of over 3,000 volumes. He is regarded by the bar of the state and by the leading politicians of all parties as one of the brightest and ablest men in the state.

Transcribed from The Biographical and Historical Record of Wayne and Appanoose Counties Iowa
Originally published 1886, Inter-State Publishing Company, Chicago, IL

Lewis MILES, attorney and counselor at law, residing at Corydon, and at present one of Iowa's State Senators, is a representative of one of the pioneer families of Wayne County. His father, William Miles, was a native of Philadelphia, born April 6, 1816, but was reared in Ohio, going to that State when a child, and was there married to Emily Welch. They were the parents of ten children -- Lewis, our subject; S. W., now in Kansas; Lovina, wife of George T. Tosh; Hannah D., wife of C. F. LeCompte; Benjamin T., a merchant of Corydon; Mrs. Martha J. Clarke; Emma, and three who died in infancy, the last six being born in Corydon. William Miles came with his wife and four children to Wayne County, Iowa, in 1853, purchasing land in the immediate vicinity of Corydon where he followed agricultural pursuits till his death, which occurred December 26, 1869. His wife died October 11, 1865. Lewis Miles, whose name heads this sketch, is the eldest child of his parents, and was born in Ohio, June 30, 1845. He began the study of law with General S. L. Glawgow, and was admitted to the bar in 1868. He served in the Thirteenth General Assembly of Iowa, having been elected in 1869, when but twenty-four years of age, and is now serving as State Senator, having been elected for the Twentieth and Twenty-first General Assemblies. Mr. Miles may be classed among the self-made men. His early educational advantages were somewhat limited, but by earnest and determined application he has become one of the leading lawyers of Southern Iowa, and fitted himself to ably discharge the duties of a legislator. He is an extensive reader of the best books, his library being one of the finest in Wayne County. For his wife Mr. Miles married Mary D. Robb, a daughter of William Robb. Politically Mr. Miles is a Republican, and is an able exponent of the principles of his party.


Wayne County Democrat
Nov 24, 1921

Hon. Lewis Miles
Laid to Rest

Progressive Pioneer Passes Away Thursday Morning Funeral Saturday Afternoon

Lewis Miles, son of William and Emily Miles, was born in Marion County, Ohio, June 30, 1845, and died at his home in Corydon, Nov. 10, 1921, at the age of 76 years.

He came to Wayne County with his parents on April 30, 1853, and has lived for 68 years in Corydon.

Lewis Miles was reared at home under Pioneer conditions and received his first education in a log school house in Corydon. He went for one year to school in North Scituate, Rhode Island, and in 1865 graduated from Bryant and Stratton Commercial College in Chicago. Having supplemented his education by careful reading and study, he took up the profession of teaching and was so engaged in Corydon for about two and a half years, at the end of which time he read law under General Glasgow and prepared himself for the bar examination. On October 29, 1868, he was admitted to the bar, but in the following years from 1869 to 1871, in company with Will Richards, engaged in mercantile pursuits. In 1872 he began the actual practice of law in partnership with J. N. McClanahan and after this partnership was dissolved he became associated with W. H. Tedford, remaining in this connection until 1879, when Mr. Freeland became his partner, who remained with him in business until 1893. Since August 1, 1894, he has practiced in partnership with C. W. Steele and this firm has ever enjoyed a wide reputation and extensive clientage.

Mr. Miles has conducted many important cases to successful issue and has handled much of the litigation arising in the city and in the surrounding county. He was well read in law, forceful in argument and prepared his cases and briefs carefully. By his long years of experience he had become one of the most prominent members of the bar not only in this city and county, but in the State of Iowa, and his ability along legal lines found recognition in his appointment to the important office of United States District attorney on Nov. 27, 1889, in which capacity he served until Jan. 1, 1894.

In 1898 he was reappointed to the same office and he again served in the same position from 1898 to 1907, being in all, for thirteen years the incumbent in this position. In 1897 he was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.

On February 20, 1868, Mr. Miles was united in marriage to Miss Mary D. Robb, a daughter of William and Rebecca Robb, and of this union were born four children, William E., Charles B., and Winifred, the wife of H. H. Carter, all of Corydon, Lois the wife of W. D. Jackson of Denver, Colorado.

