Diary 1815 - 1818 of Thomas Odber Miles, 1789 - 1858:
Thomas Odber Miles was born in Maugerville, New Brunswick, on 20 April 1789. He was the son of Captain Elijah Miles (c.1752-1831), who had served with DeLancey's Brigade during the American Revolution, and his wife Frances Cornwell (d.1799).
Elijah Miles and his brother, Samuel Miles (1740-1821), were both sons of Justin/Justus Miles of New Milford, Connecticut, and came to Saint John as Loyalists in 1783. Samuel's wife, Abigail Pickett (c.1760-1795), was the daughter another Loyalist, David Pickett of Stamford, Connecticut. The Miles ancestry can be traced to Richard Miles, of Wormley, Hertfordshire, England, who died in New England in 1666. Because Samuel Miles opposed the rebel cause, he was forced to flee to Long Island and his property was confiscated and sold. He served as Commissary at Lloyd's Neck and was the lieutenant in charge of a militia company of refugees that came to Saint John in 1783. He resided in that city until his death.
When Elijah Miles found that the regimental lands assigned to his battalion were on the St. John River 60 miles above Fredericton, he purchased land in Maugerville, Sunbury County, and settled there. According to his Diary, Thomas Miles was not only a farmer, but was also involved in shipbuilding, and even acted as the local dentist. He served as a justice of the peace from 1822 onward, represented Sunbury County in the New Brunswick House of Assembly from 1827-1837, and again from 1846-1850, and was a lieutenant colonel of the New Brunswick Militia. Thomas O. Miles died on 5 June 1858 and is buried in Holy Trinity Church Cenetery in Lower St. Marys, New Brunswcick.
The first entry in the Diary is a note concerning the marriage of Thomas Odber Miles and Sarah Ann Carman, 15 March 1811, and their move to Oromocto on March 27 of the same year. The Diary continues, intermittently, until 1 April 1818 when they returned to Maugerville, and ends on 19 April 1818. While the Diary covers only a short span of years, it is a valuable source for historians in several respects. It is perhaps the only document which gives such a detailed picture of life in this part of the St. John River during the period. Information on farming, weather conditions, including the severe conditions in the summer of 1816, and shipbuilding at Oromocto, are of particular importance. Names connected with lumbering and shipbuilding that can be found in the Diary are: Dow, Peters, Wiggins, Perley, Kimball, Hazen, and others. Thomas Miles was connected to many other well known New Brunswick names. They include the family of the poet Bliss Carman, Charles Harrison and Israel Perley of Maugherville, and Dr. William H. Smith of Saint John. References to many Loyalist surnames can be found in the Diary and include: Flewelling, Church, Lyons, Clarke, Hubble, Mersereau, Bisset, Dingee, Brown, Clowes, Hamilton, Hatheway, Foster, Ham, Kinney, Hatch, Webber, McCarthy, Anthony, Street, Hayt, McNamara, and others. Vessels named in the Diary include: Union(brig), Fanny(sloop), Harry(brig), Alligator(sloop), Harmony, Oromocto(brig), Frances Ann, Perseverance(sloop), Union(schooner).
The original Diary is held by the heirs and was loaned to the Harriet Irving Library, University of New Brunswick, to be microfilmed and included in the Loyalist Collection. [Harriet Irving Library, University of New Brunswick, Call Number: MIC-Loyalist FC LFR .M5T4D5, (1 microfilm reel of textual records), http://www.lib.unb.ca/collections/loyalist/seeOne.php?id=697&string=, An introduction, proper name index, and a genealogical chart of the Miles family created by Barry J. Grant, Fredericton, N.B. has been microfilmed at the beginning of the reel. The Diary is not paged, but the names in the index follow the chronology of the Diary and provide access to the material. The background material provided by the author of the Introduction has been a source of much useful information in the preparation of this inventory description.]