Benjamin S McCraken

Among the old settlers of Holly Township we find the name of our subject. He is a man who has done a tremendous amount of hard work, and has borne it well, for he has a remarkably strong constitution, never having been sick a day in the course of his life. He was born in Warren County, N. J., September 15, 1819. His father, Jacob, was born in the same State in 1776. He was the son of James, a man of Scotch-Irish descent, who lived to be ninety years old.

The father of our subject came to Michigan in 1832, in the old Territorial days. He settled in Washington, Macomb County, and took up a farm of one hundred and twenty acres of land, which he proceeded to improve, and resided there until his death, in 1864, having completed the long life of four-score years and ten. He was a member of the Christian Church and a Democrat in politics, in which he took great interest and held office. He was an adept at singing, and taught singing school for forty years. He was very intelligent, and was often called upon to write up wills, deeds and the like. His wife, Lydia Shackleton, the mother of our subject, was born in New Jersey in 1786. She bore and reared to maturity eight children. She was a member of the Presbyterian Church in early life, and later joined the Methodist Church. She always took an active interest in church matters. Her side of the family was of Scotch-Irish descent. She lived to be seventy, seven years of age, and departed this life in 1861.

Benjamin McCracken was in his thirteenth year when he came to Michigan. The log schoolhouse, the slab seats, Indian neighbors, wild game and the shot gun are among the vivid recollections of his youth, and being pursued by a pack of wolves is a memory which still gives him a thrill of horror. He has been a hard worker, and has himself cleared five hundred acres of land. He is now in his seventy-second year, strong and robust. He came to Oakland  County in 1848, and bought two hundred and eighty acres of land. After five years he sold out there and came to his present place, where he bought two hundred and eighty acres of unimproved land. He put up a shanty and lived in it for one year, and then built the frame house in which he now resides. It was a notable house in those days, being the only one between Fenton and Holly which could boast of window blinds and a coat of paint. He has farmed extensively and raised many horses, over two hundred in all, and is an extensive stock-breeder.

Mr. McCracken's marriage to Lucia Rice in 1842 was the beginning of a wedded life of great happiness. It took place at the home of the bride, who is a native of Vermont, where she was born October 29, 1823. She came to Michigan in 1840. One child only was granted to this worthy couple: Charles J., who has married Mary E. McOmber, and lives on the old homestead where he was born. He has one child - Olive E.  Our subject is a Prohibitionist in his political belief, but takes no active part in politics.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Oakland  County, Michigan.  Chicago: Chapman Bros., 1891.
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