Search billions of records on


James Madison Giles, Lt.

James Madison Giles was born in SC after his parents migrated there from VA. He was the oldest of six children born to Thomas Tabb Giles and Nancy Ann Lee Giles between June 1827 and Mar. 1841. His grandfather was William Branch Giles, a prominent politician from Amelia CO, VA, who served in the VA State Legislature, US House of Representatives, US Senate and ended his career as governor of VA.

His mother died when he was about fourteen, and his father remarried to Christie Shaw in TN where the family had migrated after leaving SC. Three children were born to this marriage between Dec. 1842 and Mar. 1848.

As a young man, James returned to SC where he found employment as an overseer on a plantation owned by the Davis family. On 9 Feb. 1847 he married Hester "Hettie" Ann Davis in Monroe CO, TN, a daughter of Wesley Davis. Eleven children were born to this marriage between Dec. 1849 and Jan. 1871.

Military records indicate that J. M. Giles of Monroe CO, TN served in a Confederate military unit from E TN from 1861-64 and, without explanation, failed to collect his wages or report for duty thereafter. It is likely that J. M. Giles and James Madison Giles are one and the same person since James' brother Reuben Giles also served in the Confederate Army. His sisters Nancy Elizabeth Giles and Julie Ann Giles were married to G. W. "Will" Kirkland and John Jackson Kirkland, respectively, both of whom served in and led Confederate military units in E. TN. Giles' brother-in-law John Jackson Kirkland is buried in Greasy Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, Archville, Polk CO, TN with a CSA military tombstone inscribed as follows: 3rd Lt. CO B, 3rd REGT TN INF, CSA.

In 1864 James M. Giles was commissioned Lieutenant in CO D, 3rd TN MTD INF REGT, USA. James L. J. Pearson was the Captain of this company. On 22 Oct 1864, Lt. Giles and Capt. Pearson had a dispute. When the altercation became physical, Capt. Pearson shot Lt. Giles in the hip. Lt. Giles returned fire fatally wounding Capt. Pearson. On 26 Oct 1864, Lt. Giles deserted this regiment. A court martial was held stemming from this event. A verdict of "not guilty" was returned against Lt. Giles citing that he had acted in self-defense.

Sometime after the war, J. M. Giles submitted application for disability sustained while serving the Union Army. In 1890 a final decision was made to deny disability on grounds that his unit was not engaged in battle with Confederates when he was wounded.

According to some, James Madison Giles was a fine and kindly man. Others called him a scoundrel. Regardless, his passions were said to have run deep, and he was reported to be a devoted family man. He gave, to at least some of his sons, parcels of land on which to build homes for their families. J. M. Giles died 11 Feb 1903, and his wife Hettie died 23 Dec 1915. The couple are buried in Ball Play (Ebenezer) Cemetery in Monroe CO, TN.

Mark D. Giles, gr-gr-nephew,
Beaufort, SC

©1998--present year by Sandra N. Ratledge. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any reproduction or inclusion of this website's contents in publication whether online or in print is prohibited. Do NOT copy photographs, articles, stories, anecdotes, documents, obituaries, letters, and other contents herein and upload on Find a Grave or any other internet websites, blogs, attach to family trees, or print in publications of any kind.