Giles Franklin Filley, 1815–1900
Giles Franklin Filley was born on 15 February 1815 in Wintonbury, Hartford County, Connecticut. He was the son of Oliver Filley (1784–1846) and Annis Humphrey (1785–1868). Giles’s brother, Oliver Dwight Filley (1806–1881), was the mayor of St. Louis from 1856 to 1861.
Giles left Connecticut in 1834, coming to St. Louis to work in his brother’s tinware shop. In 1849, Giles established the Excelsior Stove Works in St. Louis. During the Civil War, the company switched from making stoves to producing cannons and iron armor for James B. Eads to use in gunboats. Filley helped establish the Republican party in Missouri and began a newspaper called the Union to support Abraham Lincoln. That short-lived newspaper was an early forerunner of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Giles incorporated his firm as the Excelsior Manufacturing Company in 1865 and retired from his business in 1895. “Starting with a comparatively small plant, which employed about twenty-five moulders and twenty men in other departments, these works were expanded from time to time until several hundred men were employed regularly and two whole blocks of ground were occupied by the foundry and machine shops.” He also operated a stone quarry in St. Louis and contributed all of the stone for the construction of the Eads Bridge.
Giles married Maria M. Farrington on 16 September 1844 in Hartford, Connecticut. Maria was born on 21 September 1822 in Bloomfield, Hartford County. She died on 9 May 1899 in St. Louis.
Giles died of a bronchial infection on 27 February 1900 at the age of eighty-five in St. Louis, and he and Maria are buried at Bellefontaine Cemetery.
Giles F. Filley
Photo in the Public Domain
Giles Franklin Filley and Maria M. Farrington had the following children, all born in St. Louis:
Written by Ted Steele
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Last Modified: 25-Feb-2020 20:25