Rising above the heads of the masses are many men of sterling worth and value who, by sheer perseverance and pluck, have conquered fortune and by their indefatigable efforts have risen from the ranks of the commonplace to positions of eminence in the agricultural world and at the same time have commanded the trust and respect of those with whom they have in any way been thrown in contact. Among the earnest men whose depth of character and strict adherence to principle excite the admiration of his contemporaries stands W. W. Piles, who is now recognized as one of the leading farmers of his section of Hancock county.

Mr. Piles was born in Irdell, North Carolina, July 16, 1848, the son of Jesse and Clarinice (Elliott) Piles, both also natives of the same place. The father was a life-long farmer in his native state and passed away there in 1864; his wife died there in 1869. They were the parents of the following children: Thomas, who died in 1896, was a resident of Sugar Creek township, this county; William Washington is the subject; Jane is the wife of Samuel Griffith and lives in Buck Creek township, this county; Sarah, who died in February, 1896, was the wife of Monroe Campbell, of Buck Creek township; Adelaide is the wife of Charles Gordon and lives at Indianapolis, Indiana; Alice, deceased, was the wife of John M. Campbell.. The subject was deprived in his youth of the opportunities to obtain even a common school education, but has since by home study and close observation of men and events become a well informed man. He remained under the parental roof until he was twenty-one years old and then came alone to Hancock county, Indiana, where, in Buck Creek township, he worked for four years on a farm owned by John T. Duncan, a brother of his future wife. After his marriage, in 1874, Mr. Piles located on what was known as the old Hunt place on section 25, Center township, this county. This farm, which comprised eighty acres, was one of the first settled tracts in Hancock county and about forty acres of it was cleared and in shape for cultivation. Here the subject has carried on general farming and stock raising and that he is successful and prosperous is evident to even the most casual observer. The well-kept fences, commodious buildings and carefully cultivate fields are silent but effective witnesses to the fact that the property is supervised by a methodical, up-to-date and energetic man. The present handsome residence was erected in 1900 and all the other improvements on the place have been made by the subject. As has been intimated, Mr. Piles also gives some attention to live stock, as do all progressive farmers, and breeds and raises fine grades of hogs, cattle and horses.

On the 21st of August, 1874, William W. Piles was united in the holy bonds of wedlock with Miss Margaret E. Duncan and this union has been blessed by the advent of the following children: Gertrude, born September 6, 1875, is the wife of Samuel Corey, of Noblesville, Indiana; John W., born September 4, 1877, is at home; Florence C., born September 4, 1880, died April 22, 1897; Grace N., born August 15, 1882, died May 1, 1900; Nellie E., born August 15, 1891. Fraternally Mr. Piles is a member of the Knights of Pythias, meeting with the lodge at Greenfield. Religiously he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and takes a commendable interest in the welfare of that society.

Mrs. Piles’ paternal grandfather, Thomas Duncan, followed the pursuit of farming throughout his life. He migrated to Rush county in 1816, the years of Indiana’s admission to the sisterhood of states. He came later to Hancock county, but afterward moved back to Rush county and there died in 1863. Mrs. Piles’ father, Washington Duncan, was reared in Rush county, Indiana, and there remained until he had attained his majority. In 1837 he came to Hancock county and, in company with his brother, John, entered eighty acres of land and later bought another eighty-acre tract in Brandywine township, this county. He had followed farming some while residing in Rush county and had also taught school there in the early days. In 1837 he was united in marriage with Miss Lucinda Sargent, and his death occurred in 1881 at the age of sixty-one years. He was in several respects a prominent man, and at one time owned fourteen hundred acres of land which he divided among his children. He was engaged largely in stockraising and dealt extensively in cattle. He took a keen and active interest in all public affairs and in many ways advanced the interest of his community. To Washington and Lucinda (Sargent) Duncan were born the following children, all living and residents of Hancock county; John P., born August 15, 1841, following farming in Buck Creek township; George W., is an attorney-at-law at Greenfield; David L. is a stockraiser in Center township; James M., also farming in Center township; Margaret E. is the wife of the subject; Susan Alice is married and lives in Center township; Lucinda is the wife of Elmer E. Gart, who lives retired at Greenfield.

Transcribed from Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 278-280.

Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI July 15, 2002.

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Tom & Carolyn Ward / Columbus, Kansas / tcward@columbus-ks.com

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