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Notes for Frederick Billing Miles and Ella Victoria Smith

1837 Ella Victoria Smith was born on 12 September 1837. [1]

1857 Frederick and Ella were married on Thursday, August 20 at the home of Ella's father. "Frederick B. Miles of Milwaukee Wisconsin United States and Ella V. Smith of the City & County of St John New Brunswick Spinster were married on this twentieth day of August in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty seven by me W. Donald Min’r (A.M.) of St. Andrews Church St John NB. This Marriage was solemnized between us Fred B. Miles Ella V. Smith. In presence of A.C. Smith Georgianna Smith" [2]

1857-1869 Frederick and Ella lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Ella Victoria Smith Miles.

Ella's daughter, Edith Miles Todd, described her mother as "A wonderful character. A saint. Universally beloved."

1859 Philip D. Armour and Frederick B. Miles formed a partnership on March 1 “for the transaction of the Produce and Commission business” in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A copy of the handwritten agreement is in Armour and his Times, by Harper Leech and John Charles Carroll, New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc., 1938. Their partnership was successful but was dissolved in 1863, the year that Armour formed a partnership with John Plankinton. (See notes about P.D. Armour below).

1860 Frederick’s occupation is listed as "conv. merchant" in the census of Milwaukee. (Milwaukee Ward 7, Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Frederick D. Miles, age 26, born in England, lived with Ella V., age 22, born in New Brunswick, William D., age 2, and Francis F., age 8/12, both born in Wisconsin. Servant Hannah White, age 19, born in England is also in the household. No real estate or personal estate value is listed.) Philip D. Armour, age 28, produce dealer, and H.O. Armour, age 26, soap and candlemaker, appear in this census in Milwaukee Ward 4. The value of Phillip's real estate is $5000 and the value of his personal estate is $15000. The value of H.O.'s personal estate is $1000 (no real estate).

1863 F.B. Miles was elected Vice-President of the Young Men's Association of the City of Milwaukee on 12 May. [3]

1863 On August 4, F.B. Miles was a member of the Milwaukee delegation in an excursion of the Milwaukee, Chicago, and Detroit boards of trade to Portland via Toronto. [4]

1864 F.B. Miles was elected President of the Young Men's Association of the City of Milwaukee on 10 May.

1865 On April 10 the Milwaukee white lead manufacturing company was incorporated by G.D. Norris, F.B. Miles, Benjamin K. Miller, John Nazro, and H.M. Finch for the purpose of manufacturing and vending white and red lead, sheet lead, bar lead, and pipe, shot, linseed oil, and oil cake. The capital stock was to be one hundred thousand dollars, divided into shares of one hundred dollars each.

1865 On April 10 the Milwaukee petroleum company was incorporated by Nelson Van kirk, F. B. Miles, Jackson Hadley, Angus Smith and L.J. Higby to prospect, work, manage and develop lands generally know as "oil territory," and to open and work any mines on any lands which may be acquired by them, and to purchase and sell all the products of such lands. The capital stock was to consist of five thousand shares, of one hundred dollars each with the power to increase the capital stock and the number of shares when required to extend their operations, to any amount not exceeding one million dollars. [Private and Local Acts, and Charters of Incorporated Companies, passed by the Legislature of Wisconsisn in the Year 1865]

1865 On July 10, F.B. Miles conveyed his homestead and other real property to his wife Ella V. Miles. The property was worth about forty thousand dollars and contained something over the quarter of an acre which was exempt by law from creditors. A June 1868 Wisconsin court case (Pike vs. Miles) upheld the convenence as proper as the inclusion of the exess property (of value about four to five thousand dollars) in the conveyance of the exempt property to the wife could not be regarded as unreasonable in view of the condition of Frederick B. Miles at the time. The court found that it was very clear that there could have been no actual fraudulent intent as to existing or subsequent creditors. The court documents note the evidence showed that Mr. Miles was engaged in a "general produce, whiskey, and commission business," from July 1865 until January 1866 when he failed; and that his business amounted to "from a quarter to a half million dollars per month" and that on July 1, 1865, he was worth seventy to eighty thousand dollars above all liabilities, after deducting homestead and furniture. The indebtedness to the plaintiffs was contracted in September or October of 1865 and was for whiskey. The court case also noted that subsequent to the suit by the creditors, the Mr. and Mrs. Miles mortgaged the homestead property for twelve thousand dollars lent to Mrs. Miles which she had invested in a milling business in which she had employed her husband for a salary. [The American Decisions Containing the Cases of General Value and Authority Decided in the Courts of the Several States from the Earliest Issue of the State Reports to the Year 1869, Volume XCIX, compiled and annoted by A. C. Freeman, 1888] (The accounts of F.B. Miles indicated that he had assets of $213,638 and liabilities of $82,677 at the beginning of July 1865. In August 1865, after the conveyence of the property to his wife, his assets were $169,292 and his liabilities $72,207. In January 1866, his assets were $268,672 and his liabilities were $274,213.)

