My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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MRS. ELIZA MacCRACKEN. Students of philosophy tell us that “rays of light are colorless when unbroken,” and students of human nature learn that the deepest characters, the strongest minds, are formed not by unbroken happiness, but by the varied scenes of grief and joy, trials and disappointments. To only few is it allotted to attain to the great age of fourscore years, and among the list of octogenarians of Greene County, very considerable mention belongs to Mrs. MacCracken, who is a most intelligent, and in many respects remarkable character, and who entered upon her eightieth year November 22, 1889. She possesses an excellent memory, and is justly proud of her children, who occupy prominent positions in life. Many years ago she was a teacher, and numbers among her former pupils some who are now filling eminent stations in life. As a friend and neighbor she is helpful and kind. As a Christian she is faithful and devoted.

Jefferson County, Ohio, was the birthplace of Mrs. MacCracken, and the date of her birth November 22, 1810. Her parents, James and Mary (Hawkins) Dougherty, were natives respectively of Maryland and Pennsylvania, and were both of Scotch-Irish extraction. They gave their daughter what was in those days a very fine education, and which she afterward supplemented by a thorough course of reading. She attended the Steubenville Female Seminary, of which Dr. Beatty was President. That institution is the alma mater of hundreds of women who have blessed and elevated society with their presence. Early in life she commenced the vocation of teaching, and the results of her faithful work are apparent even now.

The first marriage of our subject occurred September 16, 1833, when she became the wife of the Rev. Johnson Welch, who was a recognized power in the pulpit, and in many respects a remarkable man. He was a graduate of the Allegheny Seminary, a theological institution of high order among the United Presbyterians. Mr. and Mrs. Welch became the parents of two children — James and Eliza. James followed in his father’s footsteps, and is now preaching in Troy, Davis County, Iowa. Eliza is the wife of Andrew M. Brooks, and is now Principal of the Bettie Stuart Institute, of Springfield, Ill. While yet in the prime of life, and after only four years of married life, the Rev. Johnson Welch passed away, April 17, 1837.

A few years after the death of her husband Mrs. Welch was again married, the Rev. J. S. MacCracken becoming her husband, and the ceremony which united them being performed November 11, 1839. Mr. MacCracken was the son of John and Martha (Wilson) MacCracken, natives of Pennsylvania, and early settlers of Brown County, Ohio. Their son, John S., was born in Butler County, Ohio, April 6, 1804, and died April 1, 1863. He and his wife had a family of five children, the record of whom is as follows: Henry is now Principal of New York City University; John Joseph died in infancy; George is an attorney-at-law in Urbana, this State; Anna M. is at home, and is a teacher in a classical school in the old Xenia College Building; another child died in infancy, unnamed.

Mr. and Mrs. MacCracken passed the eventful lives of a pioneer preacher and a pioneer teacher. He came of a hardy pioneer family. His grandfather was killed by the Indians while standing in the yard at his frontier Pennsylvania home. His father removed to Greene County, Ohio, when the son, John S., was a boy, and there bought land and evolved a home out of the wilderness. John MacCracken received his early education in Xenia, being a pupil of the Rev. Hugh McMillen, the founder of Xenia College. He later became a student at Miami University, and having completed his studies entered the ministry. His first charge was at Kenton, Ohio, where he was successful in establishing the United Presbyterian Church. He donated one-half of his salary (not a large one) toward the erection of a church edifice. In the meantime his wife taught a select school, being led to organize it principally on account of lack of facilities for education in that locality, and largely in behalf of her own children, who owe their eminent success in a large degree to her instruction.

In 1851, after eight years pastorate in Kenton, Ohio, the family removed to Oxford, the same State, and while there Mr. MacCracken visited many destitute places, organizing churches wherever called. They resided in Oxford five years, removing thence to Greene County, and locating first at Cedarville, where father and son taught one year. Then the family located in Xenia, where Mr. MacCracken died. The loss was a grievous one to the family who, however, mourned not alone. The poor, whom he had helped; the sorrowing, to whom he had pointed out the balm for sadness; the erring, whose footsteps he had guided into the straight and narrow way, all realized that they had lost a true, faithful and generous friend. For many years his widow has walked alone down the pathway of life toward the valley of death. But the loving care and affection of her children have brightened her declining years, and to them she will bequeath a legacy of tender memories, and the heritage of a noble, consecrated life.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

View additional Greene County, Ohio family biographies here: Greene County, Ohio Biographies

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