Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Hiles, George 1825 - 1896

Hiles, George 1825 - 1896 | Wisconsin Historical Society
land speculator, businessman, contractor, b. Farmington, Mich. He moved to Wisconsin in 1844, and soon settled in Baraboo where he worked as a sawmill operator and trader. In the 1850's he moved to Wood County, helped found the village of Dexterville, and engaged in sawmilling and trading. He represented Wood County in the state assembly (1867), and after leaving the legislature devoted his interests primarily to contracting and real estate. He built a major portion of the Green Bay, Winona and St. Paul R.R. between 1872 and 1874, and in the early 1880's constructed his own railroad from Dexterville to Vesper, the line being acquired by the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul in 1890. In 1886 Hiles moved to Milwaukee, and was later among those who utilized their fortunes to aid the Wisconsin Marine and Fire Insurance Co. through the panic of 1892-1893. Hiles' vast and varied holdings eventually made him one of the wealthiest men in the state, and at his death he owned interests in Dexterville, Pittsville, and Arcadia, Wis., as well as in Illinois, Florida, Nebraska, and Washington. H. L. Conard, ed., Hist, of Milwaukee (3 vols., Chicago [1896]); Milwaukee Journal, Mar. 9, 1896; Milwaukee Weekly Wis., Mar. 14, 1896.

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[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]