ALVAR I. AKERS, deceased, a former citizen and reliable business man of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and a son of Wilson Lee and Jane (Atkinson) Akers, was born May 24, 1837, in Carrolltown, Carroll county, Ohio.
His ancestors were of English origin, the family being transplanted from England to America, prior to the Revolution, by four of its descendants: Israel; Ralph, who settled in Maine; one who went to Virginia, and another, who settled in Ohio.
Ralph Akers, the great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was a farmer and settled in Bedford county, where he died. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.
Robert Akers, grandfather of our subject, was born and reared in Bedford county, where he lived all his life and followed agricultural pursuits. He married Nancy Hanks, and his family consisted of five children: Israel, Wesley, Timothy, Nancy and Wilson Lee, the father of the subject of this record.
Wilson Lee Akers (1814-1895) was born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, and lived there until about 1834, when he removed to Carrolltown, where he shortly afterward married Jane Atkinson, a daughter of a prosperous newspaper man and woolen manufacturer. He was first in partnership with his father-in-law in the newspaper business, and later with Mr. George Rhey in the agricultural business, Mr. Rhey being a furnace man who ran the farms. After leaving Carrolltown Mr. Akers came to Johnstown and took charge of the gardens and grounds surrounding the residence of the late Daniel J. Morrell. He was an artistic gardener, and the first city florist who planted the public gardens of the city. Later he went to Altoona and engaged in the grocery business; but in 1886 he returned to Johnstown, dying there in the autumn of 1895. He gave a good common-school education to his son, Alvar I. Akers, who left home at the age of fourteen and became a clerk in a company store in Johnstown, where he remained for five years, when he was given charge of the company store of Baker's at Conemaugh Furnace, and was made postmaster at that place, although under age. In this is set forth the honesty and efficiency of Mr. Akers as a youth. He remained there until about 1860, and then formed a partnership with Mr. Frederick Leoch, under the firm name of Leoch & Akers, and carried on a grocery and meat store until the breaking out of the Civil War. Being filled with patriotic ardor and having the spirit of a brave man, he enlisted in company B, One Hundred and Thirty-third regiment, Pennsylvania volunteers, upon the first call, serving the full term of enlistment in the commissary department. For stealing away and bringing the body of his brother John home he was court-martialed. After having done faithfal service for his country he returned home and formed a partnership with Louis and Herman Baumer in 1864, and as the firm of Akers & Baumer the partnership continued until the flood of 1889, in a general mercantile business. He was an industrious, thrifty man and built the house where his widow now lives on Akers street, Eighth Ward, then a woods in Upper Yoder township.
His wife was Catherine Gahr, a native of Bavaria, who came to America about 1857 to take care of an invalid brother studying for the priesthood. She was the mother of fourteen children.
Mr. Akers possessed many of the traits of his estimable father, Wilson Lee Akers, the the latter having been a self-educated man of more than ordinary intelligence, who was a constant reader, well informed on all current events, and also a man of considerable literary ability, contributing to various periodicals. Both were converts to Roman Catholicism; both were men of forceful character; both were good citizens.