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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Cunningham

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 942-943 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

About the year 1790 Thomas Cunningham was born in county Tyrone, Ireland. He was a descendant of hardy Scotch ancestors who left their native land rather than surrender their religious convictions or longer endure the persecutions of those in authority. The family was of the Presbyterian faith for generations preceding his birth and it has since been the family religion. Thomas grew to manhood in his native country, where he married an Irish lass of similar ancestry to his own. He and his family were prosperous farmers, and as a family noted for their great size, strength, industry and thrift. Some few years after his marriage, Thomas Cunningham emigrated to the United States, accompanied by his wife and his children. About 1810 he settled in the town of Glenville, Schenectady county, New York, where he purchased land and erected a house. He had little of this world's goods to begin with in a new country, but his thrift and energy prevailed, and he became one of the substantial men of the town. The first house he built is yet standing. Thomas and his wife were both communicants of the Presbyterian church, and each lived to be about eighty years of age. They reared a large family, most of whom married and had issue. Among their children were: William, Robert, Thomas, see forward; Major, who never married, although he lived to be an old man, Ross, Leonard, Nancy and Margaret.

(II) Thomas (2), son of Thomas (1) Cunningham, the emigrant, was born in Ireland, died in Glenville, New York in 1873. He was educated in the Glenville schools, and reared a farmer. He was his father's assistant during his younger years and later succeeded him as owner. He was a hardy, industrious man and successful in his undertakings. He followed the example and teachings of his father in both politics and religion, being a Democrat and a Presbyterian. He married, in Schoharie county, New York, Barbara Hays, born there in 1814, died in Glenville, in 1876, also of Scotch-Irish parentage. Her parents settled in Schoharie county about 1810, coming from Ireland. Their first settlement was near Howe's Cave, and they were also of the Presbyterian faith, the men of the family being Democrats and farmers. Children of Thomas and Barbara (Hays) Cunningham:

  1. John, died in Glenville at the age of thirty-nine years.
  2. William. born in 1838, now a resident of Schenectady; married Catherine Hanna; children: Marjorie, married Clifford Van Dyke; James, Carrie, Leonard.
  3. Thomas, a retired farmer and a resident of Schenectady.
  4. Margaret, died unmarried at the age of fifty years.
  5. Major, see forward.
  6. Barbara, married John Shoudy and left a daughter, Maud, who married a Mr. Bennett and resides in Richfield Springs, New York.
  7. Isabella, died unmarried at the age of fifty years.

This family of children all embraced the religious faith of their parents and were exemplary members of the Presbyterian church.

(III) Major, fifth child of Thomas (2) and Barbara (Hays) Cunningham, was born on the homestead farm in Glenville, Schenectady county, New York, April 19. 1849. He was educated in the public schools, reared on the farm and after the death of his father succeeded to the ownership. He has spent his entire life engaged in agriculture and has added to the original farm adjoining land until he now has a well improved estate of one hundred and sixty acres. He has lived an active, energetic life, and is rated one of the substantial farmers of the town. He is progressive and has always been actively interested in all that pertains to improved conditions in town affairs. He has adhered to the family tradition in church membership and has always been active in the church, belonging to the Freehold Presbyterian Church of Charlton, New York. While he has always been independent in local political affairs his party preference in matters of national policy is for the principles of the Democratic party. He married, in Ballston Spa, Saratoga county, New York, Sarah, born in Ballston, 1858, died in Glenville, November 9, 1890, daughter of Ami and Mary (Hoyt) Van Vorst, both natives of the Mohawk Valley. Ami Van Vorst settled in Ballston Spa, where he and his wife died at an advanced age, having had children:

  1. Lottie Charlotte, married Edward Wheeler, a farmer of Burnt Hills, Saratoga county, New York; child, Arthur.
  2. Charles, a farmer of the town of Ballston; married Harriet Van Buren and has issue.
  3. Sarah, married Major Cunningham.
  4. Mary Van Vorst, unmarried.

Major and Sarah (Van Vorst) Cunningham had children:

  1. Mabel, born in Glenville, May 18, 1887; married Arthur Buhrmaster, of Schenectady.
  2. Elmer Leonard, born in Glenville, August 5, 1889; educated in the public schools, reared a farmer, and now manages the homestead farm of his father; in connection with general farming he has added a dairy, which is an important feature; he is an attendant of the Presbyterian church and a Democrat in politics; he married Sadie Anna Clark, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 27, 1890, daughter of James and Clarissa (Woodington) Clark. James Clark is yet a resident of Philadelphia, where he is connected with the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad. Clarissa (Woodington) Clark died in 1900. Elmer Leonard and Sadie Anna (Clark) Cunningham have one son: Leonard Major.

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