1869 Frederick’s family sold all of the family’s goods in Milwaukee and his wife Ella returned with the children to New Brunswick to Ella's father's home. Frederick moved to England and stayed there until about 1874.

1869-74 Frederick was a speculator of varying success. Edith Miles Todd wrote, “Don't know half as much of his life as I'd like to for it was eventful and adventurous. [He] lived in Milwaukee from marriage until 1869. Failed disastrously—went to England until 1874-75. A speculator and usually unsuccessful although at times in his life very well off. Many peculiar chapters in his life, 1869-1874 especially—[He] was a London City Representative at the opening of the Suez Canal [17 November 1869]. [There is] a story in connection with the Franco-Prussian war [19 July 1870-10 May 1871] that would have made him a millionaire if peace had not come when it did.”

1870-1871 Congressional Testimony of Cornelius K. Garrison, Washington, D.C. April 4, 1872 describes his involvement in a contract of 28 November 1870 between W.J. Valentine & Frederick Billing(s), merchants in London, 5 Lothberg street, and William Saint Laurent, minister of interior and war of France, to supply to France in Bordeaux seventy thousand rifled muskets and bayonets; .one thousand carbines, short Enfields, new, with bayonets; twenty-five batteries, of six pieces of cannon each, rifled Parrot guns; and the necessary ammunition for approvisioning of the said batteries (about $1,300,000 worth of arms). The French government gave notice of the abrogation of the contract on February 3, 1871.

1871 Ella Miles (age 33) and Freddie Miles (age 7) lived in 02, Wellington Ward b, Saint John 174, New Brunswick, Canada. [5]

1871 There is a marriage certificate for a Frederick Billing and Kate Minnie Parkes, married 8 June 1871 in the church in the parish of Horsham in Sussex. Frederick is listed as a bachelor, age 37, rank or profession gentleman, living in St. James, Westminster. His father is listed as William Billing, rank or profession gentleman. Kate is age 22, a spinster living in Horsham. Her father is Charles Stuart Parkes, a pensioner from the [?] household service. The witnesses are Charles Stuart Parkes and Lillie Parkes. [General Records Office, England]

1871 The census of England lists a Frederick Billing, age 38, occupation independent, living at 14 Eldon Road in Kennsington, Chelsea, with his wife Minnie Billing, age 22, and sisters Susan Felgate, age 30, and Lillie Parkes, age 12. Servant Thomas Carey, age 13 and occupation page, is also in the household. This Frederick was born in Buckinghamshire. Minnie was born in Windsor, Berkshire, Susan was born in London (Middlesex), and Lillie was born in Brighton, Sussex.

1873 “Conway Oyster Fishery.---Mr. Cholmondeley Pennell, one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Fisheries under the Board of Trade, held an inquiry on the 2d and 3d inst. At Conway, to hear an application which has been made by a company formed for the purpose of importing oysters from America, and fattening them over here for the English market, and who have applied for a Parliamentary grant of foreshore on the Conway estuary for that purpose. The application was opposed by the Conway Corporation, and much local interest was manifested in the result of the inquiry.” [The Times, London, Saturday, Apr 5, 1873, Issue 27656, p. 10, col. B]

1873 “Charge of Embezzlement against a Manager. A warrant has been issued by the Liverpool magistrates for the apprehension of Frederick Billing, managing director of the Conway Oyster Company, on a charge of embezzlement. It is said that on the 22d ultimo Billing absconded from Liverpool, where the company have their offices, and that it has since been discovered that his defalcations amount to about £1,000. Billing left Liverpool by the four o’clock p.m. train on the 22d ultimo for London, and is believed to have been accompanied by his wife, his wife’s sister, and another lady.---Liverpool Mercury.” [The Manchester Guardian, Apr. 4, 1873, pg. 6]

