It was a perfect storm. There was no other time in the history of Ireland quite like the period from 1845-1852.  This was the time of the Great Famine. Also known as the Irish Potato Famine, it was a watershed event for Ireland which would change the country forever. In addition, there were political instabilities as the British tried to best decide how to rule, poverty, starvation, disease and tenant farm eviction. All of these contributed to a mass exodus unseen before on the Emerald Isle.  It is estimated that over a million people perished during the famine and a million more emigrated. Within a decade, the population of Ireland plummeted from over eight million to less than six million.





It is with little wonder why my great great great grandparents James W Miles and Rosa Murphy fled their homeland.
Most likely newly married, James and Rosa were a mere 23 and 20 years of age in 1855. Young James and Rosa were not alone in their quest, as it is estimated that about 80% of Irish immigrants who left their homes in this period were aged between 18 and 30 years old. Perhaps they lost their parents or were
evicted from their farms. We may never know.

We do know that James and Rosa boarded the "Conqueror" in 1855 and set sail for New York.  Sailing from Liverpool
to New York, the Conqueror was....held and... (more ship info here).



The "Conqueror" arrived in New York harbor on Tuesday, May 8, 1855.


”The Bay and Harbor of New York” by Samuel Waugh (1814-1885), depicting the castle in 1848

Upon arrival, James and Rosa were most likely processed at the Castle Garden Immigration Station in Battery Park. Their arrival to the
United States was 37 years prior to the opening of the more widely known Ellis Island Immigration Station. With a strategic location on
the tip of Manhattan, the location was originally the home to the West Battery fort built in 1808. The army later leased the facility to New York City in
1821 where it served as an entertainment venue, renaming it to "Castle Garden" in 1824. Over the next three decades it served as such things as a
promenade
, beer garden/restaurant, exhibition hall, opera house, and theater.  In 1850, Swedish Soprano Jenny Lind gave two concerts at Castle Garden
to promote her American Tour which was organized by P.T. Barnum.


Castle Garden Emigrant Landing Depot

Today it is managed by the National Park Service and is the departure point for visitors to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It appears much as it did in its earliest days, contains a museum, and is again called Castle Clinton.

Below are the actual manifest records from the "Conqueror" with Captain John Curtis making his
oath.



"CONQUEROR" MANIFEST

Click to see FULL size





In this detail from page 2, James is listed as 23 and Rose is listed below him as 20. ('do' meaning ditto)

Beneath this couple, is a Michael Murphy, Aged 40 and Mary, 40 and Michael Jr., Age 12.
It is unknown at this time, but my gut feeling is these are Rosa's parents and little brother.


Castle Garden Passenger Arrival Records contain the details of about 10 million people who passed through Castle Garden. You may search the site here:
Castle Garden Immigration Database





1860

The first record I have located of James and Rosa following their arrival in NY was their appearance in McKean County, PA (later Cameron Co.) in 1860.
This was five years after their arrival and no doubt they used those years to settle in the their new country and migrate the 200 miles from NYC westward.
Also in that time, they gave birth to a baby girl, "Katherine" born in 1859 in Pennsylvania.

In the Shippen Township, James and Rosa are listed as ages 30 and 25, respectively and little "Katy" is 1.
James is listed as a "Laborer"  from Ireland with a personal estate value of $75. Although not a part of Cameron County until
1860, this area was an important source of lumber and eventually a key railroad route due to its proximity
to the Allegheny River.





1860 Census
Click to Enlarge



Detail of Household






1870

By 1870, James and Rosa were still in the new Cameron County area in the borough of Emporium. There have also been 3 additional
children born to them. All are listed here in 1870. In 1871, the couples 5th daughter, Mary, was born on June 20, 1871.





1870 Census
Click to Enlarge


Detail of Household







1880



At some point, after 1871 the Miles Family was on the move.  After settling in PA, for 15+ years, something
called them to Texas. What happened in the nine years prior to 1880 is still being researched. But we do know that
the entire family made the 1,500 mile journey to Washington County, Texas where they appear in the 1880 census there.




1880 Census
Click to Enlarge


1880 Census
Justice Pct. #6 - Washington Co., TX








By as early as 1885, the Miles family had arrived in the Waco, TX area. Below is a clipping from the
Waco Daily News touting J.W. Miles as the first subscriber for 1892.



Arriving in Waco around the 1885 period, James was well into his fifties. (Depending on which census is correct). Waco had become a shipping hub for
wool, cotton and hides with the introduction of the railroads in the 1870's and 80's.

Seems that James had given up his farming and was now employed at one of the Southwest's largest woolen mills.
Located on Mary St. between 13th and 14th , The Slayden-Kirksey Mill produced both cloth and men's suits beginning in about 1885. It operated successfully for more than a decade. James W. Miles was employed there as a night watchman for nineteen years (begining in 1885) according to his obituary.





By 1900, all of James and Rosa's daughters had married and moved out of the house, except for Rosa who never married.
Oldest daughter Katherine married a man named Woods. Fannie had married Homer Lee Smith about 1890. Annie had married James Thomas Childress in 1888 and youngest daughter Mary had married J.A Broderick in 1899. All remained in McLennan County in 1900 with the exception of Annie who moved to Corsicana, Navarro Co., TX with husband James T Childress.



In the Morrison & Fourmy  Directory of the City of Waco, 1902-1903,  James is listed at 1327 Mary St.
Not far below him is daughter Rosa who is listed as a dressmaker. The address is very near the
Woolen Mill's location in 1903 as it also sits between 13th and 14th Streets.




