Who was William Acker?

With the discovery of the 1905 New York Census for the Bronx and the family of William Haring, a new name was uncovered that was not related to the Haring family. Like the 1900 US Census revealed Agnes B. Hannigan listed as an unknown niece, the 1905 document listed William Acker as a unknown nephew. William was also listed in the 1910 US Census for the Haring family in Hamilton Township in New Jersey.

This new discovery led to an attempt to identify William Acker as the child of Rosanna Hannigan and Henry E. Acker, who were married in February 1896 in the North New York Methodist Episcopal Church on Willis Avenue in the Bronx.

The search for William Acker uncovered a reference in the California Death Index to a record in which the maiden name of the descendant’s mother was Hannigan.  There was additional information that indicated his Birth Place was New York and it provided his Birth Date as 16 Feb 1897 (one year after Rosanna and Henry were married).

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This provided the initial information to check what additional information was available and where in Sacramento, California his death occurred.  That search led to the California Penal System records and filled in his life from leaving New Jersey in 1914.

California, Prison and Correctional Records, San Quention 1918-22 for Mugshot for W J. Acker

San Quentin Prison mugshot from 1920

Records with the California Penal System show William arrived in California in 1914. His first  trouble with law enforcement was an arrest in July 1916 in Salem, Oregon where he was convicted on a Larceny charge and sentenced to one to ten years. Some records indicate he was paroled in 1917 and then almost immediately faced a conviction in South Dakota. Completing his one-year sentence in South Dakota where he was discharged in 1918 before being arrested for Grand Larceny in Deer Lodge, Montana in May 1918 and sentenced to a term of two to five years where he was paroled in 1919. In September 1920 he was sentenced to a term of one to ten years for Grand Larceny in San Luis Obispo, California and was transferred from San Quentin to Folsom Prison a few days later. after a brief escape attempt in 1924, he was discharged from Folsom Prison on December 1, 1930.

In May 1932 he was convicted of Burglary and Theft in Huntsville, Texas and convicted to a term of four years. His next conviction was in Florence, Arizona for a term of four to five years in March 1937. Upon returning to California, he was arrested in San Diego in July 1946 and sent to Folsom Prison.

Prison records show that he died in the Folsom Prison hospital on August 6, 1948 and was buried in the Folsom Prison Cemetery. His simple tombstone indicates his prisoner number and the date 8-26-1948.

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