Ira C. Knickerbocker was born around 1821 in Smithfield, Dutchess County, or Smithville, Chenango County, New York, the son of New York natives Alvin (1799-1886) and Lucinda (Kelly, 1803-1858).
Alvin was probably living in New York, in August of 1814 when he enlisted in Captain Eli Robinson’s Company of militia in Col. Van Dalfsen’s Regiment. Following his discharge from the army he settled in Chenango County, New York where he married Lucinda around 1819. They lived in Chenango County for some years before moving to Pennsylvania. In the early 1840s Alvin settled his family in Bradford County, Pennsylvania.
Ira married Margaret Sisson (1830-1892) on October 21, 1849, in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, and they had at least three children: Humphrey (b. 1857), C. E. (b. 1859) and Hattie (b. 1863).
In 1850 Ira and Margaret were living either with Margaret’s family in Barton, Tioga County, Pennsylvania, or with Ira’s family in Athens, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.
Ira left New York sometime before 1864 and came to Michigan.
Ira stood 5’8” with blue eyes, gray hair and a light complexion and was a 44-year-old carpenter possibly living in Courtland, Kent County when he enlisted in Company E on January 19, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Courtland or Dalton, Muskegon County, and was mustered the same day. He joined the Regiment on February 10, was on detached service in April and May, and reportedly wounded in early May. He was still on detached service at Brigade headquarters when he was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was absent sick in the hospital from August of 1864 through May of 1865, and probably until he was discharged on June 7, 1865, from Mower hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
After the war Ira eventually returned to Michigan.
By 1870 he was apparently a prisoner in the state prison at Jackson’s Fourth Ward, Jackson County (offense unknown). Following his release he remained in Michigan and by 1888 he was residing in South Allen, Hillsdale County.
Ira died, probably sometime in 1891. In January of 1892 Margaret was living in Indiana when she applied for a widow’s pension (application no. 553439). She reportedly died in Minica, Chickasaw County, Indiana.