Your Macon County Rootsweb Volunteer Host
Why am I looking after this page? Macon Co. needed something I thought I
would like to provide. It was an orphan county and I live in the county.
My parents, Clara Shelmadine and Nolan K. Miles, were born in Macon Co.
1910 and 1907 respectively and both graduated from high school. This was
an unusual accomplishment for farmer's kids.
My Mother's parents were Leonard Leonidis Shelmadine and Ethel Bailey and
their farm was located on the east side of highway 63 a mile north of Axtel,
MO. They arrived from Iowa about 1900 and built a home after living in a
log cabin for more than 10 years. Mom had to leave her home when only 10
years old due to very tough times and live in town with people doing their
housekeeping. She had many jobs before finishing High School, one of which
was working for Howell's Dairy east of town.
My father's parents were Charles H. Miles and Etta Carnahan and their farm
was located east of Macon, MO on Vine street about 2 1/2 miles. Charles was
crushed by a farm animal and soon died when my father was only 9 years old.
Etta died in 1929 when he was 22. My GG Grandfather, Armstead J. Miles arrived
in Macon Co. from VA in 1839 and his homestead was east of Atlanta aoubt 7 miles.
William Arzwell Miles was my G Grandfather, also of Macon Co. MO.
Dad left the area and went into CCC for a short period and then to Chicago
where he worked for a time in a store front radio assembly factory where
he was debuging defective units. This was the first of the new superhet radios
still being built today.
Dad came home to ask Mom to marry him and they lived in Chicago in Al Capone's
neighborhood, where I was born in 1931. Later we moved to Oak Lawn, IL where
my sister Nola was b. in 1934. We stayed in Oak Lawn till WW2 was beginning.
Shortly after getting married, Dad entered the apprentice program in the
Refrigeration and Pipe Fitters craft/union. Refrigeration was a new industry then,
just coming to grocery stores. Meat, milk and ice cream could now be kept
in coolers and freezers in the stores for the first time. Ammonia gas was
used initally as the refrigerant and leaks caused store owners great problems.
They got very upset when ammonia gas drove customers from their stores. The
first commercial Ice Cream companies started about then in Chicago. Dad worked
for Meadow Gold Ice Cream Co. working 60 hours a week and geting paid for 40.
Dad moved the family into a house trailer expecting he would be working as
a pipe fitter during the war plant construction period. As gas was rationed
only some of this happened. The most notable construction work was in
Oak Ridge TN and later in the Hanford Project in Washington State which was
later to make Plutonium in the development of the atomic bomb.
After the war, and 9 different grade schools I was bullied and messed up
pschologically, unable to control my emotions when stressed. Mom insisted we
stay in Macon Co. so I would be able to attend all 4 years of high school
in the same place. Dad couldn't make a good living in Macon as a refrigeration
repairman so went to Chicago to get a union job and return for visits every
month or so.
Mom and Dad divorced in 1947 and he married a second time. I have a half
sister named Marietta living near Chicago.
Dad worked on the air conditioning piping required in more than a dozen of
the Chicago skyscrapers that were built before he retired in the early 70's.
Dad had been a 40+ year member of that union in Chicago when he retired in
After being in 11 different schools by the time I graduated high school in
1949, I attended Graceland Jr. College in Lamoni, IA where I healed
emotionally and then off to 4 years in the Air Force during the Korean War.
I attended church in Miami where I met and married Betty Fritz from DE in
1953. While in the AF and living in Rapid City, SD. Mark was born the week
before I was discharged in 1956.
Using the GI BILL, I attended the Univ. of MO and got my BSEE in 1960.
Dale was born in 1958 and in 1960 I went to work for RCA for 3 1/2
years living in PA and NJ. Susan and Neil were born during those years in PA.
In 1964 RCA laid off about 1000 engineers and I went to work for IBM in
Poughkeepsie and later Endicott, NY till the famous downsizings in 1992 when
I was forced to retire. I worked primarily on the printed circuit cards and
boards required in IBM's Intermediate Systems. My Job was the design,
development and release of printed circuit cards and boards into the manufacturing
A happy home with a wonderful wife, 4 children (now grown), ten grandchildren
to spoil, along with genealogy and ham radio as hobbies have all brought
me lots of pleasure.
02/25/07 An Update:
We lived in Apalachin, NY from 1967 - 2005 then sold the house and moved
to Durham, NC where we live near our son, Neil, and grandson, Nick.