This is a summary
of the Ebenzer John Cunningham family, as submitted to the Jonesborough
Genealogical Society, August 2004. Please let me know if any
errors are found! Pat Sabin - email@example.com or
firstname.lastname@example.org. (Please note that my patsabin.com domain is
being phased out.
EBENEZER JOHN CUNNINGHAM
in Augusta County,
Virginia in 1768,
to the Limestone area of Washington
County, Tennessee. In 1799, 160 acres on Little Limestone Creek
were transferred from James Cunningham to Ebenezer John Cunningham,
part of the
original 320 acres deeded by Robert Gentry to Hugh Cunningham and James
Cunningham in 1790.
married Martha Laird Blair,
daughter of John Blair and Martha Laird, who had migrated from northern
Ireland to Pennsylvania,
and then to Washington County, Tennessee.
and Martha Cunningham had six
children: Samuel Blair Cunningham,
“Jenny” Cunningham, John Whitfield Cunningham, Alexander Newton
William Madison Cunningham, and Martha Roe Cunningham.
Three of their sons became Presbyterian
John Cunningham died after
his will was written, March 5,
, and Martha Blair Cunningham died November 8, 1823. It is possible that they are buried at the Old Salem
at Washington College, but this is not confirmed.
Martha Blair Cunningham’s will,
she designates, “all worldly property to support my 3 youngest children
Alexander Newton Cunningham; 2. William Madison Cunningham; 3. Martha
Cunningham until they be taught and educated.”
Cunningham, the oldest
child, was born in Limestone, Tennessee
on October 9, 1797. He graduated from Washington
College, and studied
the instruction of Dr. David Nelson, and earned his medical degree from
He became one of the earliest physicians
surgeons of Jonesborough, Tennessee.
On August 18, 1824, Dr.
Cunningham married Lucinda Doak
Galbreath in Greene County, Tennessee. Their first child, Martha Ellen Cunningham,
was born August 3, 1825
Jonesborough. She married Dr. William
Robertson Sevier. She died April 15, 1862, and is
buried in the Old Jonesboro
second child of Dr. and Mrs. S.
B. Cunningham was Samuel Alexander
Cunningham, born 1834 in Jonesborough. Samuel
A. Cunningham married Alice Nelson, daughter of Thomas A. R. Nelson. He
died March 17, 1905
in Chattanooga, TN,
and, according his obituary, both are
buried in the Old Jonesboro
third child was Sarah Jane
Cunningham, born June 14, 1836
in Jonesborough. On June 2, 1863, she married Rev. Dr. Nathan
Presbyterian minister. She died July 26, 1864 and is buried in the Old
Dr. Bachman later served,
minister of the Second Presbyterian Church in Jonesborough. Cornelius
Cunningham, the fourth child of Samuel B. Cunningham, was born about
Jonesborough. He married Lillian Morris,
and died about 1915 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
B. Cunningham was one of the
first and most diligent supporters of the East Tennessee
& Virginia railroad
original charter in 1848 until its completion in 1858, and he became
In 1840, Dr. Cunningham
home on Main Street
he called “Afton Hall.” It was later
owned by members of the Dosser and Broyles families, as well as several
others. Now known as the
Cunningham-Clayton House, it is on Jonesborough’s historic walking tour.
Cunningham, first wife of
S. B. Cunningham, died May 4, 1844. She
is believed to be buried at the Old
On January 22, 1846, Dr.
Cunningham married Ann Davis
Foster, the widow of Rev. Stephen Foster. They
had four children together, all of them dying in
childhood or young
adulthood. Their daughter, Sophia Moody
Cunningham, married Presbyterian minister, Calvin Duncan, who served
for a time
in Jonesborough and for many years was director of Maryville College. They had one child who died in infancy. Sophie died the same year. Samuel
B. Cunningham died in Jonesborough September 4, 1867, and Ann
Foster Cunningham October
21, 1894. They are buried
beside their four children and
grandchild in the Old Jonesboro
Cunningham’s will of 1856
describes his home at that time as “dwelling and lots where we now live
on Main Street
bounded by Genl. Jackson on the east and by
Wm. Maxwell on the west adjoin lot bounded by Genl. Jackson Chestnut
Street.” From the May 2, 1872
and Tribune: “house on corner near
the Methodist Episcopal Church occupied by the late Dr. Cunningham for
years prior to his death is being torn down.”
“Jenny” Cunningham was born in Washington County,
Tennessee January 22, 1799. On May
married cousin James McLin in Washington
County. Rev. McLin
served as the
president of Washington College
had eight children: Martha Ann McLin,
born Feb. 11, 1822;
Alexander McLin, born May 27,
James McCord McLin, born October
1, 1826; Samuel Cunningham McLin, born November 9, 1829; Newton Beacher McLin,
born Oct. 9,
1832; Elizabeth Roe McLin, born March
16, 1835; James B. McLin, born Oct. 9,
1837; Deaderick B. McLin, born Feb. 14,
McLin and his son, James McCord McLin, died
in Cassville, Bartow County, Georgia,
May 11, 1848.
On January 29,
1856, Jane Cunningham
married cousin William Kelsey Blair. It
is believed that Jane and William K. Blair are buried in Abington,
Whitfield Cunningham was born around 1802 in Washington
County, Tennessee. He was graduated from Washington
College, and studied
medicine in Abington, Virginia,
but later decided to become a
minister. He studied theology at Princeton,
graduating in 1829.
20, 1831, he married
Elizabeth Sevier, daughter of Valentine Sevier of Greeneville. After three years in Hanover,
Indiana, teaching and
managing a small
church there, Rev. and Mrs. Cunningham returned to Jonesborough,
Tennessee, where he served
as pastor of the
Presbyterian church for eleven years.
year at the Presbyterian church in Knoxville,
Dr. Cunningham accepted the pastorate of the Presbyterian church at La
Porte, Indiana, where he
remained fifteen years. He was appointed
home missionary agent for the state of Indiana
by the American Home Missionary Society, and he continued that work
when he removed to Illinois.