1873 “An Absconding Director of an English Company. Superintendent Kelso yesterday received from Major Greig, Head-constable of Liverpool, England, a circular in relation to one Frederick Billing, a managing director of the Conway Oyster Company, who absconded from Liverpool on the 22d of March, and is supposed to have taken passage to this country. Billing is charged with being a defaulter to the company to the amount of £1,000. The fugitive is described in the circular as being “about forty years of age, nearly six feet in height, stoutly built, handsome figure, walks very erect, and has both a military and American appearance.” He is a native of England, but has an American accent, having lived several years in this country. He is said to be fond of gambling, and frequents bowling alleys. He is supposed to be accompanied by his wife, her sister, and a governess named Miss Morton. His wife usually travels with three dogs, viz., a large, dark-brown, rough-coated dog, named Lion; a medium-sized black and tan terrier, named Beauty, and a white French poodle, named Pop.” [New York Time, April 25, 1873]

In a letter to Edith Miles dated 19 April 1908, Ella Cushman Davis (daughter of Robert and Eliza Delahoy Billing Miles Cushman and half sister of Frederick Billing Miles), wrote “Now the adoption question. I am as sure as one can be of anything in this world that none ever took place. I have your father’s usual signature up to the year I wrote you of as ‘Frederick Billing,’ and he was always called this up to then. Then after two very dreadful years that nearly wrecked your grandmother, & of which your mother never knew, it was best for him to go away for some years under a different name, so he added Miles to his own. This he was known by up till we found him in London, after Annie’s birth; here he was Frederick Billing again, and remained so till he rejoined his family in Chicago before you & Reggie were born. He was then Mr. Miles & remained so till he died.”

c 1875
Frederick Billing Miles, Toronto 1875-1881.

1875-81 Frederick returned to Canada and lived with his family in Toronto. He was a publisher in Montreal and Toronto with Henry Billings Walker. They published The New Standard Atlas of the Dominion (1875) with imprint Montreal and Toronto. Miles and Walker registered the partnership in Toronto 1 May 1876. They published the Oxford county atlas in Toronto in 1876 and the Halton, Peel, and Wellington county atlases in 1877. The business was at 11 King West in 1876, at 79 King East in 1877-78 (Walker & Miles), at 81 King East in 1879, at 8 Union Block at 36 Toronto St in 1880, and at 20 Union Block at 36 Toronto St in 1881 (Miles &Co). [Toronto City Directories 1876-1881, A Dictionary of Toronto Printers, Publishers, Booksellers, and the Allied Trades, 1798-1900 by Elizabeth Hulse, Toronto: Anson-Cartwright Editions, 1982]

1876-1881 The Toronto City Directories list the home of F.B. Miles as 568 Church in 1876, 42 Duke in 1877, 19 St Vincent in 1878-1880, and 5 North in 1881.

1881 F B Miles (age 48, born in England), publisher, and Ella (age 43, born in New Brunswick) lived in St-John's Ward, Toronto (City), Ontario, Canada with children A C (age 20, student), E Maud (age 18), Fred S (age 17, clerk), Herbert D (age 14, clerk), Annie M (age 12), all born in the US, Edith M Miles (age 4 born in Ontario), and Reginald (age 2/12, born Feby 1881 in Ontario), and servant Margaret Little (age 21, born in Ireland). The family's religion was Church of England. [6]

1881 The family moved to Chicago. “He was in Toronto 1875-81 a publisher of Canadian Maps and Atlases, the firm was Walker & Miles. Left Toronto for Chicago with family in 1881 to join Armour & Co. as first head of Refrigerator Car Lines and Beef Shipment, and Agencies. In Milwaukee it was Miles & Armour, Grain Merchants.” [Note written by Herbert Delahaye Miles in Edith Marion Miles Todd's notes]

1886 F.B. Miles published a testimonial about “Swedish Movements and Massage” in the Chicago Daily Tribune 4 Apr 1886, pg. 13: “To Whom it May Concern: I am suffering from Paralysis Agitans, which eminent specialists whom I consulted in New York, Boston, and Chicago declared incurable, unless treated in its earlier stages. All of these gentlemen, however, agreed that Swedish Movements administered by A. G. Schloesser, M.D., S.G. at 3 and 4 Central Music-Hall would materially relieve my symptoms and prolong life, which they did beyond my most sanguine expectations. F.B. Miles, 3336 Prairie Avenue.”

