Ira J. Poats was born on November 20, 1840, in Adams Township, Seneca County, Ohio, the son of Pennsylvania natives Joseph Poats (1794-1865) and Lydia Kimble (b. 1796).
Ira’s parents moved from Pennsylvania to New York around 1836 and on to Ohio by 1840. In 1850 Ira was living with his family in Adams, Seneca County, Ohio. They eventually brought the family to Michigan settling in Algoma, Kent County in 1855, and by 1860 Ira was working as a farm laborer and living with his family in Algoma, Kent County, where his father worked as a farmer.
Ira stood 5’7” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 20 years old when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861. He was transferred to Company I on August 1, 1861. Ira was in the hospital in January of 1863, and was a Corporal when he was shot in the left hip on May 2, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia. He was hospitalized through December of 1863, and transferred as a Corporal to the 7th (or 75th) Company, 2nd Battalion, Veterans Reserve Corps (VRC) on January 15, 1864, at Washington, DC. He was eventually discharged, although it is not known when.
Ira returned to western Michigan.
He married Ohio native Nancy Jane Mizner (1838-1916) on September 4, 1864, and they had at least two children: Estella (1865-1905, Mrs. Wade) and Minnie (b. 1869).
They settled in Algoma in 1864, but by 1880 he was working a farm and living with his wife and two daughters in Sparta, Kent County. He soon moved to Newaygo, Newaygo County where he lived the rest of his life, and for many years worked as a lumberman. He was living in Newaygo in 1890, suffering from blindness, piles and general debility. By 1900 he and Nancy were living in Brooks, Newaygo County; also living with them was his daughter Estella and her husband Garnett Wade.
Ira was a member of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association and a charter member and chaplain of Grand Army of the Republic Judd post no. 133 in Newaygo.
In 1878 he applied for and received a pension (no. 247031).
Ira died of albuminuria on December 29, 1900, and was buried in Newaygo City cemetery: section G, lot 7.
In January of 1901 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 513620). By 1905 she was boarding at 1430 5th Street in Des Moines, Iowa.