Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm. Scanned from a copy held by the State Library of Kansas.
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J.V. Cunningham is one of those intelligent farmers and stockmen with whom it is a pleasure to converse. He came from Daviess county, Missouri, - where he had farmed from 1857 to 1883 - to Cloud county, and bought the farm he now owns and lives on in Lyon township. He is a native of Belfast, Highland county, Ohio, born in 1836, and a son of William M. and Sarah Ann (White) Cunningham. His father was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, in the year 1808. He was a farmer and stockman by occupation, and when quite a young man he moved to Ohio. After a short residence in Gallia county he settled in Highland county, and in 1857 emigrated to Daviess county, Missouri, where he died in 1875.

J.V. Cunningham's paternal grandfather and great-grandfather emigrated from the Emerald Isle to America in 1778, but were taken back by the British. They returned in 1784, and settled in Pennsylvania, and subsequently in Ohio, where they spent the remainder of their lives. Mr. Cunningham remembers having attended both of their funerals. His grandfather enlisted in the war of 1812, but was rejected for nearsightedness. He was born in 1772, and died in 1854 at the age of seventy-two years. His great-grandfather, who died at the age of one hundred and four, was born in Scotland in 1740, and died in 1844.

Mr. Cunningham's maternal ancestry were also of Scotch origin. His maternal grandfather was a Caldwell, and was with the Cunninghams when they were returned by the British. Both families came later and settled at Belfast, Ohio, an Irish and Scotch settlement. Almost the entire population of this vicinity are descendants of these colonists. His grandfather White's homestead was purchased by the county to be used as an asylum for the poor and has become one of the most noted institutions of this kind in southern Ohio.

Mr. Cunningham received his early education in the old log school house near his home in Ohio and began his early career by learning the painter's trade. At the age of twenty-two he began farming, which he has followed ever since. He served his country in the late war and was one of Company D, Twenty-seventh Missouri Infantry, enlisting in 1862, and was in active service for two years. He was in the division of the Western army, and participated in the battles of Vicksburg and Chattanooga. Near the close of the war he fell sick and was discharged for disability. Mr. Cunningham is one of the few who never received nor made application for a pension.

He was married in 1872, to Ebrala Frances Severe, a daughter of John D. Severe, a farmer of Daviess county, Missouri, formerly of Knox county. Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham are the parents of an engaging family of nine children, six girls and three boys, viz.: Charlie O., Annie B., Orda A., Ora S., Maud M., Jessie E., Erma E., Mary L., and Ruth.

Mr. Cunningham's farm consists of two hundred and eighty acres, upon which he raises hogs extensively and keeps an average herd of one hundred and fifty head of native cattle. They have considerable fruit of a great many varieties, and a fine orchard that yields regularly and abundantly.

Mr. Cunningham was a Democrat, but in recent years has affiliated with the Populist party in Daviess county, Missouri he served as under sheriff and assessor. He has held the office of treasurer of Lyon township and is the present justice of the peace. He and his estimable family are members of the Church of Christ, of the New Range Line organization, which convenes in the school building of district No. 56. He is a prominent member of Glasco Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.