Merrill Edwards Gates.

Men of mark in America; ideals of American life told in biographies of eminent living Americans (Volume 2) online

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were comparatively trivial in their influence over him. His father,
his mother, and Professor Spencer F. Baird have been the personali-
ties most deeply affecting his character.

He is a member of the American Ornithologists' Union; of the
National Academy of Sciences; of the American Philosophical Society,
and of the Zoological Society of London, England. He is the
author of "The Birds of Connecticut" (1877); "Mammals of the
Adirondacks" (1882-84); "Results of a Biological Survey of San
Francisco Mountain Region and Desert of Little Colorado in Arizona"
(1890); "Biological Reconnoissance of Idaho" (1891); "Geographic
Distribution of Life in North America" (1892); "Trees, Shrubs,
Cactuses and Yuccas of the Death Valley Expedition" (1893);
"Laws of Temperature Control of the Geographic Distribution of
Terrestrial Animals and Plants" (1894); "Monographic Revision of
the Pocket Gophers" (Geomyrdas) (1895); "Biological Survey of
Mount Shasta, California" (1899); and "Life Zones and Crop Zones
of the United States" (1898).

He was married October 15, 1886, to Virginia Elizabeth Gosnel.
Their two children are living in 1906.



GEORGE PERKINS MERRILL

MERRILL, GEORGE PERKINS, Ph.D., geologist and
mineralogist, was bom in Auburn, Maine, May 31, 1854.
His parents were Lucius and Anne E. (Jones) Merrill.
His father was a carpenter and builder and noted for his simple
tastes, upright character, and unswerving devotion to duty.

The early life of Doctor Merrill was passed in a manufacturing
town with the exception of the summer season which was usually
spent in the country. As a boy he had good health. His tastes
were for fishing, gunning, and the collection of natural history
specimens; but his time for such recreations was limited by the
necessity of contributing to the support of the family. His tasks
involved manual labor of various kinds; and as he was obliged to
depend entirely upon his own earnings for the means to pursue his
studies, he had serious difficulties hi obtaining an education. After
studying in the public schools of his native place, he entered the
University of Maine from which institution he was graduated in 1879.
He took post-graduate courses of study at Wesleyan university,
Connecticut, and at Johns Hopkins university. In 1880 he w y as
appointed an assistant in the fisheries division of the United States
census; in the following year he became connected with the National
Museum at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, District of
Columbia, and in 1897 was advanced to his present position of head
curator of its geological department. Since 1893 he has been pro-
fessor of geology and mineralogy in the Corcoran scientific school of
Columbian (now George Washington) university.

In 1883 Doctor Merrill was married to Sarah P. Farrington, who
died in 1894. In 1900 he married Katherine L. Yancey. Of his
five children all are now living. He is a member of the Geological
Society of America, of the Geological Society of Washington, of the
American Institute of Mining Engineers, and of the Cosmos club of
Washington, and a corresponding member of the American Institute
of Architects. He has received the degrees of M.S., and Ph.D. His
books are, "Stones for Building and Decoration"; "Rocks, Rock-



172 GEORGE PERKINS MERRILL

Weathering and Soils"; and "The Non-Metallic Minerals" (published
1904). He has no political connections but his sympathies at
present are with the Republican party. He finds his principal relaxa-
tion in fishing. His choice of a profession was determined in part
by his own inclination, but circumstances which w 7 ere beyond his
control also exerted a marked influence. Efforts that were necessary
to overcome unfavorable conditions in his childhood and youth,
made " the struggle for success in mature years almost second nature."
The relative strength of determining influences upon his success in
life he estimates in the following order: Contact with men in active
life; private study; home; school, and early companionships. The
influence of his mother was strong and beneficent.

To the young he says: "Persistent hard work, sound morals,
judicious reading, and independent thought and action" are among
the most efficient means for the attainment of true success in life.



