Josiah Alexander Ireland was born in September 1824, the son of William and Jane Stone Ireland. He graduated from the Kentucky School of Medicine in its first class, having attended the University of Louisville School of Medicine in 1845-1846, and served as professor of obstetrics and diseases of women and children at KSM beginning in 1864. He was one of the founders of the Louisville Medical College in 1869. He married Sarah Elizabeth Cooper (1826-July 10, 1856) on October 4, 1846. They had one son, Dr. Henry Clay Ireland. After Sarah died, he married Susan Mary Brown (1826-1912) in November 1856, and they had one son, William Furtney Ireland.