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Philo Miles, youngest son of Marcena Newbury, was born in Vermont in 1848. His eldest brother, Marcena, was killed on the battlefield during the Civil War. His brother, James, who was married in 1860 and had little children, did not participate. Another brother, Jake, was so badly wounded that he was unable to work and eventually died in the Soldier's Home. There were also two sisters, Martha Elizabeth and Maria.

While still a small boy, Philo moved with the family to Hanover, Michigan where he attended school with the girl who afterwards became his wife. In 1863 at the age of fifteen, he became a drummer boy. Being too small to carry the drum, he rode on the cannon. In 1865, he was discharged without receiving a scratch.

The following year he married Amarilla Simmons. Her father having died before she was born, and her mother passing away while she was yet a small girl; Amarilla was raised by her father's brother. Following their marriage, Philo and Amarilla lived on his parent's farm near Jackann, Michigan. There Julia Maria was born. She wed Jack Ward in 1886. They had two daughters - Majorie and Ada.

The second child of Philo and Amarilla was James Irwing, (Jim), who was born in Tuston, Michigan, in 1869. His folks had moved to central Michigan by ox-team, taking along two cows and some chickens. There they settled on a homestead and built a small log cabin with a bark roof and a puncheon floor. After it burned they built a large cabin. There the third child Lavina Estelle was born. She never came west.

The fourth child Ada Adele, was born in 1873. She married Frank McDonald. To them two children were born, Harry and Clara.