ADAM WINSLOW MILES. The Miles family has been identified with Grant and Blackford counties for more than three-quarters of a century. In the earlier generations they were not only pioneers who helped to clear up the wilderness, but both the grandfather and father plied their trade as shoemakers and made all the boots and footwear for hundreds of the early settlers in their community. Mr. A. Winslow Miles, who is now retired from business and living in Hartford City, is not without knowledge of pioneer undertaking himself. In his earlier years he cleared up a farm from the woods, and literally hewed out his own fortune, since he started practically at the bottom of the ladder. It is his honorable distinction to have seen service on the Union side during the Civil war, and he has also been honored in the county as commissioner and with other offices, and people have long trusted him for his business judgment, his public spirit, his integrity, and his devoted Christian character.

Mr. Miles' grandfather was Thomas Miles, a native of England and of English family. He was one of three brothers who left the mother country and established homes in America during the colonial days. Thomas Miles saw service as a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and few Blackford county citizens have more interesting colonial and revolutionary ancestors than Mr. and Mrs. Miles. Thomas Miles was with a Massachusetts regiment. He was married either in Massachusetts or New Jersey, and began life as a farmer near Boston, Massachusetts. While the family lived there Lorenzo, father of A. Winslow Miles, was born in 1802. Also another son, William, and two daughters, Rebecca and Fannie, were also added to the family while living near Boston, and after their birth the parents moved to New Jersey, and some years later removed from the vicinity of Newark to Steuben county, New York.

It was about 1835 or 1836 that the Miles family started on its long migration from Western New York to the state of Indiana. They first found a home in Fayette county, lived on a farm, and both Thomas and Lorenzo Miles followed their trade as shoemakers in that locality. There were very few cobblers in any of the early communities of Indiana, and as practically all footwear was made by hand their services were appreciated accordingly, and it was easy for them to exchange their service at their trade for work performed in clearing up their land, and in that way they improved their little farms. Both were men comparatively humble in circumstances, but were honored for their integrity and useful citizenship, and gradually got ahead in material goods. In 1840 they moved to Grant county, and both Thomas and Lorenzo entered eighty acres of land. Lorenzo entered his in Jefferson township, Grant county, and Thomas in Blackford county, Washington township. Once more they took up the work of pioneer settlers and combined the vocations of farming with shoemaking. Their early home was a double round-log house with a puncheon floor, and people for miles around frequented that place in order to get their shoes made. Gradually their land was cleared up and they lived in prosperous circumstances for their time. Lorenzo Miles was one of the men engaged in the early transportation business before the era of railroads, and for about ten years hauled goods from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Hartford City. It was necessary for him to resort to this occupation since it was more profitable than cutting cheap wood or working at his cobbler's bench, and he had a large family of twelve children to provide for and every dollar was appreciated. Lorenzo Miles spent the rest of his years on the farm which he had acquired direct from the government, and died August 20, 1866. The Revolutionary soldier, Thomas Miles, had died on an adjacent farm, also acquired from the government in 1838, his death occurring in 1849, when a little past eighty years of age. It is from this same general stock of the Miles family that the noted soldier, Nelson A. Miles, at one time head of the United States army, is descended. Further data concerning the Miles connections will be found elsewhere in this publication.

In 1825 Lorenzo Miles was married in Steuben county, New York, to Miss Phoebe Wass, who was born in New Jersey in June, 1805. Her early childhood and young womanhood were spent largely in Steuben county, New York, and she died at the old homestead in Grant county in March, 1869. Her father, Adam Wass, was a native of New Jersey, but died in New York state, and was of Dutch ancestry. In the earlier generations the Miles family was not especially noted for religious affiliations or work, but Phoebe Wass was a member of the Methodist denomination. Lorenzo Miles and wife, as already stated, had twelve children, and A. Winslow was the ninth in order of birth. The only one who did not attain maturity and marry was one who served as a chaplain in a Nebraska regiment during the Civil war, and while returning from the South was stricken with illness and died in a hospital at St. Louis, his body now resting in an unknown grave. The only survivors of this large family are the Hartford City resident and Mrs. Fannie Snyder of Maxwell, Nebraska, the latter being eighty years of age.

