Janice Williams

Newburg Cemetery Association

In Basic Family Information, Gravestones, Newburg Cemetery on March 31, 2014 at 10:20 pm

For a Tombstone Tuesday, let’s talk about all the tombstones of the Newburg Cemetery.

DSC01509

On March 22, 2014, I attended my first Newburg Cemetery Association Annual Meeting. It is held on the fourth Saturday of March every year and I encourage you to put it on the calendar for next year and try to attend.

The Newburg Cemetery has always been near and dear to me. Of course, James and Susannah Cunningham are buried there along with 4 of their children and many grandchildren and beyond. The first funeral I ever went to was conducted at the Newburg Cemetery when I was 6 years old. My great-grandmother Henrietta Cunningham Hallford was buried just a few rows to the east of James and Susannah (her grandparents).

The meeting of the association was more like a family reunion than anything formal. And it was a family reunion for me. The Cunninghams are my grandfather’s side of the family, but 5 members of my grandmother’s family were at the meeting and it was wonderful to see them (Couch family).

We had a good representation of the Cunningham family on hand, too, with the Perkins and Virginia Wood.

The meeting was held in the community building, which is owned by the cemetery association. This meeting is the only function held there now. I was thrilled to get to go inside it because I hadn’t been inside it since I was a little girl. My grandparents and their siblings all went to school there and my grandfather taught in that school building for a short time.

If you would like to make a donation to the upkeep of the cemetery, send me an email through this blog and I will get you the information. Currently the cemetery is well kept and the trees have been recently trimmed, but one of the historic rock walls needs some repairs.

Don’t be alarmed by the double crosses on the photo above. I used the panorama feature on the camera and sometimes that makes features duplicate. There is just one cross on Williams Cunningham’s grave.

Tombstone Tuesday: Erie Palestine Cunningham Ligon

In Abilene, Genealogy records, Gravestones, Second generation, Second Generation Stories, Tombstone Tuesday on January 7, 2014 at 10:05 am

LIGON_CUNNINGHAM_EriePalestine_THREEbw

Erie Palestine Cunningham was the youngest of the five children of John Valentine Cunningham. He was one of “Indian fighting” sons of Capt. James and Susannah Cunningham; the son who moved on to Taylor County to become their longest serving sheriff.

Erie had two older sisters and two older brothers.

C_JohnV_FAMILY_c_TWO_THREEb

Erie married Lewis Preston Ligon when she was 18 years old and he was 22. I have read that he was possibly a confectioner and brought that talent over from his family in France (that fact from his great-granddaughter Kim Frost England, cited on the web).

Erie and Lewis had 8 children, but the first died as a baby and the second as only a 4-year-old. But Erie must have had difficulty with the birth of her youngest, John James Ligon, because she died only a month later, at age 38. She is buried in the Abilene City Cemetery near her daughter, Irene, her husband, and her parents. 

We have lost touch with most of her descendants, but it appears that they mostly live in California, Washington, and Oregon now.

Abilene-20110102-00121b

Born: Feb. 22, 1876

Married: Nov. 20, 1894

Died: July 17, 1914

1913 Reunion

In Aaron, Abilene, Basic Family Information, Dave Cunningham, David Houston Cunningham, Elizabeth Holmsley, George Washington Cunningham, James Washington Cunningham, Mary Jane Neely, Newspaper articles, Original 12 Cunninghams, Photos, San Angelo, Sheriffs, T.J. Holmsley, William Henry on January 1, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Below is the transcription of an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about our family. This picture was also printed in the paper with the article.

Media0006

Cunninghams of Comanche Largest Family in This State; 400 Members

Nine Brothers and Three Sisters and their Offspring Hold Notable Reunion—Five Men Have Served as Sheriff in Various Counties

Special to the Star-Telegram

COMANCHE, Texas, Aug. 30—The largest family in Texas, the Cunninghams, 400 in number, held a reunion last week at the home of David Cunningham, south of here. It appeared more like a state convention. Many of the younger members had to be introduced to their relatives. Captain James and Susan Cunningham, the progenitors, have not been dead long. But the family is remarkable in other ways than number. Five Cunninghams, all brothers, have served as sheriffs in Texas. The five meet at a recent state convention of sheriffs.

George W. Cunningham of San Angelo claims to have been the first child born in Comanche county. G.A. Cunningham is now mayor of Comanche.

Capt. James Cunningham and his wife came from Alabama to Texas in 1842 and after a few years in Travis and Williamson counties, located permanently in Comanche county. This was in 1955. This section was then part of the “wild West” and settlers lived far apart.

Mr. and Mrs. T.J. Holmsley were the first couple married in this county, this taking place in 1876. Holmsley was formerly Miss Bettie Cunningham, daughter of Captain Cunningham.

Jack Cunningham is the present sheriff of Comanche county. The Cunninghams had twelve children, nine sons and three daughters. These now have children and grandchildren of their own. They may be found in the picture as follows: Bottom row, left to right, Aaron Cunningham, Comanche; Mrs. T.J. Holmsley, Comanche; D. H. Cunningham, Comanche; R.T. Cunningham, Comanche; J.V. Cunningham, Huntsville; W. H. Cunningham, Newberg; J.W. Cunningham, Comanche; J.J. Cunningham, Pridy; T.A. Cunningham, Newberg; G. W. Cunningham, San Angelo; Mrs. J. M. Neeley, Spur; Mrs. J.R. Lewis, Brownwood.

————————————

I have a Xerox copy of a copy of this article in my possession, taken from a wonderful trove of family history saved by William Aaron Cunningham, Sr., the grandson of Aaron Cunningham, the father of Betty Mitchell and Nancy Satterfield that you may know from the reunion. Grandfather of Scott Olguin and Amy Pownall who are always with us in August.

The article says that 5 Cunningham men were sheriffs. Three served as sheriff of Comanche County:  Dave, Bill, and James.  John Valentine Cunningham was sheriff of Taylor County (Abilene) for many years. George was the first sheriff elected in Mills County and also served in law enforcement in San Angelo (Tom Green County). T.J. Holmsley, the husband of oldest daughter Betty, was also sheriff of Comanche County (1856-57), and Jack Cunningham, the son of Richard Cunningham (grandson of Capt. James) was sheriff of Comanche County from 1912-1916.

I need some more information about the dates of the 3 brothers that served as Comanche sheriffs. Alma Meadows Cox reports they were all sheriffs in her first genealogy of the family. The Patchwork of Memories, a book put out in 1976 by the Comanche Heritage Division Committee, has Dave’s term from 1878-80, James (J.W.) from 1884-1886, but there is no W.H. Cunningham. There is W.C. Cunningham, but his term from 1869-70 would have been when Bill was only 21 years old so I don’t think that is him. More research needed.

This was the last Cunningham reunion with all 12 children, by the way. Aaron Cunningham, the oldest, was the first to pass away in January of 1914. 

It is also interesting to me to see that the Neelys were in Spur (at least according to this article) at this time. They were in Hamlin just a few years later when Joe Neely died. Also, I see that John Valentine Cunningham was in Huntsville. I didn’t know he ever strayed that far from his home in Abilene, but I bet some research could find him working for the State prison system as his nephew Kinlock Faulkner Cunningham was about this time. Gov. Colquitt was making some big reforms in the prison systems and the conditions there were being examined during this era. Again, more research needed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers