History of the SFA
About the SFA
STILES FAMILY OF AMERICA FIRST MEETING
Stiles meeting committee for the tercentennial meeting in 1935, held in Windsor, 300 years after the Millbrook family settled in Windsor, Connecticut. These names were taken from A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE “EARLY” DAYS below.
Those organizing the first meeting:
Frederick H. Stiles, 1878 (son of Fred. G. Stiles); Henry L.(Loomis) Stiles, 1858; Charles A. Stiles, 1878; Mrs. Edward C. Bryan ( Lucretia Stiles), 1879 (Father Daniel 1835); Mrs. (Agnes)Elva D.(Dunham) Angell, 1894 (Grandfather Warham Dewey 1774); Harry R.(Reubin) Stiles, 1872 (ML 157); Chester D.(Dewey) Stiles, 1877
Organizing committee formed to bring to the meeting the next year in Southbury, Connecticut, how to permanently organize:
Edward I.(Isaac) Stiles, 1872; Fred.(Frederick) G.(Gladwin) Stiles, 1852 (Father of Frederick H. Stiles); Charles A. (Arthur) Stiles, 1878; Mark D. Stiles (Can’t find as he is not in the SFA file); G.(George) Loring Stiles, 1895; Clarence G.(Gidney) Stiles, 1879; Mrs. Clarence G. Stiles, 1880
I am sure that these people believed, at the time, that all Stiles were from the same progenitor in the times since names were adopted despite the two books written in the 1890s by Henry Reed Stiles and Mary Stiles Paul Guild. I gather that from conversations with my father who was involved early on and from the ancestry of the people involved and that it was to celebrate the actions of the Millbrooke family. Yet we know that Stiles is a most likely a place name. We have about 30 separate men with the name Stiles/Styles who emigrated to the US. We also have over two dozen Stiles/Styles males who are not genetic cousins.
Early on there was an attempt to write the essence of the Society. It was written by the gentleman who was elected Secretary-Treasurer at the organizing meeting in 1936.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE “EARLY” DAYS
By H. Nelson Stiles
We are very grateful for the information contained in this brief history. Most of it comes from the memory of the writer and a few programs of early meetings which he saved. The records which could document and authenticate this history have been destroyed and we are indeed fortunate that Nelson\’s memory serves him and us so well. His participation in the present organization began on October 12, 1935, at Windsor, High School, Windsor, Conn., when he was elected Secretary-Treasurer and has continued unabated in various capacities until the present. His devotion to the Stiles Family Association is worthy of note,
Carlton O. Stiles, Pres. June 4, 1973
Perhaps it would be well to note at the beginning that the name Stiles was one of those that originated from location. Thus a man known as Will, who lived near a style, became Will of the Style or Will (William) Stile (Stiles, Style, Styles, etc.) Since many styles could be found in England and France, it is evident that many Stiles families could have originated – some of which might be related, and others not. For the moment we are particularly interested in a Stiles Family that, in 1634, lived in the town of Milbrooke (Milbrook) England. In early l635 four brothers and a sister from this family joined with a group of colonists who were being sent by Sir Richard Saltonstall, and other prominent men, to establish a colony in the area that later became known as Connecticut.
They sailed across the ocean and up the Connecticut River to a spot near where the town of Windsor now stands, and here they disembarked. Before they could get established, another group of men arrived. These men had travelled overland from Boston, and they claimed this area for Massachusetts. These two different claims caused much confusion and many arguments. Some of the Saltonstall party went elsewhere or returned to England- Others, including the Stiles Brothers, remained and after the differences were adjusted, they duly received their portions of land. It is from these brothers that the Connecticut family of Stiles is descended.
The intervening years concerning the growth of the Stiles Family are not pertinent to this history of the association although there is much to interest a researcher of Stiles activities.
Three hundred years later during Connecticut’s Tercentenary year, the idea of a Stiles meeting developed. A committee was organized, the members being listed as Frederick H. Stiles, Henry L. Stiles, Charles A, Stiles, Mrs. Edward C, Bryan, Mrs. Elva D. Angell, Harry R. Stiles, with Chester D. Stiles as Chairman, and the work of carrying out the meeting idea began. There was no mailing list to refer to, so telephone, personal letters, word of mouth, visitations and newspaper articles were used to spread the word, and thus went out notices of and invitations to -THE CONNECTICUT FAMILY OF STILES at Windsor High School, Windsor, Conn, to meet on October 12, 1935, the first of what proved to be an annual meeting.
