Miles Station, Illinois was first known as the "Providence" settlement village, but later the name was changed to honor Jonathan Rice Miles. It was located in Brighton Township in Macoupin County, today it would have been in Brighton, Illinois. A road still holds the name Miles Station Road.
Alexander Miles was a native of North Carolina. He was married in Tennessee to Mary Irvin, who was a native of Georgia, and with his wife and family settled in Macoupin County in 1832, becoming pioneers of Brighton Township. They were the parents of Colonel Jonathan Rice Miles who was born in Kentucky in 1820 and moved with his parents to Macoupin County.
In 1837, some forty persons came to the settlement village of Providence. For some time they all resided in the colony house, but soon were able to erect dwellings for themselves.
Jonathan Miles built the first mill (steam powered) in the section of the county where he lived. It drew farmers from miles around and Miles and his partners had a successful grain business known as Gilbert, Miles, and Stanard in St. Louis, Missouri. Miles was enterprising and industrious. He was only in business a short time before he was earning a good income. The reward of his labors had made him a wealthy man.
Miles convinced the railroad to build their line through his town and then sold them lumber with which to lay the tracks. When the railroad wouldn't pay him for the lumber, Miles hired a young lawyer from Springfield named Abraham Lincoln to represent him. Lincoln won the case along with some other cases on behalf of area settlers.
A Post Office was established on August 31, 1856.
At the beginning of the Civil war he formed a company in August of 1861 which was organized as Company “F” of the Twenty-seventh Illinois Infantry, which saw much service under his captaincy. In 1862 he was promoted to the rank of colonel and participated in many important battles.
In October of 1867 the town was renamed Miles Station, because it was largely through Col. Miles influence that the Chicago & Alton railroad was built through the place. The town was platted and surveyed by S. F. Spaulding in 1869, the same year that Colonel Jonathan Miles married Eliza A. Stratton, a native of Kentucky.
At some point, Jonathan became the Postmaster for Miles Station.
The Colonel lived a retired life for many years, occupying a commodious but modest home in the quiet little village that beared his name. He died there on April 1, 1903.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.