Mr. A. Winslow Miles was born on the old homestead previously mentioned in Jefferson township of Grant county, March 17, 1844, and has already passed the mark of three score and ten. His recollections include many interesting circumstances of pioneer days in Grant and Blackford county. The school he attended was kept in a log building and was known as the Bunker Hill schoolhouse, but he learned more from the practice of doing things in the woods and on the farm than through the literary instruction supplied the children of that day. On November 15, 1864, when a little past twenty years of age, he enlisted for service in Company B of the Twenty-third Indiana Infantry, and continued with his command until the close of hostilities, being honorably discharged in May, 1865. It was from the exposure and hardships of a soldier's life that he suffered more than from actual conflict with the enemy. Sleeping out on the bare ground or on a hard board, in all kinds of weather, finally resulted in typhoid fever, and in addition during his long illness his sufferings were aggravated by bed sores, so that he returned from the war much shaken in health. After that trying experience he lived with his father at the old home until the latter's death in August, 1866, and somewhat later started out in life on his own account. It was only after several years of hard work and careful economy that he was able to make his first purchase, and his first deed called for fifty acres in Section 3 of Licking township in Blackford county, and is dated November 12, 1872. He got a start financially by cutting off and selling some large hickory butts which stood on his land, and from this gradually went ahead until he was regarded as one of the successful farmers and business men of Blackford county. In 1883, he increased his land by the purchase of twenty-eight acres, and gradually all of it came under the plow and has ever since been one of the productive farms of Blackford county. It was improved with a good barn and a substantial eight-room house. On February 5, 1911, Mr. Miles sold this good homestead which represented so much of his early labors and sacrifices for eight thousand nine hundred dollars.

Many years ago his business judgment and popularity brought him into the public life of the county, and in 1888 he was elected county commissioner and re-elected for a second term, serving six years altogether. It was during his administration that the present county courthouse was built. In 1891, Mr. Miles moved to Hartford City, went back to the farm in 1895, but in 1898 returned and has since resided at 606 West Kickapoo street.

In the hard work, thrift and careful watch over all details, by which his prosperity has been won, Mr. Miles gives full credit to his wife, whose helpfulness has been an important factor in the acquisition of their modest fortune. She was always ready with a willing heart and skillful hands to assist her husband in hard labor to accumulate enough of this world's wealth to provide for themselves a comfortable home and a good living. During the last three and a half years while on the farm she milked three cows and made two thousand four hundred and forty-four and a half pound of butter to sell, receiving twenty-five cents a pound, also raising numbers of chickens and selling many dozens of eggs at the same time, and always attending to her home duties. She is a Blackford county woman and Mr. Miles met her in that county and they were married January 17, 1867. Her maiden name was Mary Casterline, and her family likewise goes back to the old days of colonial history and the revolutionary war. She was born in Licking township of Blackford county August 28, 1849, and has spent all her life in this county. Her parents were Ira and Melinda (Saxon) Casterline, who were both born in New Jersey, but were married in Steuben county, New York, and in 1836, an early year in Indiana history, brought their family to Fayette county, driving all the way with ox teams and wagons, and were six weeks between New York state and Indiana. In 1840 the Casterline family settled in Blackford county, and acquired a tract of wild land in Licking township, from which was developed in the course of years a good farm. Ira Casterline died there November 16, 1898, at the venerable age of ninety-three years, three months and fifteen days. His wife had passed away in 1863 when fifty-six years old. Going back still another generation in the Casterline genealogy, Ira was a son of Loamo and Charlotta (Fairchilds) Casterline, who were born either in New Jersey or New York. Loamo Casterline, when eighteen years of age enlisted for service with the American troops under Washington at Winsted, New Jersey. That was during the memorable winter following the battle of Trenton, when the American troops were encamped in New Jersey, and suffered almost as severely as they did at Valley Forge. Charlotta Fairchilds, who married Loamo Casterline, was the daughter of Phineas Fairchilds, a New Jersey resident who was likewise with General Washington during a large part of the revolution, and Mr. Washington fed himself and had his horse cared for at the home of the Fairchilds during a portion of the cold winter just mentioned. Phineas Fairchilds also did some good service by using a six-horse team to haul wood for the army. Both Phineas Fairchilds and wife were prominent people in their community, and belonged to the New York State branch of that old and prominent relationship. Loamo Casterline and wife were married just about the close of the Revolutionary War, spent some years in New Jersey and later in New York, and died in the latter state.

