Facts and Events
John Cunningham was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia
Early Land Acquisition in Augusta County, VA
John Cunningham's land (Borden NE, 333 acres, acquired with Robert Weir on 19 August 1752) as shown on the map meticulously drawn by J.R. Hildebrand, cartographer. This map is copyrighted©, used by permission of John Hildebrand, son of J.R. Hildebrand, April, 2009.
Records of John Cunningham in Augusta County, VA
From Chalkley’s Augusta County Records:
Cunningham's of Thorney Branch:
Information on John Cunningham
From "Annals of Augusta county, Virginia, from 1726 to 1871", by Joseph Addison Waddell:
Another family of Cunninghams settled at an early day in the "Forks of James River," their name being written sometimes Cuningham, and occasionally Coningham. The first mention of this family in the records of Augusta county, is August 18, 1752, when John Coningham and Robert Weir received a deed for 133 acres of land in Borden's Grant.
John Cunningham and Margaret his wife, on May 13, 1764, conveyed 230 acres of land and a variety of personal property to their son Patrick, in consideration of their maintenance by him. This John C. (or some other), died in 1774, his personal estate being appraised, March 18, 1774, at ,£32, 12s. Patrick conveyed the 230 acres, August 18, 1766, to Edward Erwin.
The will of Jonathan Cunningham, " of Carr's Creek," was admitted to record March 20, 1770. He gave his wife, Mary, ,£60, etc., and left his plantation to his "dutiful father," Hugh Cunningham. His wife, as appears from the will, was a daughter of John McKee and sister of Col. William McKee. The people of Kerr's Creek were assembled at the house of Jonathan Cunningham at the time of the second massacre, in 1764 (s/b 17 July 1763), and some of the Cunninghams were then captured and carried off by the Indians.
From Mr. Clarence Cunningham, of Charleston, S. C, we learn that John Cunningham, of Kerr's Creek, had four sons and three daughters. The sons were Robert, Patrick, John and David.—In January, I769, Robert and Patrick removed to District Ninety-Six, S. C now Abbeville, and were followed, in 1770, by John and David and their sisters. During the Revolutionary war, Robert became an officer in the British army, and is known in history as the Tory General Robert Cunningham.
Appleton’s American Biography says: Robert Cunningham, loyalist, born in Ireland about 1739; settled in District Ninety-Six, S. C., in 1769, and soon became a judge. He opposed the cause of the colonies, and in 1775 was imprisoned in Charleston. After his release he joined the British forces, and, in 1780, was commissioned Brigadier General. He first was placed in command of a garrison in S. C., and the following year served in the field against General Sumter. His estate was confiscated in 1782, and, having left the country, he was not allowed to return, although he petitioned to be allowed to do so. The British Government gave him an annuity. He died in Nassau, in 1813.
Patrick Cunningham also entered the British service during the Revolutionary war, and became a Colonel; but seems not to have incurred the odium his brother Robert did. His son Robert was a captain in the Mexican war. Capt. Robert’s son John was prominent in law, politics and journalism, and his daughter Pamela was the organizer and first Regent of the Ladies’ Mt. Vernon Association.
William Cunningham, called “Bloody Bill” in South Carolina, is said to have been a second-cousin of Robert and Patrick (Note: other sources cite William Cunningham as a first-cousin of Robert and Patrick). He is otherwise known as Major, or Colonel, William Cunningham, of the British army. Bancroft gives an account of an expedition he commanded in 1781, and the cruelties practised by him. (Vol. X, p. 458.) In Appleton’s American Biography we find a sketch of a man of the same name. He was born in Dublin, and came to America in 1774. Gen. Gage appointed him provost-marshal of the army. In 1778 he had charge of the military prisons in Philadelphia, and later those in New York; and in both places was notorious for his cruelties. It is said that he literally starved to death 2,000 prisoners, and hung 250 without trial. At the close of the war he went to England, became very dissipated, and in 1791 was hanged for forgery. This man was probably the same as “Bloody Bill,” as it is not likely that the same generation could produce two such men. It is a relief to find that the gallows claimed him at last.