- He appeared in the census in 1850 in New York. He was living in 1850 in McDonough, Chenango , New York. living with parents On 14 September 1850 William was a Lawyer in McDonough, Chenango , New York. He was living between 1860 and 1870 in Waterloo, Black Hawk , Iowa. On 20 June 1870 he was a Real Estate Dealer in Waterloo, Black Hawk , Iowa. On 1 June 1880 William was an a lead miner in Dubuque, Iowa. He was living in 1880 in Dubuque, Iowa. He died about 1900. William appeared in the census 1860, 1870 & 1880 in IA. The town of Ackley, Hardin, Iowa is named after him. Roby was the first postmaster in this part of the country. He lodged the passengers on the stage that made the first trip to Waterloo. He was the owner of the present site of the city of Ackley, and conveyed to the Dubuque and
Sioux City Railroad Company one half of the town site, or every alternate lot. The company conveyed their interest to William J. Ackley of Waterloo, hence the town derived its name. He was, at one time, owner of 2,500 acres of land in the county. He also gave the railroad the right of way through his entire tract of land, and worked earnestly for the establishment of the rail line. He was also liberal in donating to the Iowa Central Railroad Company.
What's strange is that Ackley never resided in Ackley. From what we were told, Ackley also founded the town of Aplington about 15 miles east of Ackley. Ackley had purchased land in the area for the expantion of railroads.
William Ackley purchased the land for the railroad route and discussed founding a town. He and three other land developers purchased the land which is now the town itself for $25.00 an acre. They then sold sites for developing the town. In 1857, the town of Ackley was staked out. The plan was signed December 12, 1857. Even though Ackley never lived here, he gave the town his name.
In 1865, the Dubuque and Sioux City Railroad bought nearly all the timber at Island Grove and corded it up where the Illinois Central depot stands. By October, when the railroad reached Ackley, there were 10 business establishments and several homes. The completion of the railroad brought on a rush of settlers and businessmen and the town boomed.
The Fontaine post office was moved to Ackley and its name was changed. The town of Ackley was incorporated and William A. Francis became the first mayor. The Ackley Civic Center now stands at the site of a store once owned by Francis. As Ackley expanded more buildings were being constructed in the business area. A brick, six-room school was built at State and Second Street for $14,000. Catholics, Methodists and Presbyterians built frame churches. The population soared to 500.