When my Grandmother Stila M. (Harlan) Gleason passed away on May 7, 2002, not only did we lose the family matriarch but we lost the our family historian. I had been dabbling with the family tree for a couple of years and but hadn’t really delved into researching and documenting the life stories of individuals. I decided someone should document our family’s history to preserve it for future generations and so began my adventurous journey, as an amateur genealogist, the search for Uncle Walter Stiles and the discovery of an interesting life.
Walter Stiles was born in Chicago, Illinois, in October of 1867, the second child and son of George Washington and Mary Jane (Cunningham) Stiles. Walter’s father was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and his mother in New York.
The family remained in Illinois until the late 1870s and then headed West to Dickinson County, Kansas. The family would remain in Dickinson County until 1889, when George Sr. headed west to Washington and Idaho. The family, including wife Mary, along with Walter, Albert and daughter Emma, would soon follow. Oldest son George Jr., remained in Kansas, until 1891. The family had settled in Idaho; when George Jr. and his family joined them.