Mr. and Mrs. Miles have no children. For the past three years they have been active members of the Seventh Day Adventist church in Hartford City, and Mr. Miles serves as a trustee and treasurer. He is an earnest church worker, and has always been liberal in the use of time and means to promote any good cause and improve the moral and spiritual welfare of his fellow men. Besides his public service as county commissioner, he served in 1893 as superintendent of construction during the erection of the courthouse. He has also for some years held office as drainage commissioner in the county.

Blackford and Grant Counties, Indiana A Chronicle of their People Past and Present with Family Lineage and Personal Memoirs Compiled Under the Editorial Supervision of Benjamin G. Shinn
Volume I Illustrated
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1914
Submitted by Peggy Karol


GEORGE W. SWEIGART, D.D.S. Who peruses the pages of this History of Blackford and Grant counties can not fail to note that in the same is given specific recognition to a very appreciable percentage of the representative professional men of the two counties, and to such consideration Dr. Sweigart is eminently entitled, as he is one of the leading exponents of the science and art of dentistry in Blackford county, with finely appointed offices at Hartford City. That he has shown great civic progressiveness and commands high place in popular confidence and esteem needs no further voucher than that afforded in the fact that he has served as mayor of the metropolis and judicial center of Blackford county. The Doctor was graduated in the Central Dental School, in the city of Indianapolis, as a member of the class of 1902, this institution being now consolidated with the Indiana Dental College of Indianapolis.

Dr. Sweigart was born at Newcastle, Henry county, Indiana, on the 7th of July, 1874, and there he attended the public schools until he had completed the curriculum of the high school. As a youth he served a thorough apprenticeship at the trade of carriage painting, and in preparing himself for his chosen profession he depended upon his own resources, his expenses at the dental college having been defrayed through the money which he earned as a workman at his trade. He became a wage-earner when only twelve years of age and has known fellowship with personal responsibility since his boyhood days. The family lineage is traced back to German origin, as the name implies. In 1779 John and Christian Sweigart, two young men of German, severed the home ties and came to the United States, the two brothers following the example of many of their countrymen by establishing a home in Pennsylvania, where they settled in the vicinity of Chambersburg, the judicial center of Franklin county. They became substantial farmers of the type that has made the German agriculturist of Pennsylvania a national model and in Franklin county they passed the remainder of their lives. From one of these brothers Dr. Sweigart of this review is a descendant, as a scion of the sixth generation of the family in America. Of the next generation his great-grandfather was a sterling representative and nearly his entire active life was passed on a farm in the vicinity of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. After the death of his wife and when he was of venerable age he came to visit one of his sons at Newcastle, Indiana, and shortly after his arrival in the Hoosier State he died at the home of his son Michael, after having attained to the psalmist's span of three score years and ten. Michael Sweigart, grandfather of him whose name initiates this article, was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, about a century ago and there he was reared to man's estate. In the old Keystone State was solemnized his marriage to Sarah Young, and in that historic old commonwealth were born their elder children. Finally, in company with one, and possibly two, of his brothers, and another friend from the same locality in Pennsylvania, he came to Henry county, Indiana, and established his residence in Henry township, two of the brothers having there entered claim to eighty acres of government land each, this land lying just outside of the present corporate limits of Newcastle, the county seat. Michael and Christian Sweigart made the journey from Pennsylvania to Indiana on horseback at the time when they made this selection of land, in the early 40s. Christian Sweigart reclaimed his farm from the forest and on his old homestead passed the residue of his life, but his brother Michael resumed work at his trade, that of blacksmith. He established a smithy at Middletown, Henry county, and several years later he established his residence in Newcastle, where he continued a stalwart and honored workman at his trade until his death, in the 80's, when of advanced age. He was a citizen of uprightness and strong character and he ever commanded secure place in the esteem of his fellow men. His wife survived him many years and passed the closing period of her life in the city of Indianapolis, where she died in 1911, her remains being interred beside those of her husband, in the cemetery at Newcastle. Both were earnest and consistent members of the German Lutheran church, which represented the original faith of the Sweigart family both in Germany and Pennsylvania, but with the changes of passing years Michael and his wife became communicants of the English Lutheran church. They became the parents of nine children, the major number of whom are still living. Of these children Christian Sweigart is the father of Dr. Sweigart of Hartford City.

