Ira W. Speers was born in 1844 in New York.
Ira left New York and moved west, eventually settling in Michigan where by 1860 he was a farm laborer living with Nathan Mayfield in Waterford, Oakland County.
He was 17 years old and residing in Pontiac, Oakland County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861. He was on detached service as a teamster from November of 1862 through December, with the Brigade wagon train (probably as a teamster) in January of 1863, and with the ammunition train from February through September. In November Ira was detached with an artillery Brigade, was a teamster in the First Division wagon train from December of 1863 through March of 1864, and he was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.
It is not known if Ira ever returned to Michigan. He was married to Clementine (b. 1851), and they had at least four children: Lottie (b. 1872), Anna (b. 1874), William (b. 1877) and Cilia (b. 1879). By 1880 Ira was working as a railroad fireman and living with his wife and children in Lunberg’s First Ward, Sunbury, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.
In 1890 he applied for a pension (no. 974210), and he was living in Carbon County, Wyoming. In 1892 his wife Clementine was living in Maryland when she applied for a pension (no. 549211), probably for access to part of Ira’s pension, but the certificate was never granted. It can be assumed that he and his first wife had separated although whether they were divorced remains uncertain.
He appears to have been married at least twice, and was possibly a bigamist since there were two women (Clementine and Jennie) claiming rights as his widows to his pension (see below).
Ira died on March 1, 1904, in Kansas City, Missouri.
In 1903 his “widow” Jennie was residing in Missouri when she too applied for a pension (no. 783540), although it does not appear a certificate was ever granted in their case either.