Tag Archives: John Cunningham

1808 Will of James Cunningham of Breckinridge County

Breckinridge County, Kentucky

Will Book 1, Pages 3-4

Will of James Cunningham

In the name of God, amen.  I, James Cunningham, of the County of Breckinridge and State of Kentucky, being sick and weak in body but of sound mind and memory, but growing old in age, and well knowing the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death, do make this my last will and testament.  First of all, my soul I leave to the mercy of God, my body to the earth from whence it came.

Item.  The land whereon I now live, containing two hundred acres by survey, I leave to the support of my well beloved wife, Jany Cunningham, should she survive me, and during her widowhood and should she survive me, at her death it is my will and desire that the above land to be divided in the following manner between my two sons, Matthew Cunningham and John Cunningham.  To Matthew Cunningham I leave that part of the above two hundred acres of land included in the following bounds to wit.  Beginning at the mouth of a spring branch that breaks out on the south ride of the ridge that divides the two improvements of said land and

returning up the said spring branch to the head, including the spring and running on to the top of the ridge and then with the top of the ridge to the lower line of said land.  The residue of said two hundred acres of land I leave to John Cunningham and should John or Matthew Cunningham die without issue it is my will and desire that my son William Cunningham should have the part of the land I have given to them.

Item.  My personal estate I divide in the following manner after paying all my just debts and paying my funeral expenses, it is my will and desire that it be equally divided among my surviving children at my death or the death of my wife should she survive me.  My personal estate, should my wife survive me, is to remain in her possession during her life or during her widowhood.  I do nominate, constitute and appoint my son, Andrew Cunningham, Joseph Cunningham and William Levi my executors and revoking all other wills do make this my last will and testament.  In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty-sixth day of March eighteen hundred and eight.

James Cunningham

Teste.  William Levi, John Tharp, Christopher Stone

At a County Court held for Breckinridge County on Monday the 15th day of May 1809.

The within writing purporting to be the last will and testament of James Cunningham, deceased, was proven by the oaths of John Tharp and Christopher Stone, witnesses thereto and sworn to by William Levi, executor and ordered to be recorded.

Attest. John Allen, Clerk

John Cunningham, Sr. Biography

Scan032 1When I posted the biography of John Cunningham a week or so ago, I thought it was this gentleman, but fortunately realized my mistake before I added this photo!  Both father and son are interesting!  This Mr. Cunningham owned a horse named Woodpecker.  Did a little research and found he was chestnut stallion, sired by Herod through Miss Ramsden.  Isn’t the internet wonderful?  You can even find bloodlines of thoroughbred horses!  Genealogy for horses!

from The History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky, by Perrin, 1882