1888 On 27 June, Arthur Chipman Miles, son of Frederick Billing Miles and Ella Victoria Miles, married Jessie Louisa Hamilton in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada. [7]

1891 Mr. & Mrs. F.B. Miles and drs., Fred S. Miles and H.D. Miles live at 3231 Forest Ave in Chicago [8][9]

1891 Frederick died in Chicago on April 9. He had been ill for eight years with "progressive paralysis." [Notes of Edith Miles Todd]

1832-1901 Notes about Armour, Philip Danforth (Frederick Billing Miles’s partner in Milwaukee and, later, employer in Chicago): meat packer, grain dealer, financier, born near Stockbridge, N.Y. He moved to Milwaukee in 1856 after seeking his fortune in the California gold fields. Following an unsuccessful soap-factory venture, he formed a wholesale grocery and produce business with his brother, Herman, and in 1859 entered a partnership with Frederick Miles in the grocery and commission business. Much of their profits came from selling salt and pickled pork to western immigrants, and this venture marked the beginning of Armour's entry into the meat-packing business. He was also acquiring substantial grain interests, and in 1863 operated the largest grain elevator in the city. In 1863 he dissolved the Miles partnership and joined John Plankinton in establishing the pork-packing and grain-dealing firm of Plankinton & Armour. Through the accumulation of large war profits the company grew to be among the largest in the Midwest. Branch offices and affiliated companies were opened in several major cities and were usually under the management of one of Armour's brothers. In 1875, while Plankinton remained in Milwaukee to head the parent company, Armour moved to Chicago to assume management of the Chicago branch. In 1884 Plankinton withdrew from the partnership, and shortly thereafter the Armour family, under the leadership of Philip D. Armour, came into sole control of the organization, which by that time had main offices in Chicago, Kansas City, and New York. Such innovations as the utilization of waste products and the growth and development of refrigeration enabled the company to grow into one of the world's largest packing firms. Armour's interests subsequently expanded and he acquired large railroad holdings and became one of the country's leading grain traders and speculators. Dict. Amer. Biog.; J. G. Gregory, Hist. of Milwaukee (4 vols., Chicago, 1931); S. H. Holbrook, Age of the Moguls (New York. [1953]); WPA field notes. [Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]

Armour's career and his partnership with Miles are also discussed in The Cyclopedia of American Biography, Vol. III (Revised and Enlarged Edition, 1918), p. 54 and in Leaders of the 19th Century by Evelyn H. Walker et al., Chicago: A. B. Kuhlman Company, 1900, p. 85.

1900 On June 8, Mrs. F.B. Miles (age 62, born September 1837 in Canada with both parents born in Canada, year of immigration 1888) lived at 323 Forrest Avenue, South Chicago Township, Cook County, Illinois, enumeration district 76, with her children Miss E.M. Miles (age 35, born September 1864 in Wisconsin), Miss M.A.M Miles (age 30, born April 1870 in Wisconsin), Edith M. (age 22, born October 1877 in Canada), and Reginald (age 19, born February 1881 in Canada). A servant, surname Johnson (age 25, born March 1875 in Sweden), was also in the household. The oldest daughter was a stenographer and Reginald was an insurance agent. Mrs. Miles immigrated in 1888. She had been married for 42 years, had had 9 children, and all her children were living. She owned her house. The children's father was born in England. [10][11]

1901 In an interview, Robert Eliot, a grain dealer in Milwaukee, recalled his former association with P.D. Armour and F.B. Miles in Milwaukee. [12]

"It was in 1857," said Mr Eliot, "that I first met Mr. Armour, being introduced to him by my brother in law, E. D. Chapin, a member of the firm of Chapin & Gregory. Mr. Chapin suggested that I go into partnership with Mr. Armour. Both of us had been pioneers of California, and Mr. Armour had accumulated a little wealth, some $9,000 in deling in gold dust. I had about $5,000 at the time. ...

"Mr. Armour afterwards went into the packing business in a small cellar on West Water Street, where he cut a few dressed hogs, and later he formed a partnership with F. B. Miles and built up a large business, mostly receiving grain from points on the Mississippi river like Winona, Redwing, Hastings, and St. Paul.

