Samuel Cunningham

SAMUEL CUNNINGHAM, There is something ennobling and elevating in the occupation of farming. It is a sordid temperament, indeed, that can commune with Nature in all her varied moods, and not be influenced to live a pure and virtuous life. It is for this reason that the agricultural class is the salvation of the nation. The close association of men in the larger centers of population has a tendency to make them mercenary and selfish, but a life-time on the farm is almost certain to bring out the best traits in a man's character. Cherokee County is no whit behind the sisterhood of counties in Kansas in the possession of a solid and morally correct body of yeomanry, and as one of the best examples of these it is our pleasure to present the brief record of the career of Samuel Cunningham, residing at present on an 80-acre farm in section 1, township 33, range 23, in Salamanca township.

Carroll County, Ohio, was the birthplace of Mr. Cunningham, and the date of his birth was June 14, 1843. He is of Irish extraction, his parents, Matthew and Sarah (Walkup) Cunningham, having been natives of County Tyrone, Ireland. Some time after their marriage, they came to America, stopping for several years in Philadelphia; thence they went to Carroll County, Ohio, where they spent the rest of their lives engaged in farming. They reared but three children. Of these, Mary is the wife of Robert Logan, of Shelby County, Ohio, while John is a farmer in his native county.

Samuel Cunningham came to man's estate amid scenes common to life on a farm in his time, securing a fair education in the rather indifferent schools of his day. When he became his own master, he learned the trade of blacksmith, and followed it for a number of years in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, before coming to Kansas. It was in the spring of 1884 that Mr. Cunningham came to the county. With the intention of "trucking-' he purchased a 10-acre tract a mile south of Columbus, and pursued that occupation until about five years ago, when he moved to his present location. He had purchased this farm some years previously, but had continued to reside on the smaller tract. He is engaged in diversified farming, and with good success.

Mr. Cunningham is a veteran of the Civil War, that fratricidal struggle finding him a boy yet in his teens. He enlisted as a private soldied in his home county in 1862, going out in Company I, 98th Reg., Ohio Vol. Inf. This regiment became part of the 14th Army Corps, and saw service in the Middle West and in the South. His first action was at the bloody battle of Perryville, his last at Jonesboro, Georgia, although he continued with General Sherman in his famous "March to the Sea." His service covered a period of three years. He was mustered out at Cleveland, Ohio, June 5, 1865. He received no serious wounds, but the rigorous life of the campaigns left him in an impaired state of health. He returned home with the satisfaction of having done his duty, but glad indeed to "turn his sword into the pruning hook of peace."

Mr. Cunningham has twice entered the matrimonial state. The wife of his youth was Charity Leckner, of Malvern, Ohio, the marriage taking place in 1868. She died in 1873, leaving two children,—Annie, who married Elmer Unum, and lives in Darke County, Ohio; and Alice, who married John Fishley, and is now deceased. Mr. Cunningham's present wife was before marriage Catherine McClure, of Ohio. To her have been born three children, namely: William, a telegraph operator in Texas, who is married; Robert, residing at Gardiner, Johnson County, Kansas; and Margaret, who lives at home.

Mr. Cunningham and his family are worthy members of the Presbyterian Church, and in a social way he holds membership in the Grand Army of the Republic, John A. Dix Post, No. 59, of Columbus. Politically, he is a stanch Republican.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Kendall Wolin, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 05-01-1997


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