Bourbon County

John Cunningham, deceased, whose portrait appears in this work, may be truthfully said to have been one of the representative men of Bourbon County. He was born June 15, 1795, in Hardy County, Virginia. His parents were Robert and Mary Robinson Cunningham, both of whom were natives of the Old Dominion. Robert was born September 15, 1775. Robert was a son of John Cunningham, a native of Ireland, who immigrated to Virginia prior to the Revolution. Robert was a participant in the Whisky Rebellion of 1794, and served as major; his sword is yet in the hands of grandchildren here in Clintonville. He came to Kentucky in 1796, embarking at Wheeling in a flat boat, and settled on Strode’s Creek, in Clark County. To him were born John, Belinda, Jesse, Abner, Lucinda, Isaac, Jemima, Maria and Mary. John and Abner settled in Bourbon County; Jesse, Isaac and Maria settled in Clark County; Maria became the wife of Andrew Hume; Elizabeth, wife of John Flourney, of Scott County; Mary, of George Carlysle, of Woodford County; Isaac became the father of twenty-three children, but one of the number came to maturity, Rebecca, who married Isaac Vanmeter, of Clark County. John Cunningham, the subject of these lines, was married December 27, 1817, to Mary Bean, a native of this state. She was born September 22, 1796, on Strode’s Creek, in Clark County. She is the daughter of John Bean, and Eva, daughter of Dr. Peter Sensine, a native of Ireland. Mr. Cunningham removed to Bourbon County in 1818, where he spent the greater portion of his life. He was truly a representative man of his time. His early advantages for acquiring an education were very meager, but he made the best of his advantages and studied, and read much. Being a close and steady thinker, a liberal patron of good books, and the public journals, he became at length a well-informed man of the locality. He engaged successfully in farming; was a large land-holder at the time of his death; was very methodical and exact in his farming operations, building fence of the most durable character, stone being his choice, of which he has left many monuments in this line. He did much to encourage the breeding and growth of fine stock – horses seemed his favorite class. He gave especial attention to them, and owned the noted horse “Woodpecker”. He served as a soldier in the War of 1812, and was a warm and ardent admirer of Henry Clay. From 1833 to 1850 he served as Justice of the Peace; in 1853 he began handling short horns, and continued in this interest up to the time of his death. In 1833 he was chosen to represent his county in the legislature, re-elected in 1839, and to the Senate in 1851, ‘2, ‘3 and ‘4. In all matters that pertained to the good of the Commonwealth, John Cunningham ever bore a prominent part; he largely encouraged the building of railroads and pikes; he was free-hearted and unselfish in his aims and purposes, and labored for the good of his county and country generally, and at his death he was mourned as one beloved by all; he passed away peacefully, August 17, 1864. His wife yet survives him on the homestead, upon which lives John and Naomi; Robert and Lewis on farms adjoining.

John Cunningham Biography

I love reading the stories of the early settlers who came to Kentucky in the days when the journey was perilous!  I marvel at how they not only survived the trip, but flourished in the new land!  True pioneers!

from History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky, Perrin, 1882

Bourbon County, Kentucky

John Cunningham, farmer; P.O. Paris.  John Cunningham is of Irish descent.  His great-grandfather came from the Emerald Isle and settled in Virginia some time in the early part of the last century.  He had a son Robert, who, impressed with the advantages to be found in a new and rapidly developing country, determined to try his fortunes in Kentucky, toward which the tide of emigration was rapidly flowing.  Accordingly taking passage on a flat boat at Wheeling, he set out for “the dark and bloody ground” for the mastery of which civilization and savage fury was yet contending.  The voyage was a perilous one.  Simon Girty, with his Indian warriors kept watch from either bank of the Ohio, and whenever their frail craft drifted near the shore the sharp report of a rifle was sure to break in upon the scene.  finally, after many adventures the boat arrived at Limestone, as Maysville was then called.  From Maysville he went to Clark County and settled.  Here in 1795 was born to him a son, John Cunningham, who was destined to act a prominent part in the early days of Bourbon County.  He served for many years a Magistrate, and in 1833 was elected to the Legislature, and served until 1840 – a period of seven years.  He represented his district in the State Senate one term, 1851-55.  He was a noted turf-man, and owned among other horses the celebrated Woodpecker, who will be recalled in connection with the great race with Grey Eagle.  He married Mary Bean, daughter of John Bean, of Clark County, who still lives in vigorous mind and health at the green old age of eighty-six years, and sits at the head of the table (beneath the same roof) where she began house-keeping more than sixty years ago.  She is the mother of six living children:  Robert John, James, Louis, William, George and Naomi.  John Cunningham inherited many of the qualities which made his father distinguished.  He is a man of strong common sense, keen discrimination and unswerving honesty.  He has served on the Board of Magistrates for twenty years, and by his vigilant care of the public money has earned the soubriquet of the “Watch Dog of the Treasury”.  He was born the 15th of August, 1820, and resides with his aged mother in the house where he was born.  He owns 140 acres of land and gives his attention to farming and breeding short-horn cattle.  His herd, which was founded in 1851, now contains about thirty-five animals at the head of which is the Second Roan Duke of Oneida; it contains representatives of most of the popular families.  In politics Mr. Cunningham is a staunch Democrat of the Jackson type.