The Twin, Runaway, Prisoner, Musician, Drunk, and Much-Married Barber OR Are There Two Dell Ackleys?
Mary Bost Ackley v Del B. Ackley (Roll 48, Box 166, case number 2178) – 18 Mar 1890, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 26 Jan 2011)
Mary Ackley stated at the divorce proceedings that she, Mary Bost, married Del Ackley on 18 May 1887 at Edgerton, St. Joseph Twp, Williams Co, OH. The couple had one living child, a daughter Hattie, who would be 7 months old on 14 Dec 1889. He was guilty of gross neglect, he failed to purchase clothing and supplies for his family, and he abandoned her about three months before initial filing of 27 Dec 1889. He left her and traveled to Kansas City, Missouri where he spends money on liquor. During the summer of 1888 he was intoxicated, ill-treated her, and cursed her. She had personal property that was now in the custody of James C. Mortland. She asked to be restored to her maiden name of Bost. A legal notice appeared in the Edgerton Earth for six consecutive weeks. Del did not respond to any of the charges. A divorce was granted.
I have a puzzle for researchers – are there two men intertwined in this story or is this man the much-married fellow. Some facts fit and some do not. You be the judge. Here’s what we know:
Dellie Ackley and Mary Bost were married in Williams Co, OH on 18 May 1888 (Marriage V5 #1234). It’s important to note that Dell B. Ackley has other names mentioned throughout this account; he’s been titled Dell B, Delbert Ignitus, Dep, and Dellie to name a few.
Delbert Ignitus Ackley, b 22 Feb 1869, St. Joseph Twp, Williams Co, OH, son of Henry Harvey Ackley and Adaline Amelia Haddix Ackley; he was a twin to Gilbert L (Births V1 p6). His parents were also married in Williams Co, OH on 22 Oct 1865 (Marriage V3 p480). Father Harvey was a Civil War veteran, having served in Co F 129th Indiana Infantry.
So far Dell’s presence in the 1870 federal census has not been found, but the Ackley family was enumerated in the 1880 federal census as follows:
1880 Hicksville, Defiance, Ohio; Roll: 1011; Family History Film: 1255011; Page: 186B; Enumeration District: 237; Image: 0598.
Ackley, HH 33 IN-OH-blank, clerks in store
Adeline 33 OH-VA-PA wife
Irtus 13 OH-IN-OH son
Delbie (Dallas) 11 OH-IN-OH son
Gillis 11 OH-IN-OH son
Nettie 9 OH-IN-OH dau
Nellie 7 OH-IN-OH dau
Vernon 5 IN-IN-OH son
Pearl 4 IN-IN-OH dau
An interesting news article from neighboring Defiance County gave an account of what life was like for the Ackley boys as teenagers.
The Defiance Democrat, 15 May 1884 stated: “In Defiance, Defiance, Ohio on Sunday last several of our young Americans took it into their heads to act the prodigal son and accordingly boarded a train and started west in high glee. The boys were Charley Wise, ‘Doc’ Ferris, Gil and Dell Ackley. They had been working in the stave factory and drew their wages Saturday. Mr. Ackley took the Ackley boy's money away from them, with the exception of 75 cents each, and the boys thought they couldn't stand it, and accordingly, in the company with the other boys, went west to grow up with the country. The Ferris boy returned the next morning; the Ackley boys were stopped by the authorities near Chicago, by the strength of a telegram sent by their father, while the Wise boy continued on his way to the west. Rumor has it that the Wise boy broke open a trunk belonging to his mother and toke there from $40 belonging to her and a revolver. The Ackley boys returned Wednesday morning. The affair has created quite a sensation as well as anxiety to their parents.”
The next big event as stated before was the marriage of Dell Ackley to Mary Bost in Williams Co, OH on 18 May 1888. In some records Mary is listed as Mary Post. Nothing has been uncovered to-date about her other than her marriage to Dell, the birth of her child, and the divorce decree. The couple had one known child prior to their divorce as found in this birth record. Note that Mary stated in the divorce action they were married in 1887 but the record is clearly 1888.
Mattie Ackley b 14 May 1889, Edgerton, St. Joseph Twp, Williams Co to Dell Ackley and Mary Post, (Births V2 p118). From Williams Co, OH Deaths V2 p51 there is an entry for a Hattie Akley of Edgerton, who died on 9 Mar 1890 @9M 26D of inflammation of the bowels; “Hattie” was born in Edgerton. I believe this Hattie was the daughter of Dell and Mary. The child’s age if calculated would fit; it’s also important to point out that the old birth and death records are difficult to read and the exact days may not have been recorded in a timely fashion or may have been products of clerical error. Furthermore, in the divorce action the child is listed as “Hattie” Ackley. If this is right Mary suffered the loss of her only child and received a decree of divorce nine days later. Also the divorce action clearly named Mary as Bost not Post.