WESLEY MERRITT

MERRITT, WESLEY, soldier, brought up on a farm, edu-
cated at McKendree college and at the United States
military academy, entered the dragoons at twenty-four,
reached the rank of captain of cavalry at twenty-six, was brigadier-
general of volunteers at twenty-seven, major-general of volunteers
at twenty-eight, brigadier- general United States army at fifty-one,
major-general United States army at fifty-nine, and was retired by
operation of law at sixty-four. He was born in New York city,
June 16, 1836, where his father, John Willis Merritt, was a lawyer.
His father removed to Illinois in 1840 and engaged in farming. His
mother, Julia Ann DeForest, was a woman of fine character, the
mother of a family of ten children, seven boys and three girls, nine
of whom grew to maturity. His earliest paternal ancestor in America
was an early settler in New Amsterdam, (New York) 1620. Wesley
worked on his father's farm as a boy and for two years after he was
able to do a man's work. He attended the Belleville school and
McKendree college, Lebanon, Illinois; was appointed a cadet at
West Point in 1855, and was graduated in 1860. He was assigned
to the 2d United States dragoons; was promoted second lieutenant,
January 28, 1861; first lieutenant, May 13, 1861; his regiment became
the 2d United States cavalry, August 3, 1861; and he was appointed
adjutant of the regiment while in Utah and when ordered to Wash-
ington, District of Columbia, served as adjutant, 1861-62. He was
promoted to the rank of captain United States army, April 5, 1862;
was aide-de-camp to Philip St. George Cooke, Army of the Potomac,
1862-63, and to General George Stoneman, 1863; was appointed
brigadier-general of volunteers, June 29, 1863; commanded the reserve
brigade, 1st division, Pleasanton's cavalry corps, in the battle of
Gettysburg, and was brevetted major, United States army, July 1,
1863, for gallant and meritorious services at Gettysburg, Pennsyl-
vania. He commanded the reserve brigade, Torbert's division,
Sheridan's cavalry corps at Cold Harbor, and in the other engage-
ments of Sheridan in Virginia, 1863-64, including the Richmond



174 WESLEY MERRITT

raid and the Trevilian raid. He was brevetted lieutenant-colonel,
United States army, May 11, 1864, for gallant and meritorious con-
duct in the battle of Yellow Tavern, Virginia, and colonel, United
States army, May 26, 1864, for Hawes Shop, Virginia. He com-
manded the 1st division, Torbert's cavalry, Army of the Shenandoah,
at Winchester, September 19, 1864, at Fisher's Hill, September 22,
1864, and at Cedar Creek, Virginia, October 16, 1864, and was bre-
vetted major-general, United States volunteers, October 19, 1864,
for Winchester and Fisher's Hill, Virginia.

He commanded the Army of the Shenandoah in the Appomattox
campaign and was prominent in the battle of Five Forks, Virginia,
April 1, 1865, where he " led his cavalry in a final dash over the breast-
works with a hurrah, captured a battery of artillery and scattered
everything in front of him." At Sailors Creek, he flanked the
extreme right of the enemy's position; and when the Federal centre
was broken and forced to fall back, he attacked the left wing of the
Confederates now pressing forward confident of victory, and in a
gallant charge Merritt overthrew all in front of him on the right and
rear and although the Confederate officers gallantly struggled to avert
disaster and bravely tried to form lines to the right and left to repel
the flank attack, it was too late, and they were obliged to throw down
their arms and become captives. He was present at the surrender
of General Lee at Appomattox Court House. For his last services
in the Civil war he was brevetted brigadier-general, United States
army, for Five Forks, Virginia; major-general, United States army,
for services during the campaign ending with the surrender of the
Army of Northern Virginia, and was commissioned major-general
of volunteers, April 1, 1865, "for gallant services."

After the close of the war he served with the military division
of the Southwest as chief of cavalry, June-July, 1865; in command
of the cavalry in the Department of Texas, July-November, 1865;
and in the military division of the Gulf, November, 1865, to February,
1866. He was mustered out of the volunteer service, February 6,
1866; was promoted lieutenant-colonel, United States army, and
assigned to the 9th United States cavalry, July 28, 1866; was on
frontier duty in Texas, Dakota and Wyoming, 1866-82, meantime
serving as inspector of cavalry, Division of the Missouri, 1875-76.
He was promoted to the rank of colonel, United States army, and
transferred to the 5th United States cavalry, July 1, 1876. He was



WESLEY MERRITT 175

superintendent of the United States military academy, 1882-87;
was promoted brigadier-general, United States army, April 16, 1887;
commanded the Department of the Missouri, 1887-91, and 1895-97;
commanded the Department of Dakota, 1891-95; was promoted
major-general, United States army, April 25, 1895, and commanded
the Department of the East with headquarters at Governors Island,
New York, 1897-98.

