Biography of Hon. Steven L. Wiles

HON. STEVEN L. WILES. Mr. Wiles is a prominent citizen of Polk Township, and one whose constancy to the business in hand and whose thrift have added so greatly to the value of the agricultural region. He is a native of North Carolina, was born in Surry County in the year 1831, and is the son of Steven and Rachel (Steelman) Wiles, also natives of Surry County, N. C.

Our subject’s paternal grandfather, Steven Wiles, was born in England and there reared and married. Prior to the Revolutionary War he came to the United States and located in Surry County, N. C., where the remainder of his days were passed in tilling the soil. He served his adopted country six years in the Revolution and was a brave and faithful soldier. He was the father of seven sons and two daughters, among whom were the following: Pierson, John, Luke, Hiram, Gillam and Steven. The name of the other child is forgotten. Our subject’s maternal grandfather, Charles Steelman, also an Englishman, was reared and married in that country. He came to the United States previous to the Revolution but was not a soldier. He was a farmer and passed the remainder of his life in North Carolina.

The parents of our subject grew to mature years in their native county and received limited educations in the common schools. They were married there, and there continued to make their home until early in 1832, when they removed to Lincoln County, Tennessee, when that part of the State was wild and unsettled. There the father farmed until his death in January, 1856, when seventy-three years of age, his birth having occurred just at the close of the Revolutionary War. His wife died about 1838. They were the parents of nine children, as follows: Jane, the wife of Samuel Cunningham, died in Stone County; Eleanor, widow of James Miles; Catherine, who died in Laclede County, Missouri, was the wife of a Mr. Reese; Charles died in Lincoln County, Tennessee, a few years ago; Celia, the wife of Henry Sullivan, died in Christian County, Missouri; Rachel, wife of Thomas Sullivan, died in Stone County; Rose, the widow of Marion Wade, resides in Madison County, Arkansas; Polly, the wife of Abraham Cunningham, died in Gentry County, Missouri, and Steven L., our subject.

The latter passed his youthful days amid the rude surroundings of pioneer life and as there were no public schools his educational advantages were limited. In February, 1849, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Mills, daughter of James and Nancy Mills, and a native of Lincoln County, Tennessee Her parents were born in North Carolina, but after marriage they came to Lincoln County, Tennessee, where their last days were passed. The children born to our subject and wife were named as follows: Charles Newton died when five years of age; Langford McDonald; James W.; Eveline, died when an infant; William; Roskwell; Pinson, died in infancy, and Alonzo.

In 1852 Mr. Wiles came by wagon to Berry County, Missouri, resided there for four years and then located near Billings where for twenty-four years he has been on his present farm, five miles southwest of that town. He settled on wild prairie and now has a fine farm of 160 acres in the home place and eighty acres not far away. Nearly all this is under cultivation. In April, 1861, the threatening attitude of political affairs occupied his serious attention, and he first joined the Home Guards, Company M, under Col. Phelps, for three months, or until August 20. He served as lieutenant and was on picket at the Wilson Creek fight. After the expiration of this service he had small-pox and was not fit for duty for some time, but during the summer of 1862 he enlisted in Company B, Seventy-second Missouri Infantry, as sergeant, and served eight and a half months in Missouri, Arkansas, Indian Territory and Kansas. After that he joined the Sixth Provisional Regiment, Company H, as first lieutenant, and served about two months. The regiment then joined the United States service and he served as first lieutenant of Company H, Sixteenth Missouri Cavalry, for twenty months, or until June 30, 1865, when he was discharged at Springfield. He fought at the battles of Jefferson City, Boonville, Lexington, Independence, Big Blue, and took part in other battles. He was wounded in the Big Blue battle and disabled for some time. During the Mexican War, in 1848, he joined an independent company commanded by Capt. C. R. Wheat, of Col. Gideon Pillow’s regiment and embarked at Nashville, Tennessee He landed at Vera Cruz soon after the siege of that city and then pushed on to the City of Mexico. He was in no general engagement, his duty being to escort wagon trains carrying mail, etc., but he was in many conflicts with guerrillas, etc. He was mustered out at Memphis, Tennessee, in July, 1848. In the year 1878 Mr. Wiles was elected county judge from the Western District of Christian County and was reelected to that position in 1889. He made a very efficient officer. Socially Mr. Wiles is an A. F. & A. M. Billings Lodge No. 379, and Marionville Post, G. A. R., No. 41.


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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