~ Cunningham & Related Family Photographs ~
Pictured above are the Rev. William Joseph “Joe” CUNNINGHAM (1861-1937) and his second wife Sarah Lela RUSSELL (1871-1942). Lela was a cousin of Joe’s first wife, Rhoda Frances SOUTH (1860-1897). All three were buried at Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery. Children from Rhoda were Winston E. CUNNINGHAM, Ferdinand Cortez CUNNINGHAM, and Thomas Cosby CUNNINGHAM. Children from Lela were Edna (CUNNINGHAM) MOBLEY, Lowell CUNNINGHAM (died as a baby), Joseph O. CUNNINGHAM (died young), Otha Acton (Buck or O.A.) CUNNINGHAM, Nima Agness (CUNNINGHAM) FLETCHER, Loela CUNNINGHAM, and Willie Eunice CUNNINGHAM.
Rev. Joe CUNNINGHAM’s parents were Andrew L. CUNNINGHAM (died August 1861 in Civil War) and Jane BLACK (buried at Springhill Cemetery). Their children were James Benjamin “Jim Ben” CUNNINGHAM, John Thomas “Tom” CUNNINGHAM, and Rev. William Joseph CUNNINGHAM (all of Fayette County).
"William Joseph CUNNINGHAM ... grew up to become a Missionary Baptist preacher, who held many revival meeting[s] and used to make the round trip from Bluff to Vernon each month, a distance of twelve miles. He received a salary of $1.50 a year, but when times were hard, he would sometimes take up a collection plate. He was a farmer, who always got up at 4 o'clock every morning and had his breakfast no later than 5 o'clock AM. Even in much later years when he was too old to farm he always got up early.
"Rhoda Frances SOUTH, first wife of William Joseph (Joe) CUNNINGHAM, died of a tumor; for which she had surgery in Memphis, TN. This was the only time she left home in her entire life, and the furthermost distance she ever traveled. A few minutes before her death, she requested her husband, Joe, to marry her cousin Lela RUSSELL, which he did within 3 and ½ months of her death. Rhoda was born and died on the same day of the year, within 30 minutes of the same time of day, and within a mile of where she was born. Her father [Tillman SOUTH] had deeded the couple some of his land at the time of their marriage and had built their house on it."*
Andrew L. CUNNINGHAM’s parents were Jesse CUNNINGHAM (War of 1812) and Delilah (unknown, maybe JONES). Their children were James Patrick Wiley CUNNINGHAM, Catherine CUNNINGHAM, Andrew L. CUNNINGHAM, William Raymond “Bill” CUNNINGHAM, Rebecca Ann CUNNINGHAM, Barkwell “Bike” CUNNINGHAM, and David B. CUNNINGHAM.
Jesse CUNNINGHAM’s parents were Valentine CUNNINGHAM (Battle of Monmouth - Revolutionary War) and Mary LaPRADE (Mary’s ancestors include the FLOURNOY family who escaped from France to Geneva, Switzerland, in the 1500s. Their ancestors escaped the protestant persecution and the St. Bartholomew massacre).
Valentine CUNNINGHAM’s parents were James and Ann CUNNINGHAM, who were from a Scott/Irish settlement in Virginia.
* Letter of history about the Cunningham family provided by Roger and Jane Cunningham.