At the outbreak of the Spanish-American war he assisted in
preparations for defense of the Atlantic coast, and he was appointed
to the command of the United States forces in the Philippines as
military governor in May, 1898. When the armies of Spain surren-
dered, he was summoned to Paris to assist the American Peace Com-
missioners assembled there October, 1898. He was retired by age
limit, June 16, 1900. He became a member of the Union and New
York clubs, New York city, and of the Metropolitan, Chevy Chase
and Country clubs, Washington, District of Columbia. He never
voted. He was married in 1900 to Laura, daughter of Norman and
Caroline (Caton) Williams of Chicago. His parents were Methodists
and he became a member of the Protestant Episcopal church. He
finds amusement and relaxation in farming, and in playing bridge
whist and golf. His message to American youth who wish to
succeed is "to do one's duty all the time." He is the author of
"Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley," in Battles and Leaders of the
Civil War, vol. iv, pp. 500, 521.



NELSON APPLETON MILES

MILES, NELSON APPLETON, son of a Massachusetts
farmer; merchant's clerk; soldier in the United States
volunteer army, 1861-65, from lieutenant to major-
general of volunteers, and hi the United States regular army, 1865-
1903, from colonel to lieutenant-general; was born hi Westminster,
Worcester county, Massachusetts, August 8, 1839. His father,
Daniel Miles, was a farmer and lumber merchant, selectman of the
town of Westminster, an earnest, patriotic citizen and a conscientious
man of high character and marked integrity. His mother, Mary
(Curtis) Miles, was a daughter of Francis and Lidia Curtis, descendant
of William Curtis who arrived on the ship Lion, September 16, 1632,
and settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts. His grandfather, Joab
Miles, was the grandson of the Reverend Samuel Miles (1664-1728)
rector of King's Chapel, Boston, whose father, the Reverend John
Miles, a Baptist minister, came from Swansea, Wales, to the Plymouth
colony in 1663, landed at Weymouth, settled at Rehoboth, Massa-
chusetts, where he was pastor, married Ann Humfrey, was a soldier
in the King Philip war, established the first Latin and grammar
school in Boston, and died February 3, 1683.

Nelson Appleton Miles was brought up on his father's farm,
worked in the fields and forests in the summer and attended the
district school in the winter months. He was fond of out-of-door
sports and had a special interest in nature and animal life.

He attended the Westminster academy for a short time and when
sixteen years old went to Boston to take a place in the china and
crockery store of John Collamore & Company. There he attended
a night school, and a military school conducted by Colonel M. Salig-
nac, where he acquired his first knowledge of military tactics. He
also attended Comer's commercial college. At the outbreak of the
Civil war in 1861, he recruited a company of volunteers which was
assigned to the 22d Massachusetts regiment, commanded by Colonel
Henry Wilson; and when the regiment was mustered into service,
September 9, 1861, young Miles was mustered in as captain. He



NELSON APPLETON MILES 177

soon after accepted a position on the staff of General Silas Casey who
was engaged in organizing troops in Washington, District of Colum-
bia. On November 9, 1861, he was assigned to the staff of General
Oliver O. Howard and served that officer, who commanded the first
brigade in Richardson's division, Sumner's corps, at Seven Points
(Fair Oaks), May 31-June 1, 1862. In this engagement General
Howard, finding the 81st Pennsylvania volunteers in pressing need
of reinforcement, ordered Captain Miles to lead a detachment to
his support, under a heavy fire from the Confederates. Colonel
Barlow, 61st New York volunteers, in his report mentioned the
exploit of Captain Miles in the engagement, and this resulted in his
promotion to lieutenant-colonel of 61st New York volunteers in place
of Lieutenant-Colonel Massett, killed in action, and to an assignment
to Colonel Barlow's regiment, his commission to date from May 31st,
1862. The 61st New York was with the 64th New York commanded
by Colonel Barlow 7 in Caldwell's brigade, in the Maryland campaign,
and when Colonel Barlow r was wounded at Antietam the command
of both regiments devolved on Lieutenant-Colonel Miles and the
desperate fighting of the brigade is shown in the official report
of forty-four killed and two hundred and sixty-eight w y ounded in that
engagement. He succeeded to the command of the 61st New York
on the promotion of Colonel Barlow to be brigadier-general, his
commission as colonel dating from September 30, 1862. At Fred-
ericksburg and Chancellorsville he commanded the consolidated 61st
and 64th New York regiments in Caldwell's brigade, Hancock's
division, Couch's corps, Sumner's grand division, and was slightly
wounded at Fredericksburg, where the brigade loss was one hundred
and eight killed, seven hundred and twenty-nine wounded and one
hundred and fifteen missing. At Chancellorsville, May 31, 1863,
he was shot from his horse and the wound was pronounced fatal;
he was sent to his home where he was carefully nursed but did not
recover until after the battle of Gettysburg had been fought. When
he returned to the army, he was still on crutches. He was promoted
brigadier-general May 12, 1864; and in the Union army as organized
by General Grant for his campaign against Richmond, he was placed
in command of the first brigade, Barlow's division, Hancock's corps,
Army of the Potomac, under Meade, his old regiment being in his
brigade. He fought under General Grant from the Wilderness to the
surrender of Lee. In the Petersburg campaign he commanded the



