Janice Williams

The Texas Cunninghams and Who We Are

In Basic Family Information on June 19, 2011 at 11:34 pm

This blog is going to be my go-to blog for pondering the Cunningham family and sharing the tidbits of information that I find. If you’ve ended up here and wonder if this is YOUR Texas Cunninghams, let me tell you who we are. We are the descendants of James Cunningham and Susannah Tate Cunningham who came to the Republic of Texas from Alabama and initially settled in what is now Morris County in far northeast Texas. They eventually moved on to the Central Texas area around Austin and then, in 1855, found their permanent home in Comanche County, Texas. This settlement was the farthest west settlement of Anglo-Americans and the Cunninghams were at the forefront of many battles against the Comanche Indians.

If you stumble upon this and wonder if you are related, please contact me at radiojanice@gmail.com and I can help you discover if you tie into our family. We have an extensive family tree that is not available anywhere online and I will be happy to check it for you and supply you with information.

Captain James Cunningham (called Captain for his service in the Florida Indian Wars) was also known as Uncle Jimmy in the Comanche community and his hard-working wife was known as Aunt Susie. They raised 12 children in the Newburg community of Comanche County. Their children were:

1. Aaron

2. Elizabeth

3. David Houston

4. Richard Tankersley

5. John Valentine

6. William Henry

7. James Washington

8. Joseph Jackson

9. Thomas Anderson

10. George Washington

11. Mary Jane

12. Unity Ann

Our family has had an annual reunion near the old home place each August since 1889. With over 200 family members on most years and over 600 family members on the occasion of the 100th reunion, it is a family that takes great pride in our heritage.

  1. Janice, I’m working on a last minute project for the reunion. Would you happen to have any other decent photographs? I have a few but most look like they have been photocopied serveral times and then scanned with a poor quality scanner. I would especially like the scketch that was done of the old homestead. If you have anything, please send it my may. Thanks!

    • Hi Carrie — I had never scanned the pic of that drawing! but I saw it in a pile just this week so I just scanned it and it is attached. It is number 48 of only 60 produced by Mary (and William) Cunningham. I didn’t realize it was so rare. We didn’t come to the reunion often in those days so we were lucky to be there when it came out.

  2. Nice to find your site, I am the great grandson of Baz Cox, who along with his brothers, McDonald (Don), Malachi and James Silas each served at various times with Capt Cunningham. Don was killed at Dove Creek and was brought back by the Cox boys brother-in -law, Jack Wright, to be buried at Oakwood cemetery in Comanche. The boys mother Margaret (Peggy) Cox, settled with her family in Comanche County around 1856, died there(1874) and is buried by Don. Baz (Basilee P) later settled in 1871 outside of Chico in Wise County Texas. This homeplace is still in the family and there are many descendants still in the area. Baz’s youngest daughter, Clara Rachel Cox was my grandmother. I live on a farm in Clay County about a hour north of Chico.
    Bill Elbert Steward

    • Wonderful to hear from you! I’m glad you found my site (which is in serious need of some new articles).

      I’ll have to look up the Coxes because I am also related to Jack Wright. His sister, Mildred, married William Cunningham (Capt James Cunningham’s son) and she was my great-great-grandmother so Jack was my uncle.

      I have Clay County relations, too, with my great-great-grandparents Rufus Pitt Williams and Nancy Clark Adkins Williams buried in the Chico Cemetery. I’ve only been there one time, but it was pretty special. They had a farm there and raised 10 girls and 1 boy. A couple of their daughters are also buried there (Morrow and Esther Williams who never married).

      I looked up a whole bunch on Jack Wright and his family once. Now you have me interested again and I’ll have to go look it all up again! Thank you so much.

      Your cousin,


  3. My lineage traces to Aaron one of the original 12. What a wonderful thing to have a site for the Cunningham clan. Terrific job. I am interested in the two books listed in a comment “Cunningham Genealogy” and “Courageous Pioneers Captain James Cunningham and Family. Where can these books be published. My mother was Susie Lou Cunningham Hardy, daughter of George Cunningham (son of Aaron).

    • Hello Timothy — I know who you are. I met your sons Todd and Geof this summer at the reunion and really enjoyed them and Geof Jr.

      Neither of these are actually books. The Cunningham Genealogy is about a 25 page document that Mrs. Howard Cox put together in the 1920s with family trees of each family and some of the stories. I would expect you’ve seen it sometime along the way — most older members of the family had one at one time. The other is an even shorter essay with stories about the family. I will try to pull these together and send you a copy. I only found a copy of the second one a month or two ago. One of your closer cousins — Amy Olguin Pownall — loaned a box of pictures and documents from your uncle William Cunningham (Susie Lou’s brother) and it had that document that we had been hunting. I only scanned it last week. Let me put it together as one PDF and I will send it to you soon.

      I see you have also found our Facebook page. Great. That will keep you in touch with the reunion (if you check it from time to time at least).

      Great to hear from you, I’m glad you found the webpage, and I look forward to meeting you. Docs on the way soon.


  4. Does anyone have an electronic copy of:

    Cunningham Genealogy, Alma Meadows Cox, compiler, (Comanche: 1919) revised, indexed and republished by Natica Holmsley, 1968, Philadelphia, Pa.

    Godbold, Mollie Moore, Courageous Pioneers: Captain James Cunningham and Family (Austin: 1960)

  5. Janice,
    Great to see you this year. Thank you for all the work on the family genealogy.
    As you know I am working on the old house and would be interested in any old photos of the homestead that you might have (or any other family member might have)

    Thanks again


  6. Janice, My name is Peter Cunningham. Currently living in Texas, but my family side are living in Louisian (that is the Cunningham’s). Don’t know if we are related but I have been working on the CUNNINGHAM’s family tree for some time now, and have gone far as to late 1700’s to mid 1800’s. Would like to get in contact with you so we can discuss some of the family connections. My e-mail address is [deleted by Janice]. Hope to hear from you soon.

  7. Not only are you working all the time on the family lineage, you found time to put up a beautiful site! Congratulations…and thanks!

  8. Great work Janice! Hope to see you this reunion! I am going to get a list of questions that I have and hopefully between you, Ruth Adele and Margaret Waring and the other family members we might get some things answered. To start, do we know anything about some of the other early families who settled Comanche. Lee suggested in his short history of the family that the Cunninghams probably knew some of the other families that came and settled the area at the same time.


    Randy Walton (Lee Lawrence’s son in law)

  9. Janice looks like you have a great idea about spreading and capturing our family heritage. New information for me and great information for our kids and their kids. Thanks for you time and endurance.

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