Mr. Miles also leaves three grandchildren, Tedford and Mildred Miles and Miles Jackson, one brother, B. T. Miles of Corydon, two sisters, Mrs. E. E. Clark and Miss Emely Miles of Des Moines.

Mr. Miles has been an active factor in the local councils of the Republican Party. He has always taken great interest in political affairs and as early as October, 1869, was elected to the state legislature from his district, being the youngest man except two,--Tom Bowen of Wayne county, afterwards United States senator from Colorado, and John P. Irish of Iowa City. In 1883 he was elected and served in the upper house of the Iowa legislature. He secured the passage of a number of important measures which were of great benefit to his district, and his work while at the capital was generally of an important and effective character. In 1880 he served in the capacity of presidential elector. Mr. Miles' life work has been successful in the truest sense of the word. He was broad-minded and tolerant and readily discriminated between the essential and non-essential points as they came up in his work.

Mr. Miles was always been public spirited and ready to do everything in his power for the betterment of Corydon and Wayne county. He took a very active part in the court house question and supported to the fullest extent, of his influence, as a public speaker, and by his money. It is doubtful whether it could have been carried without the aid of the splendid aggregation of public speakers of that day, not least among them being Hon. Lewis Miles.

He was also among the many who showed their faith in Corydon by erecting substantial business blocks on the square—having built a substantial brick 20x80 in 1885, to which he afterwards added by purchase the adjoining building of the same size, and several years later extended both back to the alley, making one of the best business rooms in Southern Iowa 40x160 feet, all of it devoted to the housing of Miles Brothers' business. Later, he, in company with his brother-in-law, C. F. LeCompte, erected the brick building on the north side of the square, as law office for himself and partner and the first story as a home for the Times-Republican.

Mr. Miles has always taken a great interest in advancing the literary standard of Corydon, and the surrounding county, and his library is perhaps one of the best in Southern Iowa. He was a great reader and always kept abreast with the literature of the times, and was looked upon as on as one of the best posted men, in general and literary affairs in Iowa.

He early engaged in the newspaper business and was employed as Editor as early as 1872 on, the Monitor, and has been connected on several since that time. He was a ready and forceful writer and quick to grasp an idea and clothe it in proper language.

The funeral was held at the home Saturday afternoon, and the house was crowded to capacity, a token of the high regard in which the deceased was held by the community.

All Business in Corydon was suspended during the funeral hour.

The floral offerings were impressive. The Rev. Elias Handy of the M. E. Church conducted the services, reading a short biographical sketch, and leading in prayer. Dr. L. E. Warder sang two beautiful songs, "Lead Kindly Light" and Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar." Memorial addresses were delivered by H. B. Bracewell, C. W. Steele and Judge H. K. Evans.

The pallbearers were Judge H.K. Evans, K. M. LeCompte,C.W. Steele,H.B. Bracewell, D. L. Murrowand C. L. Neely. The remains were laid to rest in the Corydon Cemetery.

Those present at the funeral from a distance were: his daughter, Mrs. Lois Jackson of Denver, his sisters, Mrs. E. E. Clark and Miss Emma Miles of Des Moines; Mrs. James Harper, of Greenfield; Gardner Cowles, owner of the Register & Tribune and H. M. Havner, of Des Moines; Judge Fuller and Geo. Fuller, of Mt. Ayr: Jim Wilson, W. B. Hayes and Mr. Rice, of Centerville; Mr. and Mrs. Dan Robb and Wilson Kelso, of Omaha, Neb.'; Mr. J. W. Kelso, of Iowa City; Mr. and Mrs. Earl Calbreath, of Lineville; Mrs. Anna Spencer, of Bethany, Mo., Bert McCullough and F. E. Farr, of Humeston and others.

Family Members


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  • Added: 15 Jan 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 64243222
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  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lewis Miles (30 Jun 1845–10 Nov 1921), Find A Grave Memorial no. 64243222, citing Corydon Cemetery, Corydon, Wayne County, Iowa, USA ; Maintained by InSearchOf (contributor 47282406) .