William L. Cunningham, a successful attorney of Arkansas City and a former state representative, is a native Kansan, having been born on a farm near Topeka, Dec. 24, 1876. He is the son of E. L. Cunningham and wife, whose maiden name was Julia Kennell. The father, a native of Ohio, is a well known and respected citizen of Shawnee county, Kansas, and he and his wife reside near Topeka on the same farm which he purchased upon his removal to this state in 1867. The paternal grandfather of our subject was also a native of Ohio and that branch of the Cunningham family to which he belonged was first established in this country by an immigrant of that name who settled here prior to the Revolutionary war. Members of the Cunningham family were soldiers in the patriot army during the Revolution.
William L. Cunningham was reared a farmer boy and received his common school education in Shawnee county. He completed his literary education at Washburn College, Topeka, and was graduated from that institution in 1898. For two years following his graduation he engaged in teaching school and in the meantime studied law with John Guthrie of Topeka as his preceptor. Upon his admission to the bar in January, 1901, he went to Arkansas City and there became a law partner of C. T. Atkinson, with whom he practiced two years. He then practiced alone sometime and had served three years as deputy county attorney of Cowley county before he formed apartnership with Albert Faulconer. Mr. Cunningham has been admitted to practice in both the state and United States courts and has a general practice. He began at the very bottom of the ladder in his professional career but by unwearying industry and the use of a competent legal knowledge he has won a large and remunerative practice and an enviable reputation as an able and successful lawyer. In 1906 he entered Kansas public life as a member of the state legislature and for two consecutive terms was actively engaged in securing constructive legislation, and in connection with these policies of far-reaching importance his name will certainly endure. He served as chairman of the Republican caucus; was a member of the committee on ways and means; a member of the judiciary committee, both local and special; and a member of the committee on banks and bankers which framed the present bank guarantee deposit law of Kansas. He also served as speaker pro tem of the house.
In 1903 Mr. Cunningham married Miss Leola Bellamy, who was a teacher in the Arkansas City schools at that time. The father of Mrs. Cunningham was a veteran of the Civil war who removed from Illinois to Kansas and died in the latter state. Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham have one son, William, born July 28, 1906. They are members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Arkansas City.Pages 1356-1357 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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