Henry, Miles S.

Born: 1815-03-01 Geneva, New York

Died: 1878-11-26 Sterling, Illinois

Miles S. Henry was a lawyer, banker, railroad executive, and federal government official. Henry received his education at Canandaigua Academy, where he was a schoolmate of Stephen A. Douglas. After completing his course of study at Canandaigua Academy, Henry read law in Canandaigua, New York for three years. He moved west in 1834, settling for a time in Chicago before moving on to La Porte, Indiana, where he continued his law studies with Judge Gustavus A. Evarts. In 1843, Henry married Philena N. Mann, Evart's adopted daughter, and in the same year, he entered into a law partnership with Evarts. Henry subsequently moved to Platte County, Missouri, but stayed for only a short period, finding Platte County undesirable as a permanent residence. In the spring of 1844, Henry moved to Illinois, and, at the urging of Douglas, settled in Macomb, where he entered into a partnership with Judge Jesse B. Thomas, Jr. A tour of the Rock River valley convinced Henry to settle in Sterling, and in October 1844, he moved his family to Sterling, where he commenced practicing law. In 1850, Henry was practicing law and owned real property valued at $1,000. In 1852, he opened a bank in Sterling, and two years later, Henry entered into a partnership with Lorenzo Hapgood to form the firm of M.S. Henry & Company, which continued to 1861. In 1854, he won election, as a Whig/Republican, to the Illinois House of Representatives, serving in that body from January to February 1855. Henry gravitated to the Republican Party, and he attended the 1856 Republican National Convention, where he supported John McLean for president and Abraham Lincoln for vice-president. In 1857, Governor William H. Bissell appointed Henry bank commissioner for the State of Illinois, a position he held until the commencement of the Civil War. Henry also became president of the Sterling & Rock River Railroad Company and remained president until the company abandoned the project in 1861. In 1860, Henry owned real property valued at $2,500 and had a personal estate of $2,000. During the Civil War, Henry worked as a paymaster for the U.S. Army. At the time of his death, Henry was mayor of Sterling, Illinois.

Charles Bent, ed., History of Whiteside County, Illinois (Clinton, IA: L. P. Allen, 1877), 405-6; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Whiteside County, IL, 398; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 221; List of Members of the Illinois Legislature in 1855; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Sterling, Whiteside County, IL, 440; Sterling Gazette (IL), 30 November 1878, 1:4; Gravestone, Riverside Cemetery, Sterling, IL.