"I remember some time later when the first internal revenue tax on liquor was incubating, Miles and Armour happened to be in close business relations with Crosby and others who were dealing largely in whisky, and they seemed to hamve inside information as to what was likely to happen with regard to the whisky tas. They bought very largely. A one-dollar tas was imposed on whisky, and, of course, the price advanced accordingly. They knew in advance that stocks on hand would not be taxed, and so they were able to benefit and make what was then considered quite a fortune. ..."

1902 Ella V. Miles wrote her will on July 29. [13] She bequeathed "to my three daughters (Maude, Annie, and Edith) all my property personal and otherwise" and appointed "my daughters Maude and Annie and my sons Herbert and Reginald" as executors. The probate petition filed by Herbert D. Miles states that the whole estate does not exceed $5000 ($500 for her personal estate and $4500 for real estate). The heirs at law are named as William D. Miles, son, Kansas City, Mo.; Marion E. Miles and Ella F. Miles, granddaughters, Marshall G. Miles, grandson, Dorothy L. Miles and Evelyn Miles, granddaughters, Frank Miles, grandson, and Margaret Miles, granddaughters, all of Hamilton, Ont., children and heirs at law of deceased son Francis F. Miles; Arthur C. Miles, son, Creemore, Ont.; Ella Maude Miles, daughter, 3231 Forest Av., Chicago; Frederick S. Miles, son, Syracuse, N.Y.; Annie M. Miles and Edith M.B. Miles, daughters, and Reginald O. Miles, son, 3231 Forest Av., Chicago.

1904 On January 23, Ella Victoria (Smith) Miles died a widow at age 66 in Cook County, Illinois. She was born in New Brunswick, Canada. She was buried at Oak Wood cemetery. [14][15][16]


[1] Family Document, Edwin Schafer's birthday list.

[2] Canada, New Brunswick, Saint John, Register of Marriage Certificates, Book E, 1853-1859, p. 409, Saint John County Council Records, Marriage Registers 1812-1887, Microfilm RS156, Saint John Free Public Library.

[3] ProQuest Historical Newspapers, document id 175313440/97C1EC3C859A4BE2PQ, Chicago Tribune (1860-1872) [Chicago, Ill], 13 May 1863: 1, [ProQuest(UM)], [ProQuest].

[4] ProQuest Historical Newspapers, document id 560381801/97C1EC3C859A4BE2PQ, Detroit Free Press (1858-1922) [Detroit, Mich] 06 Aug 1863: 1, [ProQuest(UM)], [ProQuest].

[5] Canada Census, 1871, [FamilySearchRecord].

[6] Canada Census, 1881, [FamilySearchRecord], [FHLCatalogFilm].

[7] Ontario Marriages, 1869-1927, [FamilySearchImage], [FamilySearchRecord], [FHLCatalogFilm].

[8] Chicago Blue Book of Selected Names of Chicago and Suburban Towns (The Chicago Directory Company, 1890), 89, [GoogleBooks].

[9] Chicago Blue Book of Selected Names of Chicago and Suburban Towns (The Chicago Directory Company, 1890), 553, [GoogleBooks].

[10] US census, 1900, [AncestryImage], [AncestryRecord].

[11] United States Census, 1900, [FamilySearchImage], [FamilySearchRecord].

[12] ProQuest Historical Newspapers, document id 495676774/97C1EC3C859A4BE2PQ, The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945) [Atlanta, Ga] 07 Jan 1901: 2, [ProQuest(UM)], [ProQuest].

[13] Illinois, Wills and Probate Records, 1772-1999, Record of Wills, Book 45, Cook County Probate Court, [AncestryImage].

[14] Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994, [FamilySearchRecord], [FHLCatalogFilm].

[15] Find A Grave Memorial 47513562, [FindAGrave].

[16] Illinois State Archives, Illinois Statewide Death Index, Name of decedent: Ella V Miles, [Illinois_Archives].

Citation: Robert and Janet Chevalley Wolfe, Janet and Robert Wolfe Genealogy, "Notes for Frederick Billing Miles and Ella Victoria Smith"
Webpage: www.umich.edu/~bobwolfe/gen/mn/m42x43.htm
Email address: JanetRobertWolfeGenealogy@gmail.com
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