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Meet Billy Miles

Bryan County people

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POSTED: March 22, 2010 1:10 p.m.
Meet Billy Miles: lifelong Pembroke resident, former councilman and banker.

How long have you lived in Bryan County?

I’ve lived in Pembroke since the fall of 1926, when I was three or four months old. This little town has been through a lot of changes through the years. There were only dirt roads back then.
Pembroke is my home and I’ll never leave it. I love the dear hearts and gentle people who live in my hometown.

What are some of your earliest memories of Pembroke?
As a young fella coming to Pembroke on Saturday nights, it was a lot of fun. I met so many people there that’d all come from the country to shop. We had a lot of grocery stores back then.
We used to live right on the railroad. As a young boy, I can remember passenger trains coming through town. The east and west trains would arrive about the same time and all kinds of people would come out to meet the trains. Later, the passenger trains stopped coming and it was just freight trains. Now, there’s not that many freight trains that come through.

Is all that activity the reason why the city’s logo is ‘A Historic Railroad Town’?

It sure is. We started as a railroad community.

What brought your family to Pembroke in 1926?
My mother and daddy were from Hinesville and my dad bought a barber shop over here. He (Edgar W. Miles) was a barber for several years until he became sheriff in Bryan County, which he held for 10 years. After that, he owned Miles Dry Goods Store.

What did you do for a living prior to your retirement?
I was fortunate to get a job at the bank (First Bank of Coastal Georgia, then known as Pembroke State Bank) as a bookkeeper. I finally advanced to cashier, vice president and eventually president. I started at the bank in 1946 and retired in ’91. I remained a director until ’99. I was president 23 of the 45 years I worked there. 
As a young boy, I worked in most of the stores all down Bacon Street. I started off shining shoes at my dad’s barber shop. I worked in a lot of grocery stores, in the drug store, in several dry goods stores and even sold popcorn at the old Tos Theater.

How long were you on the Pembroke City Council?

I was a councilman for years, from 1964 to 1984. I saw a lot of progress in this town, such as the addition of the water system and sewer system.

What do you do in your leisure time?

Through the years, I’ve collected a lot of antiques and have had a hand in real estate. I own a good bit of property in Pembroke, much of which we’ve developed. I love working in my garden, but I’m not able to do much of that anymore at my age.

How did you come to own the old Tindol Hotel building?

The Tindol Hotel came through R.L. Connelly. He lived at the Tindol Hotel along with old Mrs. Agnes Tindol. R.L. took care of her in her last days and she loved him like a son. She gave him the deed to the hotel when he died and told him to contact me to see if I’d buy it. I bought it and saw that he had a good place to live.

Do you think the old hotel will ever start up again?
I had the outside renovated a few years ago, but the inside is mainly storage for some of my antiques. Eventually, I hope someone will purchase it and turn it into a bed and breakfast. At 84-years-old, I’m a bit old to start on that project myself.

Another historic building you’ve owned is the old Tos Theater. Do you have any good memories the
re?
Yes I do. A lot of people in this town have so many wonderful memories of the old theater. The city owns it now and they plan to open it back up and make it place to display local talent, which I’m really excited about.
 

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