Lester Austin Miles

Lester Austin Miles

May 28th, 1917

Lester is one of the few cowboys left that lived the old ways of a country cowboy’s life; knowing the history and living it. He is a walking history book of true stories of long ago. Lester loved the ranch life, working with horses and cattle. He had a true understanding of animal husbandry and land management. He never met a stranger.

Lester was born in a sod house, on May 28th, 1917, to Austin and Mae Miles in Logan County, Nebraska. They moved to Cherry County in 1917. He is the oldest of six siblings: Eldora Hardy, Robert Miles, Merle Marie Melcher, Sam Miles, and Bernard Miles. He fished in a pond off the back of a backboard. He drove cattle to Thedford and Woodlake for shipping on a train from the home place near Brownlee. Lester dug many postholes by hand and experienced haying with horses.

On May 29th, 1939, Lester married Alberta Clarice Morford, a teacher from Hubbell, Nebraska. To this union, twin daughters were born in Alliance, Nebraska, November 3, 1941. Mrs. Alberta Miles died after childbirth. Marjorie was stillborn and baby Alberta Catherine (Miles) Mikkelsen survived.

On October 30, 1948, Lester married Sylvia Rose Florea from Thedford, who was a teacher in Cherry County. To this union, five children were born: Sammie Rowse, Cindy Fluckey, Sue Grenier, and twin boys, Bernard Austin and Bart Alfred Miles.

Lester ranched in Cherry County until 1952, and then moved to Garfield County to ranch until retirement in August 31, 1992. After moving to O’Neill, Lester and Rose would spend their summers working at the Halsey National Forest. Lester rode, and worked cattle for neighbors, friends and family even in his retirement years of mid-80’s. He enjoyed riding, and working cattle with his wife, sons, daughters, and grandchildren.

For entertainment, he enjoyed going to the fair, rodeos, dances and visiting with friends and family. He was a member of the Brownlee Roping Club for three years. Lester enjoyed showing horses at area horse shows, and cutting cattle at McVay’s Barn near O’Neill, with other local cowboys. Lester loved supporting his grandchildren and other children in sports, 4-H, and rodeos. After retiring to O’Neill, Lester and Rose became loved by many children. He has a great appreciation and love for God, family, friends, his country and history.

Lester has received several awards. On November 19, 1967, Lester was interviewed, and published by Don Ringler of the Sunday World Herald in recognition of his Range Rotation Plan on his 5,000 acre ranch. In 1978, Lester received the “Outstanding Tree Farmer” award and in 1995 received a Certificate of Merit from the United States Department of Agriculture for ground maintenance of the office headquarters and seasonal quarters.

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