When the day came, people began to arrive, – not only from all parts of Connecticut, but also from several other states. Of course few knew anyone outside of their own group. However, Chester Stiles did much to correct this situation with his phenomenal ability at remembering names and faces, he would meet newcomers at the door, obtain the name and address of each, and conduct them inside to introduce them to the people who were already there. Thus people were joining in conversation very quickly.
At the proper time they all gathered around the tables for a Roast Chicken Dinner. The program consisted of an Address of Welcome, a Historical -Address, a Survey of Stiles Family History, and informal reports from those attending, with the dinner well taken care of and the program completed, there was still some time available. Since there were several who had expressed a wish that there might be further meetings, it was suggested that we move from the dining room to an assembly room for the purpose of holding a short business meeting, where we could discuss, and perhaps take action on this matter.
Chairman Chester D. Stiles called the meeting to order. He announced that the meeting was called to determine whether or not we should have further meetings, and if favorable, what arrangements should be made. Several people expressed their opinions, and after a short discussion it was decided that we should have a gathering next year (1936) in Southbury, Conn. This meeting would be an organizational meeting to establish a permanent Family unit. A committee was then appointed, consisting of Edward I. Stiles, Chairman, Fred. G. Stiles, Charles A. Stiles, Mark D. Stiles, G. Loring Stiles, Clarence G. Stiles, and Mrs. Clarence G. Stiles. The meeting then adjourned.
The committee selected August 29, 1936, at the Congregational Church in Southbury, Conn., for the Second Annual Stiles meeting. A typical church luncheon was served in the church dining hall – Baked Ham, Baked Beans, Potato Salad topped off with Apple Pie and Cheese. What could be more American? The Program combined business and pleasure. It started out with the song, America, followed by a Prayer and a solo. Next came Organization followed by Election of Officers. The program then continued with a Solo, Business, an Address, a Solo and Adjournment,
There was more to this history but here is another taken from December 2005 newsletter.
1935 – In The Beginning… Well, this is the way many stories begin. There was a small group of people named Stiles and they decided it would be great to gather together to compare notes on their respective families. They would get together on a Saturday in the summer and have a meeting and a picnic. Everyone chipped in and they had a great time. As time went by, this group grew until it included people from New York , Massachusetts , Connecticut , and New Jersey . The group in the Northeast met on a weekend – optimum time for including both adults and children. The records show that they sometimes gathered for a meal in a restaurant. On other occasions, the meal was like a “covered dish luncheon” with everyone contributing to the lunch or supper. They gathered in places in which their ancestors had resided.
1936 We have a marvelous large full page picture of a large group that is a little fuzzy so that even if any of us knew some of them it would be hard to be sure that they were there.
1939 – Now we have another large picture in which Phill Stiles identified his father, aunt and great uncle as well as Clarence and Alice Stiles that were very active in the early years of the group.
1966 As time went on, things eventually began to change. Stiles Burpee was elected President and his wife, Dorothy, served as Secretary. This is when Leon, Historian Emeritus, and his wife Eleanor (NY) joined the Stiles Family of America. As did Phillip Stiles and his wife Elise. Carlton Stiles (CT) was elected President and served for sixteen years. His wife – Muriel – was a great helpmate. 1958 – Current 1st VP Howard Stiles attended this Annual meeting with his parents.
1982 – Thelma (Malecek, our current President) attended her first meeting – in Moorestown , NJ . Joan Wilson was Treasurer. At this time Cindy McQueston was the Editor of the Newsletter, Leon was Historian, and Howie and Betty Hunter were there with daughter Sharon. It was quite impressive! Many of the people attending were already tied into the “Stiles Family in America ” books. S. Robert Stiles of NJ followed Carlton as President. Computers – yes – they were becoming quite the thing in the early 1980’s! S. Robert said the Osborne computer was terrific. He put his own program together to record his genealogical records. PAF and Family Tree Maker – not yet available. Ultimately an IBM compatible computer was selected and PAF was purchased. Leon N Stilles was Historian and started putting information into the computer.
By 1988 the Stiles Family meeting was in Chicago , IL . This was quite incredible – so far west! Thelma had made it clear that she had no presidential aspirations, but was elected President. Bob said we needed younger blood. Past presidents include Dr. Richard Stiles, Hugh Stiles Golson, Kenneth R Stiles and our current President – Kenneth C Stiles.
2005: We have been asked why the meeting is always in the summer – “why can’t it be in the spring or in the fall?” I can only refer you back to the first paragraph. Because we are a nationwide group and we would like to think that we are timing activities to gather both the young and the old, a summer weekend seems to best fill the bill.
And The Stiles Family is like the Eveready Bunny – we keep going, and going, and going and…