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Cunningham Family

The Cunningham family has been very difficult to trace. This is probably due to the fact that much of our information was shared with us orally through Mary Cunningham, wife of Thomas B. Olin. Note that the last name may be spelled with one or two “n”s.

The earliest ancestor that I can race so far is Hugh Cunningham born 1744 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and died in 1819 in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Hugh had two wives, Mary Kent and Martha Potter. Mary was the first wife and she had one son, Hugh Cunningham, Jr. born 1780 and died September 20, 1824.

Hugh Cunningham, Sr. and Martha Potter (born 1753) had a son, James C. Cunningham born February 12, 1783 and died November 7, 1847. He married Elizabeth C. Van Buskirk who was born September 22, 1789 and died May 12, 1850 in Kalamazoo, Eaton, Michigan. James and Elizabeth’s headstone shows the spelling Cuningham but in the next generation some started using two ‘n’s. James and Elizabeth had the following children:

  • Hannah E. Cunningham was born November 24, 1808 in New York and died March 5, 1868 in Kalamo, Eaton, Michigan. She married in 1828 to Daniel Herring (1800-1860) and they had seven children: Abraham C. Herring 1832-1915; Sylvester Cunningham Herring 1833-1910; Hiram S. Herring 1835-1913; Elizabeth H. Herring Clemons 1837-1866; Delevan S. Herring 1840-1862; George W. Herring 1841-1921; and Catherine M. Herring Karcher 1845-1919. In 1863 Hannah married Worden F. Perry (1797-1870).
  • Catherine T. Cunningham was born July 25, 1813 in New York and died January 29, 1899 in Kalamo Township, Eaton, Michigan. She married Erastus Clemons (1816-1884) on April 5, 1838 in Calhoun County, Michigan. They had at least one child: Francelia Clemons born in 1858.
  • Sylvester Cunningham was born January 10, 1815 in Homer, Cortland, New York and died May 30, 1883 in Republic, Seneca, Ohio. He married Eliza Maria Sanford (or Wilkinson) (1813-1898) and they had Charles Mortimer Cunningham 1837-1914; Elizabeth Cunningham Anway 1844-1893; and Helen J. Cunningham Beard 1849-1905.
  • Andrew Richard Cunningham, Sr. (see below)
  • Daniel Cunningham was born August 26, 1826 and died May 20, 1854 in Eaton County, Michigan.
  • Lucy A. Cunningham was born April 10, 1832 in Virgil, Cortland, New York and died May 16, 1891 in Kalamo, Eaton, Michigan. She married John Singer on February 28, 1849 in Eaton County, Michigan and they had one child: Julia Singer King 1857-1941. Lucy married second to William Esget on November 11, 1854, in Grand Haven, Michigan. They had four children: Edgar Oscar Esget 1855-1937; Marietta Esget 1858-1895; Jerome William Esget 1860-1896; and Lillie Ann Esget. Lucy married third to Edmund Field on June 3, 1866 in Crockery, Ottawa, Michigan and her fourth marriage was to Martin Karcher (1838-1908) on July 4, 1879 in Kalamo, Eaton, Michigan.
  • Elvira M. Cunningham was born March 12, 1833 and died September 20, 1899 in Albion, Calhoun, Michigan. She married in 1848 to William McConnell(1813-1903). They had at least one child: Lillian B. McConnell 1866-1926.

Headstone of James Cuningham and Elizabeth Van Buskirk Cuningham at the West Carmel Cemetery in Charlotte, Eaton County, Michigan.

Headstone of Andrew R. Cunningham and Elizabeth M. Clemons Cuningham at the West Carmel Cemetery in Charlotte, Eaton County, Michigan.

Andrew Richard Cunningham, Sr. was born May 20, 1818 in either Kentucky or New York and died July 26, 1854 in Eaton, Michigan. On March 11, 1840 in Marshall, Calhoun, Michigan, he married Elizabeth M. Clemons. Elizabeth was born March 22, 1822 in New York and died September 30, 1854 in Eaton, Michigan. It is curious that they both died within months of each other.

Mary was quite young when her parents died and I’m sure her memories were not entirely accurate as to be expected. Mary was born with a cleft palate and there was some concern in those times that this was an inherited trait and would be passed down. To my knowledge this was never true. Mary said that she was adopted by Frank Cunningham but didn’t mention her mother’s name. New information has been discovered with the help of DNA and we now know that Andrew R. Cunningham and Eliza Clemons were her parents.. When they both died in 1854, the children were farmed out and she was sent to live with a Mrs. Martin who did not treat her kindly and she ran away at 8 years old to live with her sister Lil. At his point, it’s entirely possible that her brother Frank did in fact adopt her. We have a picture of Mrs. Martin, so I believe Mary did live with her. Below is a list of Andrew and Elizabeth’s children that I’ve been able to piece together.

