Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Life of Ira Ackerson: World's Most Unluckiest Man

My 2nd great grandfather Ira Ackerson was unlucky. There is no other way to explain it. From a book of family lore written by my great grandmother, I suspected as much with some of the stories but recently while looking for information about him through old newspapers, I ran across several articles that only confirmed it.

Ira Ackerson came into this world on June 7, 1873 in New Hartford, Iowa. He was the first of seven children born to Joseph Ackerson and Lucy May Card, pictured front and center in the picture above. Both the Ackerson's and the Card's came from the New York area but the Ackerson's via several generations in Ohio and the Card's via a brief layover in Wisconsin. That is Ira in the back row on the left in the photo above standing next to siblings Edith Deliah and William. In the front row to the left of Lucy is Julie Maude and to the right of Joseph is Lizzie May, James Allen and Emma Jane.

Sometime prior to 1895, Ira married Byrd "Birdie" Bertha Ingalls. I haven't done any research on her mostly because she isn't my 2nd great grandmother. Seven years after they were married and three children later, she evidently ran away with another man leaving him and the kids behind. The book written by my great grandmother simply stated that she ran away.


24 Jul 1903

Ira was the son of a doctor though he himself was a blue collar worker. However, Ira evidently had enough money to hire a young housekeeper by the name of Maria Buchholz, daughter of Frederick Buchholz, the last ancestor to immigrate to the United States. I mention his name because four years later, my 2nd great grandfather married Maria and bore him four more children including my great grandmother.

14 May 1907
But then my 2nd great grandfather's lack of luck really began to take hold. What follows are a string of articles from local newspapers and written accounts from my great grandmother's journal detailing his clumsiness.

28 Aug 1908

While living in Charles City, IA, a team of horses Ira was driving started up suddenly and Ira fell against the side of the wagon and fractured his neck.

12 Aug 1917

While they were living in Cedar Falls, Ira and son Clarence were in an auto accident and Ira fractured his neck a second time. When he recovered from the second accident, he couldn't turn his head to the side anymore.

25 Aug 1925

Ira's lack of luck eventually got the better of him and on March 9, 1952, he died at home due to kidney trouble.

8 comments:

R. Sherman said...

I trust you're preserving these stories in "dead tree" form, lest some stray EMP strike Google's servers and wipe them out.

BTW, nothing like having your wife run away with a circus star.

Oy.

Cheers.

Ed said...

R. Sherman - Although I have these saved on four different hard drives scattered throughout my life and disconnected from the internet, I do not have a "dead tree" form. I've always thought that would be too much work but if I were just to narrow it down to genealogy stories, that wouldn't be so bad. Perhaps when my crappy ink jet breaks down and I upgrade to a laser printer, I will do just that.

TC said...

Ingalls?!?!?! Related to Laura Ingalls?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

geri said...

Poor guy - but he did live a "long" life considering (although I got confused at one point because you put in 1973 for his birth).

Ed said...

TC - Well New Hartford is in northern Iowa not far from the Ingalls family of fame. I've never looked into it.

Geri - Thanks for catching that mistake which is now corrected. It always amazes me how easily one of those accidents could have taken him out and thus I would never have existed.

Eutychus2 said...

Oh you would have existed alright, but without all the family mystery and intrigue! I can't get enough of the family history stuff ... I'm sure we're all eagerly awaiting the Ingalls angle?!

Danielle Fintel said...

Me neither. He is my great great grandfather

Ed said...

Danielle - Thanks for dropping by distant cousin!