Your Macon County Rootsweb Volunteer Host
Why am I looking after this page? Macon Co. needed something I thought I
would like to provide.
My parents, Clara Shelmadine and Nolan K. Miles, were born in Macon Co. and
both graduated from high school. This was an unusual accomplishment for farmer's
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.
Mom had to leave her home due to very tough times and live in town with people
that she did housekeeping for when only 10 years old. She had many jobs,
one of which was working for Howell's Dairy east of town while she attended
high school. Her parents moved to MO from Iowa just a few years after they
were married and immediately built a log cabin where she was born. It was
later replaced by the 2 story house currently standing on the property.
My father's parents were Charles H. Miles and Etta Carnahan and their farm
was located east of Macon on Vine street about 2 1/2 miles. Charles was injured
and later died from being crushed by a farm animal 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 William Arzwell Miles was
my G Grandfather.
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. Just before I was born, Dad got his jaw broken by a guy with
brass knuckles when he went after the guy who dragged my pregnant Mom, backwards
off a street car to take her place on the step before it moved. I was born
in 1931 and the family 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 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
who would be very upset with the refrigeration repairman. Ice Cream companies
started about then in Chicago and Dad worked for Meadow Gold Ice Cream Co.
Us kids joined Mom's church known then as the RLDS church and I was very
active in the Priesthood of that church till 1984.
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. His most notable construction work was in Oak
Ridge, KY and the Hanford Project in Washington State which was later to
make Plutonium in the development of the atomic bomb.
After being in 10 different schools by the time I graduated 8th grade, I
was really emotionally messed up due to bullying for the last 3 years. After
the war, 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 returned for visits every month or so.
Mom and Dad divorced in 1947 and he moved to Chicago where 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
1972. Dad passed away in 1977 at 70 due to a heart attack.
After graduating Macon High School in 1949, I attended Graceland Jr. College
in Lamoni, IA for 2 years and then off to 4 years in the Air Force
during the Korean War. I 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
I attended the University of Missouri and got my BSEE while attending on
the GI BILL. 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 1964 RCA laid off about 1000 engineers and I went to work for IBM in
Poughkeepsie, NY 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 the cards into the manufacturing process.
Mom ran a second hand clothing store for needy people in Cameron MO for several
years and then moved to NY near me in 1986 after a trip to the hospital scared
her pretty bad. Mom passed away from many health problems in 1997.
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.
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.