Christian Sweigart, just mentioned, was born near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and was a child at the time of the family removal to Henry county, Indiana, where he was reared and educated. There he became a substantial farmer and stock grower and he is now living retired in the city of Newcastle, where he is know and honored as a man of rectitude and of genial and kindly nature. After severing his association with agricultural pursuits he served nearly twenty years as a section boss in the employ of the Lake Erie & Western Railroad Company. He married Miss Jane Sweigart, who was born in Henry county, this State, and who died at Newcastle, that county, in 1905, at the age of fifty-seven years, she having been a distant kinsman of her husband. Of the children of this union the eldest is Elsetta, who is the wife of Samuel Williamson, of Newcastle; Dr. George W., of this review, was the next in order of birth; Charles is a resident of Newcastle; Nellie died in that city, in April,1913, having been the wife of Claude Byers; Edna is the wife of Walter Wilkinson and they reside in the old Sweigart homestead in Newcastle, with the venerable father of Mrs. Wilkinson.

Dr. Sweigart has been engaged in the practice of his profession at Hartford City, during practically the entire period since his graduation in the dental school, and his large and representative patronage indicates alike his personal popularity and his technical skill in both laboratory and operative dentistry. He has shown distinctive progressiveness and loyalty in a civic way and has been unwavering in his allegiance to the democratic party, as a representative of which he was elected mayor of Hartford City in 1909 for four years, which term expired in January, 1914, his service having inured greatly to the civic and material benefit of the city. Dr. Sweigart is an appreciative and popular affiliate of several fraternal orders and both he and his wife are zealous members of the Christian church. He holds membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which he is past noble grand of his lodge, and in this lodge he is a trustee, besides having served as district deputy. In the Fraternal Order of Eagles he has held the office of worthy president and been a delegate to the grand aerie of the order in the United States, besides having served seven years as secretary of the local aerie of this order. He is the present record keeper of Hartford City tent of the Knights of the Modern Maccabees; and he has the distinction of holding the office of great sachem of the Improved Order of Red Men in Indiana, this being the highest office in the gift of the order in the State, and organization having 60,000 members in Indiana. The Doctor is affiliated also with the Masonic fraternity, Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks, and the Loyal Order of Moose. In the year 1897, at Bluffton, Wells county, was celebrated the marriage of Dr. Sweigart to Miss Lillie B. Poulson, who was born in that county on the 25th of November, 1875, of Welsh extraction. The two children of this union are Veva and George Arthur, both of whom are attending the public schools of their native city.

Blackford and Grant Counties, Indiana A Chronicle of their People Past and Present with Family Lineage and Personal Memoirs Compiled Under the Editorial Supervision of Benjamin G. Shinn
Volume I Illustrated
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1914
Submitted by Peggy Karol


WILLIAM B. CHANEY. The industrial and commercial interests of the thriving little city of Montpelier, Blackford county, have an able and popular representative in Mr. Chaney, who here conducts a large and prosperous business as a dealer in heavy and shelf hardware, stoves, ranges, farming implements, paints, oils, etc., his well equipped establishment showing at all times a comprehensive and select stock in all lines and his trade being of that representative and extended order that gives evidence of his fair and honorable dealings and progressive policies, the while he is known as one of the loyal and public spirited citizens of the community in which he lives and in which he has secure place in popular confidence and esteem. In his present business enterprise he has proved a worthy successor of his honored father, who was long numbered among the leading merchants and influential citizens of Montpelier.

