Janice Williams

Archive for the ‘San Angelo’ Category

Tombstone Tuesday: Bertie Mae Cunningham Wynn

In Aaron, Gravestones, San Angelo, Second Generation Stories, Tombstone Tuesday on December 20, 2016 at 12:28 pm

It’s a busy time of year so we’ll keep this one short and sweet. That and I don’t have a lot of information about Bertie Cunningham, the second daughter of Aaron Cunningham and his first wife Minerva Montgomery. Bertie was only 3 years old when her mother died. She grew up with Amanda, Aaron’s second wife, as her mother. She was born September 20, 1880.

Jason W. Wynn was a surgeon in San Angelo who was 3 years older than Bertie. They married when she was 21.


She knew how to wear a hat! And what about that hatpin?

They lived in San Angelo where Dr. Wynn practiced. They had two sons and a daughter by 1907.

In the summer of 1911, Dr. Wynn died of tuberculosis. He was only 34. In the first 10 years of the 20th century, 4000 people a year died of tuberculosis in Texas. 1 Just after he died a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients was established near San Angelo.

There were 5 deaths in 6 years in the Wynn family, Dr. Wynn, 2 brothers, and both of his parents. His mother also died of tuberculosis.

After his death, Bertie stayed in their home in San Angelo. She did not remarry.  The children were 7, 6, and 4 when their father died.

Sadly, Bertie died just 13 years later when the kids were 21, 20, and 17.  She died of peritonitis.

Dr. Jason Wynn and Bertie Cunningham Wynn are buried in the Fairmount Cemetery in San Angelo where many of our family members were interred.



Dr. Wynn’s brothers, sister, and parents are all buried in the Wynn plot, too. It appears that his siblings never married.


Thanks again to San Angelo findagrave.com volunteer Steve Voss for the pictures of the Wynn tombstones.


Tombstone Tuesday: James Conn Cunningham

In George Washington Cunningham, Gravestones, Obituary, San Angelo, Tombstone Tuesday on November 15, 2016 at 10:23 am


James Conn Cunningham was the oldest son of George Washington Cunningham (the youngest son in the Cunningham family). Conn was born to George and his wife Eliza (Isaacs) September 29, 1881 in Comanche County. His birthplace is likely in Mills County today as Mills was created out of Comanche County (and Brown, Hamilton, and Lampasas Counties) in 1887.

When he was just 6 or so, Mills County was created and his father was elected the first sheriff of Mills County during a very turbulent time of vigilantism. Lynchings and assassinations were commonplace in this area particularly after the Civil War and neighbors did not even trust their neighbors, not knowing who might be part of the secret vigilante groups. George served until 1894.

You have probably driven past the old Mill County Jail as you’ve passed through Goldthwaite.

Goldthwaite jail

This was the home the Cunningham family lived in as soon as it was built in 1888. This would have been Conn’s older sister Gertrude, his younger sister Mary Edna, and the baby Dave. Conn’s mother Eliza cooked for the prisoners as well as for her family.

They had only lived in the county jail for two years when his mother Eliza died. The four children went to live with Eliza’s sister “Aunt Betty” Meadows nearby during this difficult time.

In 1891, George W. Cunningham remarried. His new bride was Katy Danley McCall. She brought her young son Will McCall into the marriage. He was younger than Conn, right between Mary and Dave in age. George and Katy went on to have four of their own children.

When George was no longer sheriff, the family moved to San Angelo and he worked in law enforcement there in various capacities, including police chief.

Conn was a teenager and was soon part of the social scene of Tom Green County. On June 6, 1904, when he was almost 23, he married 17-year-old Winnie Francis Kersey in Christoval.


Conn and Winnie had two children, George Winford “Concho” Cunningham and Mary Elizabeth Cunningham.

In 1918, when their kids were still at home, the family lived at 410 West Concho in San Angelo, near the bend of the Concho River. I believe this is the house they were living in (2013 picture from Google).


Conn was now 36 years old and an established banker at the San Angelo National Bank. According to his draft registration for World War I, he was tall and slender and had gray eyes and black hair.

In 1932, children now grown and married, Conn and Winnie moved to Fort Stockton, Texas, and leased 30,000 acres from the University of Texas and he joined a long line of ranchers and stock raisers in the family.

For a period of 6 years, his Aunt Betty Meadows lived with them in her old age until her death in 1943. She felt like the Cunningham children were her own, having kept them after her sister died. Conn obviously returned the affection.

In 1958, Conn sold his cattle and ranching interests and he and Winnie moved back to San Angelo and lived for a time at the luxurious Cactus Hotel. It still stands today as the tallest building in town, though now it is apartments and a venue for weddings and parties. In 1959, they returned to Fort Stockton and built a home.

Winnie died on June 6, 1962, on their 58th wedding anniversary. Conn was ill and went to Roswell, New Mexico, to live with his daughter and her husband, Bill McCampbell,  just before his death, January 31, 1963, only six months after Winnie’s death.

Conn and Winnie are buried side by side in the East Hill Cemetery in Fort Stockton, Texas.



Thanks to Joyce Edgar Phipps, a FindaGrave.com volunteer who took this photo.

Tombstone Tuesday: Marylou “Sal” Hall

In Elizabeth Holmsley, Gravestones, San Angelo, T.J. Holmsley, Tombstone Tuesday on October 11, 2016 at 12:00 pm

The hardest part about writing on a Tombstone Tuesday is that I want to know everything I can about the subject and that is next to impossible for these long dead, distant relatives.

I’m sure many of our family, though, knew Marylou “Sal” Hall since she only died 40 years ago or so. She and Willis Johnson, still a regular attendee at the family reunion each August, were first cousins. I’m sure Willis could tell me more.

But Sal is the subject today because of a treasure trove of family information I was lucky enough to “inherit.” Some beautiful pictures of family members are in this trove and I want to share them all with you. I’ll start with sweet Sal… an absolutely beautiful girl.


She lived her life in San Angelo. I wonder if they traveled to Dallas to find a hat and beautiful outfit like this?

Sal was born October 17, 1923, in San Angelo. Her mother was Mary Elizabeth Johnson Hall, the granddaughter of our “Aunt Betty,” (Elizabeth Cunningham Holmsley). Her father was Frank Vosburg Hall. He was known by his middle name Vosburg. He was a native Texan, also from a pioneering family, but he went to Cornell University in Ithaca, studying agriculture, before being involved in business at a gin in San Angelo and a rancher in Irion County.

Sal’s parents had a son before Sal was born:  Frank Vosburg Hall, Jr., but he died at only 5 days old, so Sal was raised as the only child.

I find a couple of references in newspapers where Sal visited friends in Bryan, Texas, but little else about her life in San Angelo. She died August 14, 1977, of breast cancer at the age of 53.

The site FindaGrave.com has a memorial for Sal that has a nice picture showing where her brother and family are buried around her and her gravestone. Findagrave contributor Steve Voss took this picture and many others in the Fairmount Cemetery where so many of our family members are buried. Thank you, Steve.

HALL_Marylou Sal

If you know more of Sal’s life or have a picture of her as an adult, I hope you will share.

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.


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 1855. 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.