William Henry Miles was born in 21 Paul Street, Bristol on 27 April 1861 to Reuben Miles, a gardener, and his wife, Elizabeth (nee Groves). Reuben and Elizabeth married in 1851 and had four children: Reuben (c 1853), Elizabeth (c 1857), Thomas (c 1859), and W H. I believe Elizabeth died in 1864 at the age of 34.
Reuben Miles was recorded as living at 82 Quay in St Stephens Parish, Bristol in the 1851 census with his mother, Mary and siblings. Reuben is listed as a gardener who is 27 and was born in Brislington, Somerset. His elder sisters, Ann and Margaret are dressmakers and his brother, William, an optician. His mother is the head of the household and is listed as the part proprietor of the house. They were living between a green grocer and an inn.
Ten years earlier, the family had been living at Conduit Place. Reuben’s father, Thomas, a gardener, was still alive, Reuben was a botanist and another brother, Philip is listed.
The 1861 census sees Reuben living with his wife, Elizabeth, and their children. Reuben is now a potato dealer. They have three children, the eldest, Reuben being born in Westbury, Gloucestershire. Not in Bristol like the other children. Thus in 1853, the family was in Westbury for a period of time.
The family is difficult to locate in the 1871 census and this reinforces my belief that Reuben’s wife, Elizabeth, died in 1864. I have not managed to locate Reuben Miles (snr) in this census. His eldest son, Reuben is living with his uncle, William (the optician) and is a painter. I have not found Elizabeth or Thomas in this census. I believe W H was a boarder living with the Poole family in Malmesbury. Henry Poole was a labourer.
In Nov 1879, W H Miles departed England for Australia aboard the SS Orient. The ship departed from London made stops in Adelaide and Melbourne prior to arriving in Sydney on 20 Dec 1879. We know that W H begani his new life as a saddler servicing rural properties in western NSW. It is to be assumed that this is where he met his first wife Louisa Reynolds.
W H married Louisa on 19 June 1883 in Sydney, NSW. Louisa appears to have died in childbirth (or complications as a result of) on 24 April 1884 at Girilambone. Their son, Louis did not long survive his mother, dying on 30 November 1884.
On 27 April 1889, W H married Mary Ryan (Meme) the daughter of Matthew Ryan and Sarah Heffernan, Irish immigrants who lived in Figtree (near Wollongong), NSW. They were married at St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Sydney. W H and Meme had five children: Bess (1890), William (1891), Frank (1893), Dell (1895) and Molly (1898).
In 1899, W H is selling harnesses from his store in 111 York Street, Sydney. His company moved to 206 Clarence Street, Sydney by 1907. By 1913 he is working for Grimley Ltd (a coach building firm) where he later became the Director.
Meme died in 1905 in Strathfield, NSW. Their son William died the following year following an epileptic fit while a secondary school student. He and his brother Frank were students at Christian Brothers College, Waverly. While visiting the home of Aunt Kate (possibly Matthew Ryan’s (snr) daughter) at Waverly, William had a seizure and fell on an iron fence, impaling himself. A head injury killed him.
In 1906, W H married Eva Tizzard. They had no children together. Eva died on 20 August 1939.
W H died on 23 April 1937 of cancer at his home, Norfolk Cottage (situated behind Allawah Flats) in Katoomba. He was nursed by his daughter-in-law, Laura Miles, and her sister, Gladys Harries, who managed Allawah Flats for him.