Ahira D. Southard was born in 1836 in Cattaraugus County, New York, the son of Horace B. (b. 1806) and Betsey A. (Brown, b. 1810).
Vermonter Horace married New Hampshire native Betsey sometime before 1831 by which time they were living in New York; by 1840 fhey were living in Leon, Cattaraugus County, New York. Horace eventually moved his family west 1839 and 1844 (?) settled in Michigan. By 1850 Ahira was living with his family and attend school with his siblings in Burns, Shiawassee County.
He stood 5’5” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was a 25-year-old merchant when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. He reportedly deserted on July 29, 1861, at Arlington, Virginia, and returned on July 30 at Hunter’s Farm, Virginia. He was reported sick in his quarters in December of 1861, and on February 6-7, 1862, he was suffering from a liver ailment; by April of 1863 he was suffering from bronchitis. He allegedly deserted a second time on June 11, 1863, at Falmouth, Virginia, but in fact was admitted to the Regimental hospital on June 3 or 6, 1863, and sent to the Convalescent Camp, Virginia (probably in Alexandria) on June 15, then transferred to Camp Distribution, Virginia, on October 8. He returned to his Regiment on October 19, and entered Grace Church general hospital, Alexandria, Virginia on October 21, suffering from sinovitis of the left ankle joint.
Ahira was returned to duty on January 16, 1864, arrived at Camp Distribution the same day, and was furloughed on January 21 for 30 days. He returned on February 22, and was sent on to his Regiment on February 26, at Camp Bullock, Virginia. Two years after the war he claimed that on May 5, 1864, he was shot in the right shoulder, hand and arm, at the Wilderness, Virginia, resulting in the loss of his second finger.
In any case, on May 10 he was sent to Carver hospital in Washington, DC, transferred on May 17 to West’s building hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and eventually transferred to Michigan where he was mustered out at Detroit on June 20, 1864.
After his discharge Ahira returned to Michigan and eventually settled in Ionia County. He was living in Portland when he married New York native Margaret “Maggie” Adams (1847-1920) on October 15, 1874, in Portland, and they had at least one child: Clyde (b. 1876).
By 1880 Ahira was working as a teamster and living with his wife and son in Portland; indeed he lived in Portland for many years.
He became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association in December of 1891 and received pension no. 116,195, drawing $4.00 per month in 1883 for a wound in the right arm.
In 1894 he was still living in Portland but by 1900 Ahira was residing in Grand Rapids at 225 Scribner.
He eventually returned to Portland where he died of Bright’s disease at his home on November 28, 1903, and was buried in Portland cemetery.
His widow applied for and received a pension (no. 579,956).