Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Leslie L Miles, WWI Farrier Part 2


Leslie L Miles settled into community life, farming in Bond Township after world War I.  In 1923, he was elected to the Board of Illinois Dairymen’s Association.  To earn some extra money in 1924, he was employed by the Vincennes Bridge Co helping construct the new bridge over the Embarrass River at Fifteenth St.  There he met with an accident that resulted in the loss of two toes on his left foot. He had been engaged in moving a five-ton engine using gas pipes as rollers, when his foot was caught under one of the rollers, necessitating amputation by Dr. Trueblood of the third and fourth toes. 

June 15 1933
Leslie married Maude Sprenger about 1926.  She became a charter member of the Lawrence County Home Extension and the couple had two children.  Leslie became a field manager for the Rich-Law Oil Co. in 1932, and in 1933, the couple visited the World’s Fair in Chicago. For several years he was superintendent of the Lawrence County Fair, Cattle division. 

 In January, 1936, the family moved to Lawrenceville when Leslie became manager of the Rich-Law Service company. This job led to a promotion as manager of Rich-Law in Danville, Illinois, where he supervised eleven salesmen. The family lived in Danville for three years before moving back to Lawrence County.


Leslie went back to the thing he loved best, farming on Twin Pine Farm. In 1942, his herd of nine Jersey cows ranked first in the Wabash Valley Testing Association with a herd average of 46.8 pounds of butter fat for the month of July, 1942.  The state average was 29.8 pounds.  One of his cows had a record of 64 pounds of butterfat for that month, equivalent to 80 pounds of churned butter.

A movie was even made about Leslie’s farm in 1945.  A representative of the Case Manufacturing Company of Racine, Wisconsin spent a few days there making “moving pictures of terraces, the herd of Jersey cattle and the new lake being constructed on this farm.”  In 1947, Leslie was elected to the Farm Bureau Board of Directors representing Bond Township, a position he took very seriously.  

In 1950, Leslie won the distinction of being first farmer in Lawrence Wabash County Health area to produce milk which met the specifications of the Grade A Milk ordinance.  He had converted his barn into a clean and airy milking room. The milk house itself was separated from the barn by a vestibule with doors, and provided with an electric cooler and a hot water heater.  Milking utensils were properly sanitized through the use of hot water, detergents and chlorine compounds in a two-compartment vat. 

Leslie was always interested in the newest farm practices. The first time that erosion netting was used in Lawrence County was on his farm in Bond Township, October, 1967.  A gully on the farm had, over the years, become uncrossable, full of trees and brush, and generally unproductive. Leslie applied to the Lawrence County ASC office for cost-share assistance and asked for technical help to make a drainage way that could be crossed with farm machinery and be maintained by mowing.

Leslie never forgot his past. In 1961, he was elected quartermaster for the Third District, Department of Illinois Veterans of WWI.  Others in Lawrence County Barracks, # 681 were George Sechrest, Harley Seeds, Henry Grigsby, and Ora Shulaw.  Later Leslie became the District Commander.  

Lawrenceville Cemetery-- Leslie L Miles
Photo by K Borden
Another part of his past Leslie returned to pursue in later life, was his love for horses. He began raising Standard bred race horses. He and his son, Oren, had at least one stallion who was one of the leading percentage sires in the U.S. plus several mares. 

Leslie L. Miles died, December 17, 1970 at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville survived by his wife and children. Burial was in the Lawrenceville City cemetery.

( Ed Note Click on Interview  by a veteran of the Vet Corps with National Archive video footage.  Warning: the treatment and condition of the animals described during the war is quite distressing.)