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Fayette County, Iowa
Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910
Author: G. Blessin
B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana
Vol. I, Biographical Sketches
RANSON S. NILES
Many friends and acquaintances of R. S. Niles, a well known agriculturist for many years in Fayette county, but now retired, know of his energy, public spirit and exemplary character and such a wholesome career will not soon be forgotten. He was born in Vermont, of hardy New England parents, March 4, 1834, the son of Alansor and Olive (Stoddard) Niles, both natives of Vermont. His paternal grandfather, Icabod Niles, was born in Connecticut, and he was a pioneer in Alburg, Vermont, where he established a home and engaged in farming until his death. The maternal grandfather, _____ Stoddard, married Laura Ladd, whose father was one of the earliest settlers in North Hero, Vermont, where he owned a large tract of land and was proprietor of a hotel. The father of R. S. Niles was educated in the common schools of Vermont and followed farming, spending the rest of his life in Vermont. He took an active part in politics, was a Whig, later a Republican and he held various offices in those early days. He and his wife reared a family of nine children. Icabod Niles, grandfather of R. S. Niles, was also a local politician and he served as justice of the peace for many years. Sumner A. Niles, brother of R. S. Niles, was a soldier in the Civil war, as was also I. E., who entered the service later in the war; N. C. Niles also served in the Union army. R. S. Niles of this review was a member of company G, Thirty-eighth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, having enlisted in the fall of 1862, served two years and two months and was discharged on account of disabilities, after which he returned to Fayette county, Iowa, having first come here in 1858, but he came to the state in 1856, remaining in Clayton county the first two years. He first bought land near Auburn township, Fayette county, and remained on his thirty acres there for several years, then bought one hundred and sixty acres in Windsor township, later one hundred and twenty acres in Bethel township; selling his land there, he purchased one hundred and sixty acres adjoining the old place in Windsor township and there he farmed with his usual success until about 1897. About 1902 he traveled considerably and finally located in West Union and has since lived retired.
Mr. Niles was first married to Ruth A. King, in the spring of 1857. She was the daughter of Isaac W. King, who was born in the state of New York, but who later in life moved to Fayette county, Iowa. This union resulted in the birth of the following children: I. A.; Alma is deceased; Carrie May, Alice R. and Blanche B. The mother of these children died March 1, 1900, and Mr. Niles was married, on September 20, 1901, to Mrs. Nancy H. (Finch-Chandler) Cowle Swank. She had been married twice before, her first husband being Esq. Chandler, whom she married in September, 1855, and they were the parents of three children, Hazen, born July 31, 1858, B. D. Chandler, who was born on August 19, 1860, and one who died in infancy. Her second husband was Capt. Jacob Swank, and the following children were born to them: Lulu, born January 19, 1868; Eddie, born June 6, 1873, is deceased. The father of these children was captain of Company F, Third Iowa Volunteer Infantry.
~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Tom & Sharon Dorland
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