Biography of Edward V. Miles

Edward V. Miles, a renowned and prosperous farmer, is considered a pioneer of Jerauld County, South Dakota. Born in Wessington, Hand County, Virginia in 1838, he displayed unwavering loyalty during the Civil War, serving in the Second Illinois Volunteer Cavalry. After the war, he returned to Illinois, engaging in farming, mercantile pursuits, and grain trading. In 1882, he settled in Jerauld County, developing a valuable farm and becoming a respected figure in the community. Eventually, he sold his farm, moved to Wessington Springs, and enjoyed a well-deserved retirement. A prominent citizen, Miles actively participated in local affairs, and his contributions to South Dakota’s history are commendable.

EDWARD V. MILES is one of the well-known and prosperous farmers of Jerauld County, where he has maintained his home for more than twenty years, so that he is well entitled to be considered a pioneer of this attractive section of the state. He is a native of Wessington, Hand County, Virginia, where he was born on the 8th of October, 1838, being a son of Weston and Sarah (Simmons) Miles, of whose ten children eight are living at the present time. The subject attended the common schools in a somewhat irregular way in his early youth, while he had his full quota of experience in connection with the strenuous work of the farm. At the age of twenty years, he left his native state and moved to Illinois, locating in Piatt County, where he was engaged in farming at the time of the outbreak of the Civil War. He forthwith manifested his intrinsic loyalty, enlisting on July 10, 1861, as a member of Company F, Second Illinois Volunteer Cavalry, with which he proceeded to the front. His command was assigned to the Army of the Mississippi, and he participated in a large number of the most important battles of the great internecine conflict, being sent with his regiment to New Orleans after the Battle of Vicksburg and receiving his honorable discharge on the 11th of August, 1864. The history of his regiment stands as the history of his personal service, which was one of signal fidelity and honor. After the close of his military service of more than three years, Mr. Miles returned to his home in Illinois, where he resumed his farming and also engaged in the mercantile business and in the buying and shipping of grain in Ogden, Illinois, and Indianapolis, Indiana, being successful in his efforts and thus continuing until the spring of 1882, when he disposed of his interests in Illinois and came to what is now Jerauld County, South Dakota, where he entered homestead, pre-emption, and tree claims, about three and one-half miles northeast of the village of Wessington Springs. Here he developed and improved a valuable farm, still retaining the original four hundred and eighty acres and being known as one of the progressive farmers and representative citizens of the county. In June 1903, Mr. Miles disposed of his farm for a consideration of twenty thousand dollars, a fact which indicates the great appreciation of its value, and he then purchased property in Wessington Springs, where he has since maintained his home, being practically retired from active business and enjoying the rewards of his long years of earnest endeavor. Fraternally, he is affiliated with the Masonic Order and with E. O. C. Ord Post, No. 89, Grand Army of the Republic, at Wessington Springs, manifesting a deep interest in his old comrades of the Civil War. It may be consistently noted in this connection that while in active service, he was detailed by the colonel of his regiment to act as orderly to General Grant, in which position he served from April to the 4th of July, on which occurred the fall of Vicksburg. He has been prominent in local affairs and assisted in the organization of Jerauld County, while he was a member of the territorial council at the time when South Dakota was admitted to the Union. He was bill clerk of the second state legislature, in session at Pierre, South Dakota, and his name figures in the records of that session. He and his wife are members of the Congregational Church.

On the 7th of September 1865, Mr. Miles was united in marriage to Miss Jennie H. Gale, who was born and raised in the state of New York, being a resident of Illinois at the time of her marriage. Of this union, nine children were born, of whom four are deceased, while the names of the survivors are as follows: Mrs. Luella A. Gay, Nettie Miles Goepfert, Nora J. Rutherford, Mrs. Sadie Miles Hinter, and Leon S. Miles. The names of the deceased children are as follows: Edward W., Gale W., Noble, and Boscoe C.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top