Col. Samuel Miles

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Col. Samuel Miles

Birthdate: (65)
Birthplace: Cheltenham, Montgomery County, PA
Death: December 29, 1805 (65)
Cheltenham, PA, Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, United States
Place of Burial: Lot 112, Mount Moriah Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of James Miles II and Hannah Pugh
Husband of Catherine (Wistar) Miles and Catherine Miles
Father of John Miles; Catherine Miles; Hannah McKean; Abigail Potts; James Miles and 10 others
Brother of Enos Miles; Capt. Nathaniel Miles I; Richard Miles; mary elizabeth Miles; Sarah Davis and 2 others

Managed by: Private User
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About Col. Samuel Miles

A Patriot of the American Revolution for PENNSYLVANIA with the rank of COLONEL. DAR Ancestor #: A078889

Samuel was born in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the son of James Miles and Hannah Pugh. At age sixteen, Samuel Miles joined a militia company and engaged in the defense of Northampton in the French and Indian War. When hostilities ended three years later, Miles married Catharine, the daughter of John Wistar, and entered into commerce in Philadelphia as a merchant of dry goods, rums, and wines.

When the American Revolution began, Miles quickly re-entered active service. In August of 1776, Miles was taken prisoner by the British on Long Island while serving as a Colonel of the Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment. He rose to the rank of Brigadier General of the Pennsylvania State Troops by the end of the American Revolution.

Miles, a zealous Baptist, was also active in the political arena. In 1783 he was appointed a judge of the Appeals Court. He served as member of the colonial and state legislatures, as an alderman and, in 1790, as mayor of Philadelphia.

Samuel Miles was elected a trustee of the University of the State of Pennsylvania in 1786 and of the College in 1789. At the 1791 union of that body with the College of Philadelphia to form the University of Pennsylvania, Miles was elected by the College to continue as a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. He resigned in 1793. It is interesting to note that his daughter Hannah married trustee Joseph Borden McKean.

American Revolutionary War general and statesman. A native Pennsylvanian of Welsh Quaker stock, Samuel Miles served as a young man in the militia during the French and Indian War. Despite his youth, not yet being 20, Miles rose to the command of a company in 1759 and was appointed Captain in 1760.

By 1761, Miles left the army, married, and settled in Philadelphia to sell dry goods, rum and wines. He held various elective offices, including the General Assembly (1772-1774), but took an early and active part in the movement for independence. Once again elected to the General Assembly in 1775, Miles continued to serve there and on the Committee of Safety until helping to raise and command a regiment of riflemen in the Spring, 1776. Dispatched to Long Island, however, Miles and 159 members of his regiment were taken prisoner near Flatbush on August 27, 1776, having been cut off from American lines by British forces. He was held in New York until his exchange in April 1778. During his imprisonment, he was promoted to Brigadier General for services rendered.

After being released from prison, Miles served as Deputy Quartermaster for Pennsylvania until 1782, was appointed Judge of the High Court of Errors and Appeals in 1783, to the Council of Census at Philadelphia (1787), the City Council (1788), and Alderman and a member of the Council of Property (1789), succeeding Benjamin Franklin. In 1790 he became the 81st Mayor of Philadelphia, and continued taking an active role in politics until becoming a Federalist Presidential elector in 1796. In that year, Miles chose to support Jefferson for the Presidency over John Adams, reasoning that Jefferson's attitudes toward France would more likely prevent America from entering war. His stand, however, was not viewed well by his Federalist peers. In 1792, Miles retired to Cheltenham, Pa., where he died at the age of 67 on December 29, 1805. He was originally buried in the cemetery of the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia, PA, but reinterred at Mount Moriah Cemetery in southwest Philadelphia in about 1860.

Colonel Samuel Miles

The Centinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)

February 5, 1805 Page 3

Biographical Sketch of the Life of the late Col. Samuel Miles

This worthy citizen of Pennsylvania whose name has been associated for nearly fifty years in the minds of all who have known him, with every public and private virtue, was born at White Marsh, in Montgomery county in the year 1738 or 9. His grandfather and grandmother were natives of Wales, and accompanied William Penn to the wilderness whilst afterwards received his name, in the year 1682.

