RICHARD PILES. Nothing is more true than the statement that in this country alone, of all countries upon the face of the earth, a man’s family connections do not assist him to places of honor and trust in politics, but he must win his way by his own exertions, or by his own honest merit. This Government of the people is no discriminator of persons, but opens its doors wide for the entrance of all such as possess the requisite qualifications. It is very true that Richard Piles, as every other man whose father was a good and worthy citizen, must acknowledge a debt of obligation for wise counsels, watchful care and solicitude and intelligent supervision of his education, but in the great arena of public life he has had, just as every other successful person, to wrestle alone and unaided.
Mr. Piles, now the popular collector of Reynolds County, Missouri, was born in that county, October 10, 1850, to the union of Thomas and Louise J. (Odell) Piles, natives of Illinois and Tennessee. The grandfather, Richard Piles, was one of the first white men to locate in Illinois, going there with the Government surveyors and hunting and cooking for them. He located there with the Indians, but when the game began to get scarce he came to Missouri, where he could follow his favorite pastime-hunting. This was in 1830, and the trip was made by wagons. He settled on a farm, lived there many years, and then moved to a place in Dry Valley, where he died in 1861. He was a great hunter and was noted for that far and near. In politics he was a Democrat. He reared a large family, but Thomas Piles, father of subject, was the only son. Thomas was about five or six years old when the family came to Missouri, and his youthful days were passed amid the rude surroundings of pioneer life. He had no schooling and delighted in hunting, like his father. In Reynolds County he was married to Miss Louise J. Odell, daughter of Jobe Odell, who came to this county from Tennessee, and here passed the remainder of his life. Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Piles: Richard, subject; Jobe, deceased; deceased; J. B., a farmer on Dry Creek; T. C. graduated at the Missouri Medical College of St. Louis, and is now practicing his profession in Oregon County; Rassalle, wife of Charles M. Southup, of Dry Valley, and others who died young. Mr. and Mrs. Piles resided on a farm until the death of Mr. Piles in 1893. Since then the mother has made her home with her children. Mr. Piles was a Democrat in politics, and held the office of county assessor in 1848. He was also a Mason and a member of Barnesville Lodge No. 455.
The life of Richard Piles from the time of his birth up to his twenty-first year was spent in his native county in assisting in the usual duties of farm life. and in getting a liberal education. He then branched out as an agriculturist and later was married to Miss Jennie A. Wood, daughter of John B. Wood, of this county, but an early pioneer of Texas County. After marriage Mr. and Mrs. Piles located in Dry Valley, where he started out as a tiller of the soil. He is now the owner of 220 acres, and in connection with farming he is a successful stockraiser. Like his father and grandfather he adheres to the principles of the Democrat party, and in 1888 he was elected county sheriff, which position he held very satisfactorily for four years. In 1892 he was elected to the office of county collector. He is one of the leading men of the county, and is an active worker for his party. He is also a Mason, a member of Barnesville Lodge, and the Centreville I. O. O. F. Eleven children have been born to his marriage but only eight are now living: Napoleon B., Othie M., Lula M., Parlee, William C. and Louise E. (twins), Otto O., Corre C., Richard I., J., and Cora E. The last three named are deceased.