During the entire period of his manhood Robert A. McCracken has been connected prominently with business interests in Paxton and Ford county and his name has long been an honored one on commercial paper. While he prepared for and was admitted to the bar, he has largely retired from active practice but his knowledge of the law proves of much value to him in the conduct of his private business interests. He is president of the Kankakee City Electric Railway and has extensive investments, while at the same time he had the care of his father's estate, his mother, Mrs. E. C. McCracken being executrix. The estate embraces forty-six hundred and fifty acres of Illinois land.
A native of Pennsylvania, Mr. McCracken was born in Lawrence county, November 19, 1854, a son of the Rev. Robert McCracken, of whom mention is made elsewhere in this volume. He was but seven years of age when he accompanied his parents on their removal to Ford county and here the days of his boyhood were passed, his education being acquired in the public schools of Paxton. In 1871 he removed to Hoopeston with his father who was engaged in merchandising there until 1876, when the family returned to Paxton. He then became associated with his father in buying and selling real estate and from that time to the present has been more or less actively associated with the purchase and sale of farm and city property. Some time after his return to Paxton he took up the study of law in the office and under the direction of the law firm of Cook & Moffett. In 1888 he passed the examination which secured his admission to the bar and entered upon the practice of his profession. Although he does not now engage in practice his knowledge of the law is of inestimable value to him in the control of his property interests. In August, 1905, in company with three others, he purchased the Kankakee City Electric Railway and on the election of officers was chosen president, with E. E. Rollins as vice president and E. D. Risser as secretary and treasurer. These offices they still hold and are thus becoming actively associated with the great system of interurban railways, which have been so important a factor in the development of the state. He is widely known as a man of sound business judgment and of unfaltering enterprise, also notably prompt and reliable, having gained an unassailable reputation for business integrity.
On the 8th of October, 1889, Mr. McCracken was married to Miss Luella B. Kemp, a daughter of Nicholas and Catherine S. (Axline) Kemp, who came to Ford county, Illinois, with her parents from Wenona, Marshall county, this state, in 1875, the family home being established on a farm of three hundred and twenty acres three miles west of Paxton. Unto Mr. and Mrs. McCracken have been born three children: Howard Orr, Ruth A. and Wendell Kemp, the first two being high school students.
Mr. McCracken and his family are active members of the First Methodist Episcopal church of Paxton and are interested in all that pertains to the progress and development of the city. His political allegiance is given to the republican party and although not an aspirant for office he is in this regard, as in every other relation of life, a stalwart champion of the principles in which he believes. He is never neglectful of the duties of citizenship nor forgetful of his obligations to his fellowmen. His deep interest in children is indicated by his authorship of a child's story book, which was published in 1901 under the title of "Hidalgo and Home Life at West Lawn," the preface being written by Miss Lida B. McMurray, of the State Normal School of De Kalb. This volume was well received by the press and public, the first edition having already been exhausted. The family home at the corner of West Center and Elm streets is among the finest of Paxton's residences and here Mr. McCracken's many friends know him as a genial, hospitable host. He has a wide acquaintance in Ford county, where almost his entire life has been passed, is popular with all classes and without invidious distinction may be termed one of the county's most honored and representative citizens.

Extracted 19 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 1, pages 347-348.

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