178 NELSON APPLETON MILES

first division, Humphrey's second corps; and at Reams Station he
repulsed two direct attacks of a large Confederate force directed
against his division. He was wounded, for the fourth time, in the
attack on Petersburg. He reinforced Warren at Five Forks; and in
February, 1865, when but twenty-five years old, he was temporarily
in command of the 2d army corps of twenty-six thousand men.
He was promoted to the rank of major-general of volunteers October
21, 1865, and was honorably mustered out of the volunteer service
September 1, 1866. His brevets were as follows: major-general of
volunteers, August 25, 1864 for " highly meritorious and distinguished
conduct throughout the campaign and particularly for gallantry and
valuable services in the battle of Reams Station, Virginia"; briga-
dier-general in the regular service March 2, 1867, for Chancellorsville,
and major-general for Spottsylvania. He received a medal of honor
as provided under act of congress approved March 3, 1863, "for dis-
tinguished gallantry in the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, May
3, 1863, while holding with his command a line of abattis and rifle
pits against a strong force of the enemy until severely wounded;
while colonel of the 61st New York volunteers, commanding a line of
skirmishers in front of the first division, second army corps."

On July 28, 1866, he was commissioned colonel, United States
army, and assigned to the command of the 40th United States infan-
try, and he accepted the assignment September 6, 1866. His chief
service was against the Indians on the frontier. In conducting his
campaigns wherever possible he avoided presenting large bodies of
troops to view and made such disposition of his troops as to enable
him to destroy or capture the foe. He was transferred to the 5th
United States infantry March 15, 1869, and promoted brigadier-
general, United States army, December 15, 1880, and major-general
United States army, April 5, 1890. His achievements in Indian
fighting were: The defeat of the Cheyenne, Kiowa and Comanche
tribes on the borders of the Staked Plains, Texas, in 1875; the sub-
jugation of the Sioux and Nez Perces tribes in Montana in 1876; a
successful campaign against the Apaches in which their chiefs
Geronimo and Natchez were compelled to surrender in 1886. With
Sitting Bull driven from the United States, with Chief Joseph and
the Nez Perces in captivity and Geronimo and Natchez safe from
doing further harm, the settlers of Kansas, Montana, North Dakota,
New Mexico and Arizona acknowledged their indebtedness to General



NELSON APPLETON MILES 179

Miles, their several legislatures passing unanimous votes of thanks
for his services. His last campaign against the Indians was in South
Dakota in 1890-91, after which time trouble with warlike Indians
ceased.

On the retirement of General John M. Schofield, September 29,
1895, General Miles became commanding general of the Army of the
United States by virtue of his seniority in rank. He commanded the
army sent to Chicago to suppress the Chicago rioters in 1894, and in
1897 visited the scenes of the Greco-Turkish war. He also repre-
sented the United States at the jubilee of Queen Victoria the same
year. In the Spanish-American war he mobilized the regular army
of twenty-five thousand men and formed out of over two hundred
thousand volunteers the United States volunteer army which in less
than three months with the aid of the navy conquered a peace with
Spain, secured independence for Cuba and added to the domain of the
United States the Philippine Islands and Porto Rico. He took
command of the United States army at Santiago, July 11, 1898, and
arranged the terms of capitulation, but left the formality of the
surrender to the general in the field. He directed in person the
capture and occupation of Porto Rico. In conducting the Spanish-
American war he sought to protect the soldiers against the imposition
of contractors who furnished to the army unwholesome food, by
instituting a searching investigation of the conduct of the commissary
department, and thus stopping further issue of worthless meat. He
was raised to the rank of lieutenant-general in February, 1901, in
pursuance of an act of congress passed June 6, 1900. In 1902-03
he made a tour of inspection in the Philippine Islands. He was
retired August 8, 1903, by age limit.

