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Miles, Nelson Appleton, 1839-1925 / Personal recollections and observations of General Nelson A. Miles embracing a brief view of the Civil War, or, From New England to the Golden Gate: and the story of his Indian campaigns, with comments on the exploration, development and progress of our great western empire
(1896)

Chapter I. In New England fifty years ago,   pp. 17-24 PDF (4.1 MB)


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PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF
degree of -'aster of Arts upon himn in 1693. My ancestor moved fronm
Massachusetts to Pomfret, Connecticut. Thence they made a settlement
at what is now the town of Petersham in central Massachusetts, when
that was the extreme frontier. This settlement was once abandoned
because of the depredations of the Indians.
   My paternal grandfather. Joab, and great-grandfather, Daniel, were
both soldiers of the Revolution, and took part in the battles of Lexington,
Bennington, and many others of the principal engagements, passing
the historic winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge, and were present at the
surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. After the war my great-grand-
father's patriotic zeal caused him to convert his entire property into con-
tinental money, and he was eventually impoverished thereby through the
repudiation by the government of this currency, which was a loss of what
would have amounted by this time, with accumulated interest, to several
millions of dollars. I have often heard my father tell of the experiences
of his father and grandfather, as related above, of their sudden departure
for the field, and of the hardships and dangers encountered by them and
their comrades.
   My father, Daniel Miles, was born at Petersham, but moved in early
manhood to Westminster, in the same county (Worcester) in the State
of Massachusetts, where he engaged in farming and in the lumber busi-
ness. Here I was born, and here my youthful companions and myself
were wont to illustrate in play the doings of our ancestors. Sonme of the
boys were necessarily assigned to play the part of the odious Britisher,
the bloodthirsty Indian or the unfortunate Mexican, and these were in-
variably defeated in the desperate encounter and put to ignominious rout.
   My mother, Mary Curtis, possessed traits of character similar to those
of
mny father and excelled in those which most adorn womanhood. It is not
possible to adequately express my sense of obligation for her devotion. She
was a true Christian; never was one more earnestly prayed for during
childhood and manhood, during peace and war than myself. It was her
loftiest ambition to guide her children by good example, pure thought,
upright and praiseworthy life to honorable and noble purpose. To her un-
selfish devotion, her gentle and loving admonitions am I greatly indebted
for whatever there may be in me that is commendable.
   My mother was a direct descendant of William Curtis who arrived in
Boston on the ship "Lyon," September 16, 1632.
   The rural home to which I have referred was situated near Wachu-
sett Mountainm, about fifty miles froum Boston, Massachusetts, in the
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