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John Esten Miles
New Mexico

Gov. John Esten Miles

  • January 1, 1939 - January 1, 1943
  • Democratic
  • July 28, 1884
  • October 7, 1971
  • Tennessee
  • Married Susie C. Wade; seven children
  • Representative


JOHN E. MILES was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on July 28, 1884. His education was limited and attained in the public schools of his native state. Miles worked as a farmer in Texas and Oklahoma before settling in Endee, New Mexico, where he became involved in publishing and ranching. He first entered politics in 1917, serving as the postmaster of Endee, a position he held three years. He also served as the county assessor of Quay County from 1920 to 1924; was secretary of the State Tax Commission from 1925 to 1927 and 1931 to 1934; served as chief of the field division of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in 1934; and was chairman of the New Mexico Democratic Party from 1934 to 1938. Miles next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by popular vote on November 8, 1938. He was reelected to a second term in 1940. During his tenure, construction on the Conchas Dam was finalized; and the state’s livestock production continued to flourish. After leaving the governorship, Miles secured an appointment to serve as the chairman of the New Mexico Public Service Commission, a post he held from 1943 to 1945 and 1959 to 1960. He also served on the Public Lands Commission from 1945 to 1948 and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949 to 1951. From 1951 to 1952 he served as director of enforcement for the Office of Price Stabilization in Denver, Colorado; and from 1961 to 1964 was chairman of the New Mexico Democratic Party. Governor John E. Miles passed away on October 7, 1971, and was buried in the Memorial Lawns Cemetery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


* Governor John E. Miles Papers, 1939-1942 (official and personal papers)

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

* Finding aid available at New Mexico Commission of Public Records.

For more information please contact the New Mexico State Archives at 505-476-7948 or

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