Janice Williams

Tombstone Tuesday: Ola and Floy Cunningham

In Gravestones, Tombstone Tuesday on September 15, 2015 at 12:48 am

It is a wordless Tombstone Tuesday, but I have plenty of words to put here soon. But I’ll start with the pictures and you will learn more about Miss Ola and her sister Miss Floy soon. Does anyone have a picture of Miss Floy? Thanks to the school system, we have good pictures of Miss Ola…

1920 Comanche High yearbook - she was 45





C_Ola_1911_I think

Tombstone Tuesday: J.M.C.

In Gravestones, RIchard Tankersley Cunningham, Second Generation Stories, Tombstone Tuesday on August 25, 2015 at 1:59 am

Tuesday has come again and we find ourselves once more in the Newburg Cemetery.

DCF 1.0

This is the grave of James Mitchell Cunningham. It is near the “center” of the cemetery, near the graves of Captain James and Susannah Cunningham. James was their grandson.

But his grave was in the cemetery before their graves were. Sadly, he was just 17 when he died.

James was the first son of Richard and Louella Cunningham—Uncle Dick and Aunt Lou to most people in the family and the community. I believe he was the seventh grandchild in the Cunningham family, with Betty, Aaron, and John already having children. James was born March 20, 1866, less than a year after the last shot was fired in the Civil War and while Texas was under the Reconstruction government. He was likely named after his grandfather.

James died just before his 18th birthday on January 17, 1884.

Aaron and Dave had each lost a wife in the years before James died. Both are buried in the Albin Cemetery. Aaron and Minerva had 3 babies die and they are all buried in the Albin Cemetery. Betty’s daughter Zimarou had died in 1880 in childbirth. She also was only 18 when she died. She and the baby are buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Comanche. I believe James Mitchell Cunningham is the very first member of our Cunningham family to be buried in the Newburg Cemetery.

Imagine how the cemetery looked then with so few graves. And imagine Dick and Lou, their brothers and sisters and in-laws, James and Susannah, and probably every neighbor in the community there for the funeral (assuming there was a funeral).

I do not know the cause of James Mitchell Cunningham’s death. Maybe someone in the Richard family does and can inform me. The earliest photo I have of the Richard Cunningham family is from 1890 with their other 10 children that were born after James.

Back to Newburg

In David Houston Cunningham, Newburg Cemetery, Tombstone Tuesday on August 18, 2015 at 1:40 am

As promised, we are back at the Newburg Cemetery once again. Last week on our Tombstone Tuesday we investigated two of the first graves you see in the cemetery when you walk in. Allan and Annie Cunningham and their son Ira have the 4th and 5th headstones on the left in the new section. I let you know that Allan Cunningham descends from Comanche County’s OTHER Cunninghams, so he is not directly related to us. But he does have his connections…

Directly beside Allan Cunningham is the Bumpas headstone. It is third headstone on that side.


This is the front, visible from the drive/walkway. The back has this:


Mary Bumpas and Allan Cunningham are brother and sister. She was born Mary Jane Cunningham (but from the OTHER Cunninghams, remember) and she married James Henry Bumpas.

To make this really confusing, but to get to OUR Cunningham connection… James Henry Bumpas is the grandson of Dave Cunningham of the original 12 children of the Cunningham family. He is a full-fledged Cunningham from OUR family.

Here’s young David Houston Cunningham:


I do not have any pictures of the Bumpases (or maybe I do, I just don’t know that they are in my group shots).

Immediately south of the Jim and Mary Bumpas is the Taber graves:


Mary E. Taber was born Mary Elizabeth Bumpas, called “Libby,” and she is the daughter of Jim and Mary. She married Miner Frederick Taber in the early ‘40s and he served in the U.S. Navy all through World War II and beyond and she lived in Comanche near her mother and dad and raised her children on her own.



And then one more grave to the south, the first grave you see on the left in the Newburg Cemetery, it the grave of John and Patsy Pylant. Patsy was born Patsy Bumpas and she is also the daughter of Jim and Mary Bumpas and the sister of Libby Taber.


There was one more sister in the Bumpas household. She is Elva Eugenia Bumpas and she married Leonard Carl Griffin, Sr. Like her sister Libby, she guarded the homefront while her husband served in the U.S. Navy. Their family has continued the Navy tradition and we will save their stories of 4 generations of Navy officers and a great grandson that, I believe, graduated from the Naval Academy last year.  Elva and her husband are buried in Brownwood.

Next time you are entering the Newburg Cemetery, especially if you are acquainting someone with this beautiful resting place, you can confidently look to the left and say, “She is my cousin, she is my cousin, this is their dad and he is my cousin, and his wife was part of the OTHER Cunninghams and this is her brother, sister-in-law, and nephew.”

The descendants of this family: the Tabers, the Griffins, the Millers, the Autreys, and probably more I am missing are all occasional attendees of the reunion, so this history doesn’t seem so far back when you realize these are the parents and grandparents of your “friends/cousins.”