|Birth: ||Jun., 1850|
|Death: ||Jan. 3, 1911|
San Francisco County
ALEXANDER MCCRACKIN (sometimes erroneously spelled McCracken), a descendant of a Scotch-Irish immigrant and Revolutionary War soldier named Andrew Sharp (of Cumberland, Pennsylvania), was born in Indiana, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, (some records say Iowa) in 1850. The family migrated from Pennsylvania to Iowa at some point after he was born. During the Civil War, he was a cabin boy on a gunboat commanded by a Captain Wells, on the lower Mississippi, in 1863 and 1864. He was selected as a Midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, on 7/27/1866 and graduated on 6/7/1870. McCrackin left Boston, Massachusetts on ship after graduation for the East, visiting France, Italy, Egypt and other countries. Subsequently he was in the coast survey on the Gulf of Mexico and lower Mississippi River. In 1877 he was sent to the coast of South America, and returned in November, 1879. At some point prior to 1880, while still the rank of Master, he served aboard the USS HARTFORD.
In 1880 McCrackin was appointed as one of the instructors in mathematics at the Naval Academy at Annapolis. From 1890 to November 1891 he was on duty in the Bureau of Ordnance in charge of designing turrets and gun mounts for heavy guns. From November 1891 to October 1892, McCrackin was on duty aboard the USS MIANTONOMOAH of the North Atlantic station. From October 1892 to June 1894 he served as navigator on the USS MARION in the Asiatic Fleet. In September, 1894, McCrackin returned to the US Naval Academy as head of the Department of Ordnance and Gunnery until 1897. He was on duty here and took leave to travel to San Francisco to marry his fiance, Bell McPherson. Later in 1897 he was commander of the practice steamer STANDISH and then transferred to be the executive officer of the USS MARIETTA. The MARIETTA joined with the USS OREGON in a trip from the Orient to the West Indies, and in 1899 McCrackin was the executive officer of the OREGON. He commanded a landing party from the OREGON that engaged Philippine insurgents and captured the town of Vigan. The commander of the OREGON, Captain Wilde, reported that "Liet. Comdr. McCrackin commanded battalion from ship...that captured and occupied Vigan; duty performed in a most successful and gratifying manner." From July to December 1900 he was on duty aboard the receiving ship USS INDEPENDENCE. From December 1900 to 1903 he was ordnance officer of the Navy Yard and Station at Mare Island, California.
On March 5,1904 McCrackin served as the first commander of the new USS DES MOINES after its keel was laid in that year. With the DES MOINES, he sailed over 20,000 miles up and down both sides of the United States as well as in the Mediterranean and the West Indies. Records show McCrackin was also the commander of the USS WEST VIRGINIA and in 1898 temporarily commander of the USS MONADNOCK.
McCrackin was the author of "Desertion and the Bertillon System for the Identification of Persons" [Annapolis, Md. U.S. Naval Institute, 1890]. This text is still found in many school and law libraries as well as on the internet.
McCrackin was promoted to Ensign on 7/13/1871 and to the rank of Master on 9/25/1873. He made Lieutenant on 1/13/1879, Lieutenant Commander on 11/15/1898 and Commander on 4/14/1901.
McCrackin married Belle Fitzhugh McPherson on 7/24/1895 in San Francisco, California. They married in her father's home. Belle was considerably younger than McCrackin as she was only 43 or 44 years old when he died in 1911. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1870 to Dr. Maynard and Mary P. (Fitzhugh) McPherson. Belle was very active in San Francisco society circles after she and McCrackin moved there. Not only was she active in her Episcopalian church work, she was also involved in women's suffrage, Colonial Dames Resident in State of California, the United Daughters of Confederacy, Town and Country Club of San Francisco, Y.W.C.A., Drama League, Channing Auxiliary, Army and Navy League, Navy Relief and something called the Rest Room for Business Women. The wedding announcement published in the San Francisco Chronicle on 7/25/1895 reported the wedding was a small affair with the bride's family and a few of her girlfriends in attendance. The Reverend Robert Walk, Rector of the Trinity Church, officiated and the maid of honor was Belle's cousin, Miss Anna Hall. A Mr. R. P. Schwerin served as the best man. The article noted that the bride was "gowned in heavy corded white silk". The article ended by saying they would spend a few days together in San Francisco, then return to Annapolis.
One child, was born to their union, Isabelle McCrackin, on 5/21/1896. She died in the Alta Bates Sanitarium in Berkeley, California at age 18, on 4/15/1915 from injuries suffered in an accident.
Commodore Alexander McCrackin earned the following VERIFIED badges and decorations for his service to our country during his 40-plus years in the United States Navy:
- Civil War Medal for Naval Service (#154)
- Spanish American War Campaign Medal
- Spanish Campaign Medal for Naval Service
- Philippine Campaign Medal #321
- West Indies campaign Medal(#542)
- Loyal Legion Badge (#10803)
William McCrackin (1801 - 1857)
Mary E Ralston McCrackin (1808 - 1888)
Isabella Fitzhugh McPherson McCrackin Cambron (1870 - 1955)
Isabelle McPherson McCrackin (1897 - 1915)*
David Ralston McCrackin (1834 - 1890)*
Mary A McCrackin (1838 - 1906)*
William Wallace McCrackin (1842 - 1913)*
Eliza Mitchell McCrackin (1847 - 1926)*
Alexander D. McCrackin (1850 - 1911)
Note: Per N Gray Funeral Records, McCrackin was cremated at the IOOF Cemetery and the ashes conveyed to Cypress Lawn Cemetery for interment in a niche or vault.
Cypress Lawn Memorial Park
San Mateo County
Plot: Section D- Lot 274- Grave # 4
Created by: Rick Lawrence
Record added: Jan 17, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 103696052