William B. Chaney was born in Jay county, Indiana, on the 14th of December, 1875, and was thirteen years of age at the time of the family removal to Blackford county, within whose gracious borders he has continued to maintain his home during the intervening years. He is a son of Charles H. and Catherine (Shirk) Chaney, both of whom were born in Ohio and the marriage of whom was solemnized in Jay county, Indiana. In the earlier period of his life the father had been identified with agricultural pursuits, and later he achieved success as a contractor and builder and as a manufacturer of tile, having erected many houses in both Jay and Blackford counties. In 1887 he removed with his family from Jay county to Montpelier, the second city of Blackford county, where he purchased the well established hardware and implement business of the firm of Johnson & Saunders, the establishment having been at that time one of less extensive order than that demanded for the accommodation of the large business which he built up through aggressive methods and inflexible integrity in all dealings and transactions. In 1895 Mr. Chaney and Albert H. Bonham manifested their civic loyalty and liberality by erecting, at a most eligible location on Main street, the Opera House Block, in which were provided the best of accommodations for the hardware business in which they were at the time associated. Later Mr. Chaney became the sole proprietor of both the fine building and the business, and he continued at the head of his extensive hardware and implement business until his death, which occurred in February, 1908. Charles H. Chaney was a man of lofty principles, of unfailing kindliness and consideration and of high ideals, so that he gained and retained not only the confidence and esteem but also the affectionate regard of those who came within the sphere of his gracious influence. He was a careful and farsighted business man and he was at all times ready to give his influence and tangible co-operation in support of measures and enterprises advanced for the general good of the community. His political allegiance was given to the Republican party and while not ambitious for public office his civic loyalty was such that he consented to serve three terms as a member of the city council of Montpelier. He was a most earnest and zealous member of the Methodist Episcopal church, as is also his widow, and he served most efficiently as a trustee of the church in Montpelier, besides having been an influential member of the committee that had general supervision of the erection of the present large and modern church edifice. He was fifty-seven years of age at the time of his demise, and his widow, who will celebrate her sixtieth birthday anniversary in 1915, still resides in the fine old homestead in Montpelier, the home and the city itself being endeared to her by the hallowed memories and associations of the past. Mrs. Chaney is a leader in church and social activities in Montpelier, and her circle of friends is limited only by that of her acquaintances. Of the children William B., of this review, is the eldest; Cleo is the wife of Charles Hart, who holds an executive position in the Blackford County Bank, at Hartford City, their only child being a son; Hilda remains with her widowed mother and is one of the popular young ladies in the social circles of her home city.

William B. Chaney acquired his early education in the public schools of his native county, was thirteen years of age at the time of the family removal to Montpelier, and here he continued his studies until he had completed the curriculum of the high school. As a youth he became associated with his father's hardware business, and he learned all details of this line of enterprise, as is fully attested in the success which he has achieved as successor of his venerated father. Both as a citizen and a business man he is fully upholding the high prestige of the family name and he is one of the leading merchants and loyal citizens of the city that has been his home from his boyhood days. His political support is given to the republican party, he is affiliated with the Improved Order of Red Men, and both he and his wife hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal church.

At Hartford City, in the year 1905, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Chaney to Miss Anna DuChane, who was born in the year 1882 and who was reared and educated in the State of Massachusetts, and who was a young woman, their only child, when she accompanied her parents on their removal to Hartford City, Indiana. Mr. and Mrs. Chaney have no children. Both are representative factors in the best social life of the community, and their pleasant home is a favored rendezvous for their many friends.

Blackford and Grant Counties, Indiana A Chronicle of their People Past and Present with Family Lineage and Personal Memoirs Compiled Under the Editorial Supervision of Benjamin G. Shinn
Volume I Illustrated
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1914
Submitted by Peggy Karol


Deb Murray