Pages 563-565, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




WILLIAM CUNNINGHAM, ex-treasurer of Allen county, whose business engagements in these parts have spanned the period of a third of a century, was born on a farm in Alleghany county, Pennsylvania,


February 26, 1837. His father moved to Beaver county the next year, and from the common schools of the county William entered Beaver Academy, spending two years there and the succeeding year doing his first work as a teacher in the public schools. He graduated from the Iron City Commercial College, of Pittsburg, and filled the position of proof-reader and mailing clerk on the Presbyterian Banner and Advocate for two years. In this latter capacity he earned the funds which defrayed his expenses at the Western University of Pennsylvania two years, at the conclusion of which period he engaged in teaching school in Pittsburg. Pennsylvania, following it till the outbreak of the Rebellion.

In 1862 Mr. Cunningham enlisted in Battery G, Pennsylvania Artillery, served through the war and was discharged at Harrisburg in June, 1865. On returning to civil pursuits he took up work where he left off—in the Pittsburg public schools. In a few months he was elected principal of what is now the 23rd ward school of that city and was in that position when failing health forced his retirement from the school room. Travel seemed one thing which promised the restoration of his health and he secured the general agency for the publishing house of Sheldon & Company, of New York, with headquarters at St. Louis, Missouri. He passed the two years following in the business, traveling over Missouri and Kansas, introducing their school books into the public schools, and while at Sedalia, Missouri, met a very engaging schoolma'm who afterward became his wife.

February 15, 1871, our subject came to Allen county and stopped in Humboldt. The general bustle of business and the apparent thrift of the little city attracted him and he was at once possessed of serious intention of locating there. He made the acquaintance of Colonel S. H. Stevens then in the lumber business and at noon of the same day was installed as the latter's chief clerk and salesman. He remained in this business two years and, upon retiring went to the new county seat of Woodson county, Kalida, and engaged in mercantile pursuits. Grasshoppers destroyed not only the crops of the season following but destroyed Mr. Cunningham's prospects, as well, and he traded his goods for cattle and that winter spent his time profitably by teaching a country school in Woodson county. The following spring he became a full-fledged farmer and remained such until the new Citizens Lumber Company, of Humboldt, chose him to manage their yard there. When this company was absorbed by S. A. Brown in after years the subject hereof engaged in the grocery business in Humboldt, continuing it eight years, or until his election as County Treasurer.

Mr Cunningham has ever and always been noted for his intense Rpublicanism. His interest in things political began almost with his residence in Kansas and for many years he has been recognized as one of the active, honorable and judicious counselors of his party in local affairs. He was nominated for Treasurer of the county in 1887 and in November of that year he was elected by a large majority. He was elected two years later by a larger majority than before. His popularity as a public official grew with his service and his efficiency as such is unsurpassed. On leav-


ing the county seat in 1896 he returned to Humboldt and was identified with the Bank of Humboldt in a clerical capacity. December 3rd of that year he opened a lumber yard in Humboldt as the successor of J. P. Johnson and Leidigh & Huston. The firm of Mr. Cunningham and son is one of the prominent enterprises of the city.

In April, 1871, Mr. Cunningham was married to Miss Etta A. Phelps of Windsor, Missouri. Their only child is Arthur W. Cunningham, who was married May 1, 1901, to Mary I. Blackman.

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