In the year 1755, and immediately after the defeat, the subject of this memoir, in the 16th year of his age, under a sudden impulse of patriotism, joined a company of militia commanded by Capt. Wayne, the father of the late Gen. Wayne, and marched with him to Northampton county, which was then exposed to the incursions of the Indians. His activity and zeal in this service attracted the notice of Robert Hunter Morris, the then Governor of the province, who, unsolicited, sent him an ensigns commition in the provincial troops in the year 1757. In 1758 he was promoted to a lieutenancy and in 1760 he received the command of a company. During these three years he was engaged in active service, alternately with provincial and British troops. In a skirmish near Fort Legonier with a party of French and Indians, he was slightly wounded, in the year 1759.

At the close of the war he married Miss Catharine Wister, daughter of Mr. John Wister, a wealthy and respectable merchant, and entered into trade in Philadelphia, by which he accumulated such an independency as induced him to retire to the country in the year 1774. During his residence in Philadelphia, he was chosen by his fellow citizens to fill several public stations, among others that of a member of the legislature.

Upon the war breaking out between Great Britain and America 1775, he again felt the influence of a martial and public spirit. His neighborhood partook of it, and was formed by him into a regiment of militia. Into the year 1776 he accepted of the command of a regiment of riflemen, consisting of 1000 men, which was attached to the regular army under the command of General Washington. It was his misfortune to be made a prisoner in the battle of the 27th of August, on Long Island, where he remained in a painful state in inactivity for nearly two years. During his confinement, his country shewed her respect for him by creating him Brigadier General.

After his return from his captivity, he settled in Philadelphia, where his time and talents were constantly devoted to public objects. During the war, he executed the commission of deputy quarter master of the American army, for the state of Pennsylvania, and after the peace, he filled in succession the stations of member of legislature and of the council fo censors, a judge of the court of errors and appeals, member of the executive council, alderman and mayor of the city.

In the year 1792, he again retired to a farm to Montgomery county, where he employed himself with great delight in agricultural pursuits, and lived beloved and respected. “In the mild majesty of private life.”

In the year 1805, he yielded reluctantly to the wishes of his fellow citizens, and became a member of the legislature of the state. His journey to the seat of government, and his attention to public business, revived a disease with which he had been before afflicted, and compelled him to return to his family, in the bosom of which, he peaceably resigned his soul in the arms of his Savior, on the 29th of December, 1805, in the 78th year of his age.

A Scotch nobleman was once complimented upon the number of offices he had filled under the British government, each of which was mentioned to him. “You have, forgotten (said his Lordship to his friend) to mention one of my honors, which I prize more than all the rest, and that is, - I have for many years filled the office of an elder in my parish church.” The same are pre-eminence in a ecclesiastical over civil honors was possessed by Col. Miles for many years in the Baptist church of Philadelphia.

A few words upon the character of this excellent citizen, shall close this short account of his life.

He was blessed with a temper so uniformly meek and gentle, that a person who had lived in a state of the most intimate friendship with him for nearly twenty years declared “he had never once seen him angry.” The benignity, and equanimy of his temper appeared in his countenance. It was at all times, serene and placid.

He was ahke happy in discharging with fidelity, duties apparently of a very opposite nature. He loved an cherished his country, as if he expected to lie in it for ever, and yet he served his God, as if he constantly felt that he was a stranger in this world, and that his citizenship and home were in Heaven.

But to appreciate the worth of this servant of God and man fully, it will be necessary to view him in private life. Here we behold him upright in business, sincere in friendship, modest in prosperity, resigned in adversity, patient in sickness, and preculiarly kind, and affectionate as a husband, a father and brother. The remembrance of his public services and virtues will probably soon descend to the same tomb, which is yearly consigning to oblivion the patriots and heroes of the American revolution, but the memory of his private virtues will never die in the hearts of his family and friends.

More can be read about him at

There is a recount of the battle where he was captured in battle

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Col. Samuel Miles's Timeline

March 11, 1740
Cheltenham, Montgomery County, PA
April 15, 1762
Age 22
August 24, 1763
Age 23
December 12, 1764
Age 24
January 15, 1767
Age 26
July 18, 1768
Age 28
January 13, 1770
Age 29
June 24, 1771
Age 31
October 23, 1772
Age 32