MILES, EDWARD MADAN, surveyor; b. 14 March 1835 near Thornhill in Markham Township, Upper Canada, eldest son of Lawford Edward and Anna Miles; d. 9 Nov. 1866 at Weston (now in Metropolitan Toronto), Canada West.
Edward Madan Miles’ parents moved to the island of Heligoland, then a British possession, soon after his birth. He attended school in Altona in the duchy of Holstein, and, following that, spent three or four years at sea. In 1851 he returned to Markham Township to farm on land purchased by his father in 1834. However, he was attracted by land surveying and became articled to John Stoughton Dennis* of Weston. Miles passed his final examination on 13 July 1857. A year later he accepted as a pupil his younger brother, Charles Falconer Miles. In 1858 Edward Miles entered into a partnership with surveyor John Lindsay; he assisted in surveying military pensioners’ lots and ordnance lands in Penetanguishene from November 1858 to January 1859, and the boundaries of the town plot of Keswick in May 1859. Soon after he formed a partnership with Charles Unwin, who in 1860–61 conducted surveys on the north shore of Lake Huron for the Crown Lands Department, which had decided to subdivide some townships and find new lines of communication. From May to October 1860 Miles was in charge of the survey of Macdonald Township in the Algoma District.
Miles is best known for the position he held as surveyor with the Canadian Land and Emigration Company, founded in London in 1861 with Thomas Chandler Haliburton as chairman. After lengthy negotiations the company had agreed to purchase from the Canadian government ten townships, en bloc, nine in the present county of Haliburton, and one, Longford, in Victoria County, which it proposed to divide into lots for sale to settlers. The cost to the company and the settlement duties required by the government were to be based on the number of acres considered fit for settlement as determined by a surveyor acceptable to both the company and the government. Miles was originally selected by the company but was not approved by the Crown Lands Department. The position was given to Brookes Wright Gossage, who by 1862 had more than 60 men working in the area. In 1863, after disputes had arisen between the department, the company, and Gossage concerning the location and quality of the land and the amount to be paid to Gossage, the company employed Miles independently as “inspecting surveyor.” He re-examined Dysart, Dudley, Harcourt, Harburn, and Guildford townships and made a preliminary survey of the townsite of Haliburton. His estimate of the acres fit for settlement was far below that of Gossage, but, unfortunately for the Company, Gossage’s figures were accepted in the final agreement between it and the Crown Lands Department. It was left to the settlers, struggling with rock and swamp, to prove the accuracy of Miles’ report.
While Miles was employed by the company he was active in establishing the new settlement at Haliburton. He read the services in St. George’s Church (Church of England) before the arrival of the first clergyman, the Reverend Frederick Burt, in the summer of 1865. He left the company shortly after this date. Returning to Weston, where he had maintained his home for some years, he entered into partnership with J.W. Farrand to operate a woollen mill on the Humber River. In the fall of 1866 Miles’ hand was crushed in a burring machine and he died from lockjaw on 9 November.
In December 1859 he had married Louisa, eldest daughter of the Reverend William Arthur Johnson*, rector of St Philip’s Church, Weston, and founder of the school that later became Trinity College School at Port Hope.
Ont., Dept. of Lands and Forests, Surveys Office, Instructions to land surveyors, Canada Land and Emigration Company surveys, 26 Feb. 1861–13 Jan. 1869 (mfm. copies at PAO). PAO, RG 1, B-IV, 82. Daily Telegraph (Toronto), 13 Nov. 1866. Globe, 13 Nov. 1866. Leader, 20 Nov. 1866. Muskoka and Haliburton (Murray). Mitchell & Co.’s general directory for the city of Toronto, and gazetteer of the counties of York and Peel for 1866 (Toronto, 1866). H. R. Cummings, Early days in Haliburton (Toronto, 1963). Nila Reynolds, In quest of yesterday . . . ([Minden, Ont., 1968]). C. F. Miles, “Edward Madan Miles,” Assoc. of Ont. Land Surveyors, Annual report (Toronto), 33 (1918), 186–87. “Charles Falconer Miles,” Assoc. of Ont. Land Surveyors, Annual report (Toronto), 38 (1923), 142–48.