Mr James Hollen Bracken was born on 8 September 1881 in Beaver Dam, Ohio County, Kentucky.
He was son of William B. Bracken (1841-1921), a farmer and Union Civil War veteran, and Sarah Ann Morris (1853-1898), natives of Tennessee and Kentucky respectively who were married in 1866 when the latter was just 13.
He had six siblings: Mary Jane (1868-1946, later Mrs Grafton Willoughby), Amanda Ann Frances (1873-1934, later Mrs Neafue and later Mrs Thomas Hall), Leanora (b. 1875), Joseph Frank (b. 1879), Herman (b. 1885) and Bertha (1890-1918, later Mrs J. V. Sarvela).
Just prior to his birth James' family were listed on the 1880 census as residents of Cromwell, Ohio, Kentucky. James' mother died on 28 March 1898 and his father never remarried and the family were shown on the 1900 census at an address in Central City, Muhlenberg, Kentucky; James was not present with them and instead was recorded living with his childless uncle and aunt Asa and Eliza Bracken in Hale, Texas. He was described as still being at school at this point.
He was married in 1907 to Addie C. Greathouse; Addie was born on 9 June 1881 in San Saba County, Texas, the daughter of Archibald Donohue Greathouse and Sarah Ann Jackson.
On 16 April 1910, James and Addie lived in Lake Arthur, Chaves County, New Mexico where James was working as a house carpenter. They were attempting to patent the N ½ of the SW ¼ of Section 2 and the N ½ of the SE ¼ of Section 3 in Township 13 South, Range 25 East of the New Mexico Meridian, totalling 160 acres.
James was working as a stockman and sailed to Europe on a buying trip in 1912, staying in London at the end of his time abroad. He boarded the Titanic as a second class passenger for the return home, paying £13 for his ticket (#220367). Nothing is known about his activities on the ship.
James Bracken died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
Afterwards the American Red Cross established a trust fund for his widow Addie, who was living on the New Mexico homestead with her elderly mother. There had been no life insurance and Addie told the Red Cross that James had been carrying between $3,000 and $4,000 in cash. The Red Cross established a trust fund for her and she had received $108.74 from other sources. Family members would later state that Addie had refused to take the Red Cross money.
Addie received the title for her land on 25 June 1913 from the Roswell, New Mexico General Land Office.
Addie went to live with her sister Lilly Boyd and her family in El Paso, Texas in 1918. A few years later she moved on to her sister Belle Greenwood’s family home in Carbon, Texas. She was living in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas in 1928. The City Directory for that year indicates she was a machine operator for the Fort Worth Tent & Awning Company and that she lived at 416 S. Jennings Avenue. In April 1940, Addie (listed as Bonnie Bracken) was living at 3031 Avenue G in Fort Worth. She rented her home for $8 a month.
Addie reportedly was visiting family in the 1930s and when she left she vowed to her family that they would never see her again. Her family asked the American Red Cross to locate her, but they were never successful. She was apparently living in a convalescent home in Fort Worth towards the end of her life.
Addie died from myocardial infarction on 31 May 1969 at Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas. The informant on her death certificate was the American Red Cross. She was buried in the Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park in Fort Worth.