James W. Miles passed away on October 8, 1904. His widow Rosa, lived until July 29, 1917.
They leave behind many generations of descendants who still remain in Texas.





Here is a 3 generation summary of the
J.W. Miles family
Generation 1
 
1. James W Miles was born Jun 29 1835 in Ireland and died Oct 08 1904 in Waco, McLennan Co., TX. He married Rosa Murphy ABT 1855. She was born May 21 1841 in Ireland and died Jul 29 1917 in Home 1718 N 5th St - Waco, TX, daughter of John Murphy and Rosa D.

Children of James W Miles and Rosa Murphy:
       i.            2.            Katherine Miles was born 1859 in Pennsylvania and died Feb 13 1925 in 1718 N. 5th St, Waco, McLennan Co., TX
       ii.           3.            Fannie Miles was born Feb 20 1863 in Pennsylvania and died Mar 07 1936 in Waco, TX
       iii.                         Rosa Miles was born Feb 15 1863 in Pennsylvania and died Mar 11 1945 in Corsicana, TX
       iv.          4.            Annie Miles was born Apr 15 1865 in Emporium, Cameron County, PA and died Jul 01 1950 in Waco, TX
       v.           5.            Mary Miles was born Jun 20 1871 and died Sep 02 1909


 
Generation 2

  2. Katherine Miles was born 1859 in Pennsylvania and died Feb 13 1925 in 1718 N. 5th St, Waco, McLennan Co., TX. She married ___Woods. He was born in AL.
    
Other events in the life of Katherine Miles
Burial:    in Holy Cross Cemetery, Waco, McLennan Co., TX
 
Children of Katherine Miles and ___ Woods:
       i.                         Debbie Woods was born ABT 1886
 

3. Fannie Miles was born Feb 20 1863 in Pennsylvania and died Mar 07 1936 in Waco, TX. She married Homer Lee Smith 1890. He was born Feb 22 1868 in Monett, MO or OH and died Jan 21 1948 in Waco, McLennan, Texas.
     
Other events in the life of Fannie Miles
Burial:    in Holy Cross Cemetery, Waco, McLennan Co., TX
 
Children of Fannie Miles and Homer Lee Smith:
       i.                            James E M Smith was born Sep 18 1892 in Waco, McLennan Co., TX and died Aug 31 1959 in Denison, Grayson Co., TX
       ii.            6.            J Max Smith was born Oct 26 1894 in TX and died Jul 09 1922 in Waco, TX
 

4. Annie Miles was born Apr 15 1865 in Emporium, Cameron County, PA and died Jul 01 1950 in Waco, TX. She married James Thomas Childress Nov 04 1888. He was born May 08 1858 in Daingerfield, TX and died May 23 1931 in Corsicana, TX, son of John William Childress and Minerva Cranford.
     
Other events in the life of Annie Miles
Burial:    in Calvary Cemetery, Corsicana, Navarro County, TX
Census:    1910 in Corsicana, Navarro Co., TX
 
Children of Annie Miles and James Thomas Childress:
       i.            7.            James Thomas Childress was born Aug 30 1889 in Waxahachie, Ellis Co., TX and died Feb 09 1918 in Family home, W 7th and South 12th, Corsicana, Navarro County, TX
       ii.            8.            William Edward Childress was born Nov 28 1890 and died Jan 29 1969 in Fort Worth, Tarrant County TX
       iii.            9.           Robert L Childress was born Aug 19 1893 in Corsicana, TX and died Jul 14 1957 in Corsicana, TX
 

5. Mary Miles was born Jun 20 1871 and died Sep 02 1909. She married J A Brodrick Nov 21 1899 in McLennan Co., TX.
     
Other events in the life of Mary Miles
Burial:    in Holy Cross Cemetery, Waco, McLennan Co., TX

Generation 3
 
6. J Max Smith was born Oct 26 1894 in TX and died Jul 09 1922 in Waco, TX. He married Gladys Smith. She was born Jun 1893 in NM, daughter of Otto Smith and Mary Elizabeth Kunat./Kuntz
     
Other events in the life of J Max Smith
Occupation:   
Burial:    in Holy Cross Cemetery, Waco, McLennan Co., TX


7. James Thomas Childress was born Aug 30 1889 in Waxahachie, Ellis Co., TX and died Feb 09 1918 in Family home, W 7th and South 12th, Corsicana, Navarro County, TX. He married Virginia `Jennie` Martin. She was born Oct 09 1896 in Retreat, Navarro Co., TX and died Oct 08 1963 in Corsicana, Navarro Co., TX, daughter of George Wesley Martin and Martha Virginia Cunningham.
     
Other events in the life of James Thomas Childress
Occupation:   
Burial:    in Calvary Cemetery, Corsicana TX


8. William Edward Childress was born Nov 28 1890 and died Jan 29 1969 in Fort Worth, Tarrant County TX.  He married Mabel Helen Smith BEF 1920. She was born Jul 04 1890 in Reading, KS and died May 22 1950 in Fort Worth, Tarrant County TX, daughter of William Smith and Lou Pickett.
     
Other events in the life of William Edward Childress
Occupation:   
Burial:    in Calvary Cemetery, Corsicana, Navarro Co, TX


9. Robert L Childress was born Aug 19 1893 in Corsicana, TX and died Jul 14 1957 in Corsicana, TX. He married Hallie Stark.
     
Other events in the life of Robert L Childress
Occupation:   
Burial:    in Calvary Cemetery - Corsicana Navarro Co TX


For more information on the Miles Family please visit the Bio page on my site here:

Happy St. Patricks Day!



March 2011