Scope and Contents
The bulk of the collection consists of photostat copies of John B. Niles’ correspondence ranging from 1837 to 1902, regarding his legal practice. There is some correspondence regarding the Indiana Medical College and a number of letters between Niles and his father-in-law, William Polke. There are also several original documents included in the collection, which are described below.
Conditions Governing Use
Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.
John Barron Niles was born on September 13, 1808, in West Fairlee, Vermont. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1830 and then studied law in New York. Niles was admitted to the bar and moved to LaPorte, Indiana, in 1833. On December 16, 1834, he married Mary Polke, daughter of Judge William Polke, with whom he had five children. He served as prosecuting attorney (1838) and president judge (1843) for the 9th circuit. Niles was also a delegate to Indiana’s second Constitutional Convention (1850-1851). From 1851 to 1879, he was the attorney for the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad. In addition to his law career, Niles was also a professor of chemistry at the Indiana Medical College (LaPorte) from 1840 to 1852. He served two terms in the Indiana Senate (1865 and 1867). He died on July 6, 1879.
Shepherd, Rebecca A., Charles W. Calhoun, Elizabeth Shanahan-Shoemaker, and Alan F. January,
comp. A Biographical Directory of the Indiana General Assembly, Vol. 1, 1816-1899. Indianapolis: The Select Committee on the Centennial History of the Indiana General Assembly, 1980.