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Madera Biographies: CUNNINGHAM

   JONH CUNNINGHAM.   An enterprising, practical and prosperous farmer of Madera County, John Cunningham is proprietor of an excellent ranch, pleasantly located about five miles south of the city of Madera, where he is largely engaged in general farming, exercising great skill and judgment.  Of good financially ability, and a man of industry and wise forethought, he has met with satisfactory pecuniary results in his chosen avocation, and occupies a secure position in the consideration and respect of his fellow-men.  A son of Andrew Cunningham, he was born May 1843, in Indiana, of Irish ancestry.

    A native of Ireland, Andrew Cunningham was brought up on a farm.  Immigrating to America when a young man, he located permanently in Dearborn County, Indiana, where he cleared a farm and was subsequently actively engaged in business as a general merchant, in addition serving as postmaster.  He died in his Indiana home in 1840, when his son John was a lad of six years. His wife, whose maiden name was Catherine Craig, was also born and reared in the Emerald Isle.

    Brought up on the parental homestead, and educated in the district schools, John Cunningham remained at home until after the breaking out of the Civil war.  Fired with patriotic enthusiasm, he enlisted in 1862 in Company E, Sixteenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, which was assigned to the Western Division of the Federal Army, and took part in various engagements of importance, including the battle at Richmond Ky., the siege of Vicksburg, the battle of Port Gibson, and others.  Being discharged from service on account of poor health, Mr. Cunningham returned to Indiana.  In the spring of 1868 he came to California by way of the Isthmus of Panama, disembarking from the ship Colo in San Francisco.  After mining in the San Joaquin Valley for a year, Mr. Cunningham Settled as a stock raiser in Fresno County about twenty-five miles from his present home.  Subsequently removing to Madera he kept a meat market in that city, and later engaged in general farming, including the raising of grain, alfalfa and some stock. In addition to managing the home farm, he also rents other land, carrying on a substantial business as a ranchman.

    Mr. Cunningham married, in Indiana, Sarah Whiteford, a native of that state, and of their union six children have been born, namely: Margaret, William E. Russell, deceased; Henry M., Albert C. and Mary A.  Politically Mr. Cunningham is a steadfast Democrat and for many years has rendered efficient service as school trustee.

Guinn, J. M., History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the San Joaquin Valley, California, (Chicago: Chapman Publishing, 1905), page 1265.

Transcribed by Harriet Sturk.

Last update: September 5, 2000
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