Friday, October 28, 2016

Life and Death of Samuel H. Piles

We all rejoice when we find an obituary that gives a full, detailed account of a person's life.  The obituary of Samuel H. Piles is a perfect example of one that is full of information. [1]

"Colonel Piles had for the past several years been living  in Paducah, but two months ago went to Smithland for his health. He succumbed to the infirmities of old age, being past the allotted three score and ten, yet Colonel Piles had always seemed to enjoy good health for a man of his age until a short time ago.

"The deceased was born in Daviess County, Kentucky, and went to Smithland, Livingston County, when very young. He was a merchant and politician of popularity and prominence for years, and for many terms was sheriff of Livingston County. He later took up the practice of law, and still later became a traveling salesman.

"Twenty years ago he moved to Paducah, and resided on North Eighth street. He had been a candidate for minor offices, but lived a retired life, principally devoted to his family and friends. Two months ago he moved back to Smithland, and died at the Webb House last evening.

"The deceased had been married three times, his first wife being an aunt of Judge D.L. Sanders, his second wife a sister of Rev. Dr. Bigham, and his third and present wife a sister of Mrs. J.K. Greer of Paducah.

"Three sons survive, and two daughters, Messrs. Samuel, Matthew and Hugh Piles, Miss Rubie Piles and Mrs. Judge Winn, all except Mr. Hugh Piles and Mrs. Winn residing at Seattle, Wash. Mr. Hugh Piles resides at Fulton, Ky., and Mrs. Winn in Alaska.

"Hon. Samuel Piles is a lawyer of wealth and influence in the west, and will no doubt be the next United States senator from his district. Mr. Matt Piles was in the commission business here until two years ago, and Miss Rubie Piles resided here until about a year ago.

"Colonel Piles was popular with all who knew him and studied law under Judge W.D. Greer, of Paducah .

 S.H. Piles
Jan. 12, 1824
Sept. 21, 1904
Smithland Cemetery
Photographed 20 December 2010.

More information on the life of Samuel  H. Piles can be obtained from public records in Livingston County. On 2 January 1871, S.H. Piles obtained a license to keep a tavern at the Waverly House in Smithland.[2] The building and contents of the Waverly Hotel as well as other tracts of land were mortgaged by S.H. Piles on the 18th of January 1872 to Hibbs, Nelson, Bennett & Chipps, who had acted as security for debts owed to James Pringle, Mrs. Emily Davis and Alfred A. Grayot. This indenture mentions that the Waverly Hotel was made of brick and was located above the Court House on the street leading from the river by the Court House. One of the tracts of land mentioned here was the same land willed to Piles by his mother, Sarah Piles, in her will.[3]

[1] "Useful Life, Death Closes the Eyes of Col. Sam Piles at Paducah," The Paducah Sun, 22 September 1904, Image 3, Chronicling America,  , accessed 18 February 2014.
[2] Livingston County, Kentucky Tavern Keepers Bonds 1853-1894, p. 95.
[3] Livingston County, Kentucky Will Book B, p. 240. Will of Sarah Piles, dated 3 June 1862 and proven 5 July 1864.

Published 28 October 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,


Evan Franke said...

This is a very interesting obituary. One thing that remains unexplained is the deceased's military service. The writer refers to him as Colonel Piles, and yet there is no mention of military training or service. It seems from his age, the most likely times of service would either be the Mexican American War or more likely the Civil War, and attaining the rank of Colonel is notable.

Any ideas on what service Colonel Piles saw and under what flag?

Brenda Joyce Jerome said...

I do not know that he saw actual military service. Perhaps the title "Colonel" was an honorary title based on respect. I'm sorry I could not help more.