Whitfield Cunningham and Elizabeth Sevier Cunningham had six children: Jane I.
Cunningham (died young);
Nancy Jane Cunningham, born 1834 in Indiana
or Tennessee, died Oct. 21, 1909, Minneapolis,
MN. ; John Valentine, born 1835 in Jonesborough, TN,
died Naperville, Illinois Aug. 23, 1867; Catherine Mitchell Cunningham,
March 17, 1837 in Jonesborough, TN, d. ; William Alexander Cunningham,
April 1841 (died 1842, buried in the Old Harmony Cemetery, Greene Co,
Lucinda “Lucy” Isabel Cunningham, b. Mar. 15, 1844 in Jonesborough,
is the only child of this
couple who had children. She married
Presbyterian minister, William Clay Porter, in Naperville,
For many years, he served as minister of the
Presbyterian chuch in Fort Scott, Kansas. She died Feb. 7, 1909. The
Porter family is buried in the Naperville
Dr. Cunningham accepted a call to serve the First Congregational Church
Naperville, Illinois, which was to be his last church. He died February 8,
Elizabeth Cunningham died June 14, 1882. They are buried
with their children in the Naperville
Cemetery, Naperville, DuPage
SIDE NOTE: Our
great-grandmother, Nannie Leila Sevier, lived with Dr. and Mrs. John W.
Cunningham while she was attended Northwestern College (now North
Central College) in Naperville, Illinois. She was in the first
graduating class in Naperville in 1875. Elizabeth Sevier Cunningham was
Nannie's aunt (her father's sister). Dr. Cunningham was Nannie's
great-uncle (her mother's uncle).
ALEXANDER NEWTON CUNNINGHAM, DD
child of Ebenezer John Cunningham and Martha Blair Cunningham,
Cunningham, was born in Washington County,
on March 16, 1807. He was graduated from Washington
College, and entered
Seminary in 1830.
ordained by the Presbytery
of South Alabama in 1833, and subsequently served churches in Montgomery,
and Aberdeen, Mississippi
(his last church). In 1863
he volunteered as chaplain and
labored in the hospitals at Montgomery, Alabama.
Cunningham married August 7th, 1834, Miss
Margaretta A. Eason, daughter of John
Goodman Eason of Washington
They had the following children: Julia
Cunningham, born about 1837; Louisa
Cunningham, born Dec. 1, 1838 in
Augusta, Georgia; William Cunningham, b. about 1841; Margaretta
about 1844; Alexander N. Cunningham,
Jr., born about 1849; Frederick Cunningham, born August 1852 in
Tennessee; Charles Cunningham, born about 1855; Frances Alexana
born Feb. 18, 1848 in Franklin, TN.
of heart disease March 22, 1877 in Aberdeen, Mississippi. Dr. Cunningham died September
5, 1878 in Franklin, Tennessee while visiting his daughter
and her family.
Madison Cunningham, the fifth child of Ebenezer John and Martha Blair
Cunningham, was born in Washington County,
Tennessee, June 28, 1809. He appears in the Federal Census of
Princeton Seminary and served in the Presbyterian church in Lewisburg,
Virginia in the early 1830s. On August
28, 1835, he married Ann Elizabeth Withrow of Greenbrier, Virginia
(now in West Virginia). It is believed that W. M. Cunningham’s first
two children were born from this marriage: Sarah
R. Cunningham, born 1836, died Troup County,
Georgia, 1842; and
Ann E. Cunningham, born around 1839.
William M. Cunningham married Martha J. White in Lexington, Virginia.
Cunningham served as pastor of
the First Presbyterian Church in LaGrange, Troup
from 1841 until his death, March
3, 1870, and is mentioned several times in the History
of Troup County, Georgia. The
year before his death he had been elected President of Oglethorpe
but declined the honor. He was in the process of trying to get
to move Oglethorpe College to LaGrange.
William M. Cunningham
White Cunningham had seven children, all born in LaGrange,
Georgia: Margaret E. Cunningham, b. 1843; Henry M.
Cunningham, b. 1845; Mary M. Cunningham, b. 1848; Irene W. Cunningham,
25, 1852; Ada L. Cunningham, b. 1853; Willie D. Cunningham (female), b.
Charles C. Cunningham, b. 1859.
Cunningham died in LaGrange, Georgia,
Feb. 2, 1870. Martha died September 9, 1887. They
are buried in the Hillview Cemetery,
(SIDE NOTE: In the last two years, we discovered that our mother's life
long friend from our brief two years in LaGrange GA in the early 1950s
is a descendant of Dr. W. M. Cunningham, and they met at the
Presbyterian Church in LaGrange. Small world!)
Cunningham was the youngest child of Ebenezer John and Martha Blair
Cunningham. She was born 1810 in Washington
married cousin, Robert Laird
Blair, at the home of her brother, Dr. Samuel B. Cunningham, in Jonesborough,
Tennessee, on November 1, 1838. Robert
L. Blair was the son of John Blair, Jr. and Susannah Kelsey.
Robert L. Blair and
Cunningham Blair had six children, all born in Jonesborough, Tennessee: Samuel Cunningham Blair, born August 18,
1839; John Nelson Blair, born 1842;
Florence Elizabeth Blair, born August 15, 1843;
Ella Jane Blair, born Nov. 1, 1846; William
K. Blair, born Aug. 9, 1847; Robert
Whitfield Blair, born Sept. 3, 1857.
died May 12, 1885. Martha died December
21, 1889. Both are buried in
the Old Jonesboro