Dell’s father, Henry Harvey Ackley, received a military pension on 18 Jul 1889 in for service during the Civil War. Several years later HH Ackley died on 1 July 1891 in Hicksville, Defiance Co, OH.
Online sources show a possible second marriage for Delbert B. Ackley, who married Millie Hornbeck on 20 July 1896 in Vigo Co, IN (Marriage Book 14 p108). Is this our man? If so, what happened to Millie?
A second newspaper article, this time from Ft. Wayne, IN, shows a violent side to Dell.
Fort Wayne (Allen Co, Indiana) News, 16 Aug 1897
Like a Fiend
Posse Captures Dep Ackley After a Desperate Struggle
Hicksville, Defiance Co, OH – 14 Aug 1897- Dep Ackley, who almost murdered his twin brother in a duel yesterday and afterwards made his escape to the wood, was captured between 5 and 6 o'clock yesterday after a chase which lasted all night and yesterday.
He was captured in a cornfield south of a small town named Knoxville by a posse. He fought desperately with a knife and club and before finally overcome he succeeded in cutting a man named Backus over the heart. Backus cannot recover. He was not captured until his clothes were torn into shreds and he had been clubbed into insensibility.
Gill Ackley, the brother and victim of the man captured, is still unconscious. After an examination it was found that the carotid artery in the neck had been cut, making a fatal wound. The citizens are greatly aroused over the affair and if Gill dies Dep will be roughly dealt with.
Note that Dell’s brother did not die from this attack.
Two military service records online show the following details:
Dell Ackley from Fort Wayne, IN was a musician serving from 26 Apr 1898 – 1 Nov 1898.
Disable Veteran’s Records show the following: Private, Co I 157th US Infantry; enlisted 26 Apr 1898, Indianapolis, IN; discharged 1 Nov 1898 (6 months service); born OH 52Y old brown eyes, brown hair, 5’5”, baker, res – Hicksville, Defiance Co, OH, mar Catherine Ackley, admitted 20 Apr 1927, Dayton, Montgomery Co, OH Disabled Veterans Home
Company I was organized at Waterloo, DeKalb County, on September 15, 1879, and was assigned as Company A, Third Infantry, designated afterward as Company I, Third Infantry, Indiana National Guard.
According to the 1900 Wayne Twp, Allen Co, MI federal census p1B, Dell Ackley, b Feb 1871, age 30, single, was a prisoner in the state facility and had been there two months.
DeKalb Co, IN divorce records show a Dell Ackley being sued for divorce by Mary Houlton Ackley in May 1900 (May Term 1900 p317). Dell was a musician in the Spanish-American War for DeKalb County, IN. This marriage/divorce could be related to the divorce action in Williams Co – is Mary Houlton Ackley a newer bride, or is there a second Dell Ackley?
1900 Ft. Wayne, Allen, Indiana; Roll: T623_358; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 28.
Ackley, Dell (Feb 1870) 30 OH-OH-IN prisoner, single, baker
Two other online sources show possible marriages:
1. Dell B. Ackley married Mary Cook on 25 Apr 1904 in Elkhart Co, IN (Marriage Bk 13 p317)
2. Delbert Ignitus Ackley and Fay M Hayden were married on 24 Aug 1908 in Saint Joseph, Berrien Co, Michigan.
One does know that by 1910 Dell is living at home with his mother. Could the granddaughter, Ludia N, be his child?
1910 Elkhart Ward 2, Elkhart, Indiana; Roll: T624_347; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 10; Image: 684.
114 Sycamore St
h/h378/384 Ackley, Adeline A 63 OH-VA-PA widow
Ludia N grand-dau 21 single OH-OH-OH order girl for carriage factory
Delbert B son 41 single OH-OH-OH barber
Another online source shows a further marriage for Dell:
Delbert Ignitus Ackley and Lola Gay Kemper were married on 3 May 1914 in Howard Co, IN. Possible son, Velore Ackley, is listed as son of Albert and Lola Kemper Ackley. Note that Albert and Delbert are close; could this be the subject of this detailing? By the 1920 federal census one finds Lola G Aekle enumerated as follows:
1920 Liberty, Howard, Indiana; Roll: T625_438; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 152; Image: 1037.
h/h 282/283 Kemper, Mary
Aekle, Lola G dau 42 divorced IN-IN-IN dressmaker
Velore C grandson 5 IN-IN-IN
Dell received a military pension on 9 Feb 1923 for service in the Spanish-American War.
By 3 Apr 1930 he was a barber at Perkins, Erie Co, OH; he had a wife Katherine, b 1873 in Germany