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Biographical Sketches
Ashe / Alleghany County, North Carolina


Ira Halsey was born at Piney Creek, North Carolina, on June 30, 1820, the third child of William "Bucky" and Juda Peak Halsey. He was the brother of Josiah, Caswell, Tinsey, Sena, Lucinda, Mary Polly, Sarah, and Nancy. His grandfather, also named William, fought in the Revolutionary War, and was the first Halsey to settle in the Piney Creek area of the Virginia-North Carolina border. According to records, Ira purchased the land belonging to his brothers and sisters after they had married and left home. Therefore, he eventually owned all the land that had belonged to his parents which was approximately 700 acres. He raised wheat, corn, oats, rye, and buckwheat. He had pasture land which he rented to neighbors to graze their cows and horses for which he charged $1.00 a month. When he needed help in planting and harvesting the crops, he hired farm laborers for $.50 a day.

When Ira Halsey was almost 23 years old, he went to the "Big June Meeting" at the Center Primitive Baptist Church in Ashe County, North Carolina. He met a little girl from Nathan's Creek who was exactly twenty years younger than he, both of them having the same birthday. Apparently the little girl charmed Ira and he spent a considerable time talking and playing with her. When the child's mother was ready to go home, Ira said, "Zilphia and I have been talking and I am going to wait until she is 21 and we will be married." Her mother replied, "I suppose that will be up to her." 

Eighteen years later, in 1861, Ira Halsey married Zilphia Dixon. Ira and Zilphia had seven children: William who married America Halsey and later Myrtle Miles; Ennice who married Weldon Hash; Harlow who married Flora Woodruff and later Mae Peirce; Matilda "T" who married Morris Edwards; John C. who married Leila McMillan; Betty who married William Edwards; and Iley who married Imogene Alexander. The story of William's wedding: It was on Christmas Day in 1882. He and America Halsey were eloping on horseback along with his first cousin Mollie Halsey who was marrying Sam Halsey. 

They arrived at Justice of the Peace Daniel Jones' home after dark that night. They sat on horseback, using lanterns for light. Mr. Jones kept getting the names confused as they were all Halseys. Finally, he gave up and said, "Well, Halsey to Halsey and Halsey to Halsey, and be off with you." That was all that was needed. Ira divided his 700 acres between his sons. He gave each son, when he married, 160 acres. The daughters got cash. 

--- Rufus Clinton Halsey

(biographical sketch from The Heritage of Ashe County, North Carolina)


This page was last updated July 27, 2007.