Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MILES, Richard Plus, R. C. bishop, born in Prince George county, Maryland, 17 May, 1791; died in Nashville, Tennessee, 17 February, 1860. His family removed to Kentucky when he was four years old. In 1807 he was sent to St. Rose's academy in Washington county, which had been established by the Dominicans in the same year. He afterward attached himself to this order as a candidate for the priesthood, and was ordained in 1816. In 1830 he accompanied Bishop Fenwick, of Cincinnati, into Ohio, where he aided in founding churches. He was also a constant attendant of Bishop Flaget, with whom he made long and difficult journeys through the west. He established a convent of Dominican nuns near Springfield, Kentucky, drew up rules for their guidance, and was appointed their ecclesiastical superior. He was also provincial of the Dominicans of Kentucky and Ohio for several years. In 1837 the see of Nashville, embracing the state of Tennessee, was created, and in 1838 Dr. Miles was consecrated its first bishop. At this time there was not a single priest in the entire state. Bishop Miles began to organize a diocese without any assistance, travelling on horseback through every part of the state, and preaching in court-houses and other places. He went to Europe in 1845 in the interests of his diocese, and on his return dedicated several churches, among others the cathedral of Nashville. He also built an episcopal residence and charity hospital, which he placed under the care of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. He founded the Academy of St. Mary conducted by the Sisters of Charity, which in his lifetime became one of the most flourishing institutions in the west, established a theological seminary, three female religious institutes, a colony of the Dominican order in Memphis, and an orphan asylum under the care of the Sisters of St. Dotalnick. Bishop Miles took part in five councils that assembled at Baltimore in 1840-'52. At his death his diocese contained a Roman Catholic population of about 13,000, eleven priests, twenty-two churches and chapels, and forty mission stations.
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