McCracken was born in Maryland in November 1852 to James and
Margaret McCracken. His father, a carpet weaver, brought his
family first to Pennsylvania, where younger brother Charles was
born around 1856. By 1860 the McCracken family had settled in
Camden's South Ward. Besides older sister Mary the family included
younger siblings Charles, Jeanette and Emilene. During the Civil War
James McCracken Sr. served in the United States Navy aboard the U.S.S.
the Census was taken in 1870 James McCracken was living with his
parents and siblings. He had by then gone to work as iron moulder,
a line of work that he would pursue for the rest of his working
years, other than the time he was a member of the Fire Department.
stated above, James McCracken Jr. was appointed to the Camden Fire
Department in November of 1876. His sister Emeline married William
Jobes in 1877, the young couple lived with her family. The
1878-1879 City Directory shows the McCracken family at 618 Pine
Street, and that James McCracken Sr. had a carpet business at
Avenue. By the time the Census was taken in 1880 the McCracken
family had moved to 558 Pine
McCracken married Sophia Schoch around 1882. The 1883-1884 Directory shows them
at 346 Spruce
Street and tells that James McCracken was working at the
Gloucester Iron Works. He went to work at the Johnson and Holt
Foundry in Camden the following year. The 1887-1888 Directory has
the family at 346 Spruce
Street. By the following year the McCrackens had moved to 348 Spruce
Street, where they resided through 1900. By the time of the
1900 Census there were three children, William, Maggie, and Annie.
Son Charles J. McCracken passed away on November 28, 1897.
McCracken was assaulted in the street not long after the death of
his son. Either from his injuries or for other reasons he began
showing signs of serious mental illness in 1899. In 1901 he was
committed to the Camden County Lunatic Asylum, where he died in
1903. His widow, Sophia,
remarried around 1908.
William Jobes was one
of the three Camden Fire Department members who were killed in the
Armory fire in 1906.