Standish, Miles or Myles, c.1584–1656, American colonist, b. England. After serving as a soldier for a number of years, Standish accompanied the Pilgrims to America on the Mayflower (1620) and was recognized at once as the military leader of Plymouth Colony. He was probably not a Puritan. He saved the colony from the Native Americans several times, most notably in 1623 when he defeated Native Americans threatening an attack on the settlement at Weymouth. In 1625 he was sent to England as a colonial agent particularly concerned with the colony's debt to its merchant backers in London. Standish was treasurer of the colony (1644–49), held other posts, and was a founder of Duxbury, Mass. Henry W. Longfellow's The Courtship of Miles Standish and James R. Lowell's Interview with Miles Standish are wholly fictional.
See biographies by J. S. C. Abbott (1872) and T. C. Porteus (1920).