George Miles

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Served from 1846 through 1850

George Miles was born in Amsterdam, New York, on April 5, 1789. He was of Puritan descent. Benjamin H.F. Witherell stated that, “In early life Miles had to rely on his own resources, and to fight the battle of life unaided, which he did manfully, and this early training gave to his character an energy and self-reliance which it sustained throughout.” (Michigan Supreme Court. Michigan Reports: Cases Decided by the Supreme Court of Michigan. Chicago: Callaghan and Co., 1874 – 1948, Vol. 4-320.) He did not begin his study of law until later in his life, and at 33 years old, Miles was admitted to the bar. For a time he was District Attorney for Allegany County, New York, but in May of 1837, he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and began practicing law.

When Justice Daniel Goodwin resigned from the Michigan Supreme Court, Miles was appointed to fill the vacancy. Miles was said to have a commanding personal presence and was extremely dignified. The opinions authored by Miles are notable for their conciseness and close adherence to the points of law involved and resemble his earlier decisions in the New York Reports.

Miles served out the term but died in Ann Arbor on August 25, 1850, without knowing whether or not the Democratic Party would nominate him for another. (Beeson, Lewis, “Appointments to the Michigan Supreme and Chancery Courts 1836 – 1850.” Michigan History Magazine, Vol. 30, Oct. – Dec. 1946.)