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William P. Stiles, proprietor of the Red Ribbon Coffee and Oyster House, was born in 1830, in Cazenovia, Madison Co., N. Y., where he lived until he was 20 years old. According to his own statement he was educated on the "outside of books," as he commenced learning the trade of a bookbinder at the age of nine. His parents were David and Elizabeth (Freidenburg) Stiles. His father was a native of New York; his mother of Holland. When 20 years old William went to Syracuse, where he worked at his trade two years, and afterward three years in New York city. He spent two years looking through the Western States accepting such employ as offered, arriving in Jackson in May, 1858, where he established a book-bindery in connection with the office of the Citizen, which connection continued until July 9, 1861, when he enlisted in Co. B, 1st Mich. Inf. In the fall of that year was assigned to the duty of nurse in the regimental hospital in the army of the Potomac. In the spring of 1863 he was appointed hospital steward; was taken sick and left his regiment the night before the second battle of Bull Run. He was in the hospital until he received his discharge in January, 1864. He came to Jackson and as soon as he was recovered engaged in book-binding until compelled to abandon it by failing health. When the city police force was organized he was appointed on it, and served seven years, until May, 1879. He at once engaged in his present business. He has always been a strong, outspoken temperance man, and was the only man on the police force who wore the " Red Ribbon." His business is prosperous and increasing. Has invented an apparatus for making coffee which renders a decoction clear as amber and preserving all the delicate aroma of the berry, and through its perfection has become celebrated in the making of coffee. He was married at the age of 21, in Cazenovia, N. Y., to Miss Catharine Serena Helmer. They are members of the M. E. Church, and have 2 children—Ida and Kitty. Mr. Stiles is a member of the Order of Chosen Friends.

Source: History of Jackson County, Michigan. Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co., 1881, p. 729.

 

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