He was married June 30, 1868, to Mary, daughter of Charles and
Eliza Sherman, and two children were born of this marriage. Mrs.
Miles died August 1, 1904.

He received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Harvard univer-
sity in 1896 and from Brown university, Providence, Rhode Island,
in 1901, and Wayne college, Pennsylvania, 1904. He became a
32d degree Mason, an honorary member of the Union League and
St. Nicholas clubs of New York city; the Union League, Illinois,
Athletic, Iroquois, and Union clubs of Chicago; the Pacific Union
club of San Francisco, California; and a member of the Metropolitan,
Army and Navy, and Chevy Chase clubs of Washington, District of



180 NELSON APPLETON MILES

Columbia; and a companion of the first class and vice-commander
in the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States; a
companion and department commander of the Military Order of the
Loyal Legion of California. In politics a Democrat, he was made
president of the Jefferson Memorial Association in 1903, and was fre-
quently mentioned in Democratic conventions as an available candi-
date for president of the United States. He introduced the practic-
of athletics in the United States army. He is the author of "Per-
sonal Recollections; or, from New England to the Golden Gate"
(1897); "Military Europe" (1898); "Observations Abroad; or,
Report of Major-General Nelson A. Miles, Commanding United
States Army, of his Tour of Observatin in Europe" (1899); army
reports, and contributions to magazines.

In January, 1905, he was detailed lieutenant-general United
States army to represent the war department at the capital of his
native state, Massachusets, on special request of the governor, to
become his military adviser with the general supervison of the
military of the state.



KELLY MILLER

MILLER, KELLY. Americans believing in the intrinsic
worth and possible nobility of every man, regard with
particular pride and appreciation those who in early life
have overcome peculiar limitations. The more limited the outlook
in childhood, the more creditable to the man who attains it is the
expansion of view which comes with education. We are gratified
when one whose natural ability lies in any definite direction, discovers
his own latent power, and devotes himself to the development and
to the practical use of that faculty for the general good; since extraor-
dinary faculties of mind do not always find the means of cultivation,
or attain to adequate expression. It is impossible that Americans
should not feel still greater pride when one of a race whose circum-
stances have shut them out so largely from sources of knowledge and
culture, rises to eminence in a difficult department of science, through
his own self-denying and strenuous exertions. When the general
level among one's own race and people is comparatively low in matters
of education, it means much when an individual transcends this
restriction and contributes notably not only to the uplift of his own
race, but to advanced research and scholarly investigation in tech-
nical science.

Such a man is Kelly Miller, lecturer, mathematician and since
1890 professor at Howard university, Washington, District of Colum-
bia. He was born in Winnsboro, South Carolina, July 23, 1863, son
of Kelly and Elizabeth Miller. His father was an industrious farmer
and her son says of his mother that she exercised "a strong influence
on his moral nature." His uncle, Isaac Miller, was a member of the
South Carolina legislature. Young Kelly worked upon the farm
with wholesome effect upon his health; and while poverty and poor
school facilities were drawbacks to his progress, his perseverance
and the remarkable power of mind shown even in early childhood,
enabled him, when seventeen, to join the junior class of the prepara-
tory department of Howard university at Washington, District of
Columbia. It is said of him as a boy that while his grasp of nearly



182 KELLY MILLER

every subject that came under his notice was unusual, his fondness
for mathematics was pronounced; and at fourteen he was easily the
leading mathematician in his county. His keen and accurate meth-
ods of analysis, and the skill and swiftness of his computations in
mathematical processes, were extraordinary for his age. Completing
in two years the three years course at the preparatory school, he
was graduated at the head of his class. During the first two years at
Howard university, he held before himself the highest ideals of
scholarship and character. On the completion of his second year at
college, he took the civil service examination, and, having the highest
record, was appointed a clerk in the pension office. Although it was
a temptation to turn aside entirely from the hardships of a self-
supported course in college, to an assured salary, he was by the faculty
allowed to continue his .college studies while he worked as clerk. He
was graduated in 1886. In the autumn of 1887, resigning his work
at the pension bureau, he entered Johns Hopkins university as a
student in mathematics and astronomy. After pursuing these



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