  • Martha Charlotte “Lottie” Cunningham was born about 1844 in Michigan, and died at the home of Mr. (Frank) Cunningham on April 19, 1919 in Bossburg, Stevens, Washington. (findagrave.com shows Lottie’s death year as 1872 on her son, Frank’s page.) She married May 26, 1861 in Montcalm, Michigan to William (Wilhelm) Conrad Rettinger (1835-?) and they had three children: Ida Mae Rettinger 1859-1887; Franklin Eugene Rettinger 1866-1897; Winifred Rettinger 1867-?; Mary M. Rettinger 1869-?; William Benjamin Rettinger 1873-1949; and Clara Rettinger 1875-?. She married John S. Norris (born 1859) and gave birth to 5 children but only 2 survived by the 1910 census. Mary was very fond of this sister and named her granddaughter, Lottie Gallagher, after her. Also, note that Lottie’s grandmother was named Martha.
  • Edward Cunningham was born in Michigan and died September 13, 1864 at Fort Gaines, Mobile, Alabama. There is an Edward Cunningham, age 13 living with George and Mary Mattison in Kalamo, Eaton, Michigan in the 1860 US Federal Census. There is a picture of a young man in a Civil War uniform who resembles Mary’s son, Willard (see below). There are notes that a brother was killed in the war.
  • Mary Louisa Cunningham was born August 18, 1849 in Ceresco, Calhoun, Michigan. She married Thomas B. Olin. Mary bears a strong resemblance to her grandmother, Laura Lester Clemons (see below in Clemons section.)
  • Frank Cunningham — Mary named one of her sons Frank.
  • Andrew Richard Cunningham, Jr. “Richard” born January 1853 in Boyne City, Charlevoix, Michigan and died in East Jordan, Charlevoix, Michigan. He married December 15, 1892 in East Jordan, Charlevoix, Michigan to Louise Stoesser (1872-1933). They had two children: Loren R. Cunningham 1894-1894 and Grace Belle Cunningham Marshall 1897-1929.
  • Henry Cunningham — Mary named one of her sons Henry (note that her father-in-law was also named Henry).
  • Lillie Cunningham — At some point Mary ran away from Mrs. Martin and went to live with her sister Lillie. I have not found any more information on Lillie.

According to the 1850 Michigan census, in the household of Andrew R. Cunningham (32) and his wife, Eliza M. (28) are Martha C. age 5, Edward, Age 3, Mary L. age 1, and a John Heart age 45. Martha “C” is Lottie as the age is about right. Our Mary L. Cunningham was born in 1849, so that date is correct for her also. Andrew Sr. was born in Kentucky or New York.

Clemons Family

Joseph C. Clemons was born in 1728 at Charlton City, Worcester, Massachusetts and died March 18, 1808 in Whitehall, Washington, New York.

Joseph married on June 22, 1750 in Dudley, Massachusetts to Demeris/Damaris Dennis. Damaris was born June 1, 1731 in Dudley, Oxford, Worcester, Massachusetts and died December 18, 1808 in Whitehall, Washington, New York. Her parents were Nathan Dennis and Damaris Pudney (1702-1804). Joseph and Damaris had at least one child, Jonathan Clemons, Sr. who was born in 1758 in Massachusetts and died July 4, 1828 in Whitehall, Washington, New York.

Jonathan Clemons, Sr. married twice. First marriage was to Mary Hopkins on February 10, 1782 in Charlton, Massachusetts. Mary was born in 1759 and died May 7, 1813. They had three children:

  • Jonathan Clemons, Jr. was born August 4, 1780 in Whitehall, Washington, New York and died August 19, 1869 in Leoni, Jackson, Michigan. (See below)
  • Erastus Clemons
  • Polly Clemons

Jonathan Sr.’s second wife was Lucy Worden and they had at least one child, Polly C. Clemons (1817-1901).

  • Jonathan Clemons, Jr. was a Revolutionary War vet (Mass. # S. 44790.) He married Laura Lester (1803-1885). Laura was also married to John William Laycock (1797-1880). I suspect this was a second marriage after Jonathan died in 1869.
  • Jonathan and Laura had 8 children:
  • Joel Clemons was born in 1810 and died in 1845 in Michigan. He married Julia Ann Case.
  • Erastus Clemons was born in 1816 in New York and died March 19, 1884 in Kalamo, Eaton, Michigan. He married Catherine T. Cunningham (1813-1899) and they had at least one child, Francelia Clemons born about 1858 in Michigan.
  • Horatio Clemons was born about 1820 in New York and died February 9, 1859.
  • Elizabeth M. Clemons was born Mach 22, 1822 in New York and died September 30, 1854 in Eaton, Michigan. She married Andrew Richard Cunningham. (See Cunningham family above)
  • Hosea Clemons was born August 25, 1828 in New York and died June 14, 1906 in Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan. He married Mariah Flagely and they had 6 children (Joel, Maria, Horatio, William, Nellie, and one unknown probably died after birth. Hosea was a Civil War vet having enlisted in Niles, Michigan on February 3, 1864 in Co. K, 12th Inf.
  • John C. Clemons was born May 22, 1832 in New York and died March 18, 1910 in Napoleon, Jackson, Michigan. He married in 1897 to Phoebe.
  • Julia Clemons was born May 23, 1834 in Whitehall, Washington, New York and died February 15, 1914 in Clayton, Lenawee, Michigan. She married Jan 21, 1855 in Marshall, Calhoun, Michigan to Lyman Theodore Noble and had at least one child: Horatio G. Nobel (1855-1931).
  • Andrew R. Clemons was born August 1837 in Michigan and died. He married May Louisa/Laura and they had at least two children: Franklin and Charles H.

Jonathan Clemons, Jr. and Laura Lester

Photo Gallery Below
Top row L to R – Edward and Mary
Middle row L to R – Lottie, Mary and Thomas Olin, Mary
Bottom row L to R – Lottie, Mary and Barney Lemke


“United States Census, 1850,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MF8D-MG8 : accessed 29 October 2015), Mary L Cunningham in household of Andrew R Cunningham, Bellevue, Eaton, Michigan, United States; citing family 124, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Ancestry.com. Washington, Select Death Certificates, 1907-1960 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

Original data: Washington, Death Certificates, 1907-1960. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Tacoma Ward 2, Pierce, Washington; Roll: T624_1663; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0225; FHL microfilm: 1375676

Year: 1860; Census Place: Kalamo, Eaton, Michigan; Roll: M653_542; Page: 834; Image: 338; Family History Library Film: 803542

Last Updated on August 4, 2023 by rootie