|Picture publish date 1905.|
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Birth: March 16, 1826, Pennsylvania.
Death: March 20, 1906.
Wife: Mary ( Lindsey ) McCracken.
Children: Non recorded.:
Burial: Park Cemetery, Sunnydale, Sedgwick County, Kansas.
Mr. McCracken, came to Sedgwick County, Kansas in 1872, and settled in section 22, of Grant township. His farm was 152.50 acres and was known as the Sunny Dale Fruit & Flower Farm. He was known for his Floral Culture and Nursery. His post office address was Valley Center, Kansas, which is about 5 miles south west from the farm.
WILLIAM McCRACKEN, farmer and fruit grower, Section 22, P. O. Sunnydale, is the son of Robert and Catharine McCracken. Was born in 1826, in Allegheny County, Pa., and in 1853, married Miss Mary Lindsey. Mr. McCracken removed to Illinois where he resided for many years, and came to Kansas in the fall of 1872 and located the following spring. Of his 270 acres the greater part has been improved, and while devoting considerable attention to agriculture he has made a specialty of fruit raising.
His orchard contains 25,000 peach, 3,500 apple, 3,000 cherry, 1,000 pear and about 500 plum trees, while ten acres are devoted to raising choice varieties of berries and other small fruits. Flora, too, has been remembered, there being in addition to other flowers at least forty varieties of the rose, while throughout the entire farm evergreens and other ornamental shrubs are tastefully interspersed so as to blend in one harmonious whole, while at a short distance from his residence he has a fish- pond well stocked with German carp.
His residence, which was erected in 1879, at a cost of $4,000, is one of the finest in the county. Although now possessing one of the finest fruit farms in the State, Mr. McCracken had from the first to contend with many difficulties; having naturally a taste for horticulture, he determined from his first location here to establish such a farm as he now has. At great labor and expense he had in 1874 made considerable progress when the grasshoppers destroyed all his trees, thus entailing upon him a loss of $4,000; but nothing daunted, he determined to succeed in his undertaking and replanting the following spring, his industry was rewarded three years later by selling $2,200 worth of fruit in the short space of three months.
In 1879 he sold $5,000 worth of fruit. He has never since had a failure of his crop, thus showing what may be attained by industry, perseverance and patience, assisted by the fertile soil and genial climate of Kansas. Mr. McCracken is a member of the Horticultural Society, which meets monthly at his house. He is also a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is a liberal-minded, public-spirited and enterprising citizen. He has contributed towards building five different churches. The money which he extends in charity amounts to hundreds of dollars annually, while he has ever evinced a warm and active interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community.