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Edward Cunningham (c 1749-1804)

As a child, Edward Cunningham lived with his family in Shenandoah County, Virginia. His name appears along with his father, Adam Cunningham, on Henry Spear's October 1758 muster roll for Frederick County, Virginia. Adam was fined 30 shillings for missing 1 general muster and 2 private musters; Edward was fined 10 shillings for missing 1 general muster. At the time, the British government required that all teenage boys participate in the colonial militia. By 1769 Edward married Sarah Price, then left his father's farm and moved to Monongalia County, Virginia with his brother Thomas. Edward made a settlement on Shinns Run, a drain of the West Fork in 1772. He received a patent for the 397 acres in September 1787. Thomas settled on the right hand fork of Ten Mile Creek.

Edward and Thomas' names are found on pay rolls at Ft Pitt at the close of Dunmore's War (1775). Edward is listed on Captain Zachquill Morgan's Roll and Thomas' name appears on the list of Captain David Scott. In May 1777, they enlisted in Captain James Booth's company of Rangers. Their task was to protect settlers from Indian attacks. When Captain Booth was killed by Indians in 1778, the Ranger company was disbanded.

Edward and his family also had their difficulty with marauding Indians. Fearing a flareup of hostilities in early 1778, Edward and other settlers on Jones Run, a branch of Ten Mile Creek had gathered at Harbert's blockhouse. One day, in early March, the children ran screaming to the house in an attempt to escape a small band of approaching Indians. In this particular attack, Mr. Harbert was shot and killed and John Murphy was wounded. Several children were killed and others taken captive. Edward and Sarah's son, Joseph, who was 8 years old at the time, was captured while hiding under the treadles in the loom house. It is said that Edward scalped the Indian who died in the attack.

Tax records for Monongalia County in 1782 show Edward Cunningham with 7 whites in his household. Living next to him was John Murphy, with 3 whites. Three years later, in 1785, Edward had 7 whites, but was listed in Harrison County, next to his brother Thomas. Harrison County was formed in 1784 from Monongalia County.

Thomas and his wife Phebe eventually left Ten Mile Creek and built a log cabin on Bingamon Creek, next to Edward. In 1785 while Thomas was away on a trading expedition, an Indian entered Thomas' cabin as Phebe and their four children were around the dinner table. Aware of the Indian's presence, Edward aimed his gun through an opening in his cabin. An exchange of gunfire occurred. In the ensuing attack, the Indian party killed three of Thomas' children, took his wife and infant captive. Edward and his family fled into the forest. The Indians returned during the night to rob and burn both cabins.

Edward patented his 800 acres on Bingamon Creek and 363 acres on Cunningham's Run (a left hand branch of Bingamon Creek) in October 1786. He is listed with Thomas on the 1787 Harrison County Personal Property Tax List "C". Taxed only for himself, the list shows he owned 4 horses, mules, or mares, and 8 head of cattle. Benjamin Webb, William Murphy, John Murphy, and David Murphy, were on the same tax list. On the 1790 census for Harrison County, Edward listed 2 whites and one house.

In October 1793, Edward and Sarah sold 111 acres (part of the 397 acres on Shinns Run) to George Drake. In September 1796 they sold 150 acres on Shinn's Run above Buffalo Lick to John Righter. In October 1800, Edward and Sarah sold 116 acres (part of Edward's settlement survey) and 202 acres on both sides of Bingamon Creek to Benjamin Cunningham, 200 acres on Bingamon Creek to Moses Hall and 303 acres to William Cunningham. They also sold 24.5 acres on both sides of Cunningham Run to Benjamin Cunningham in October 1801.

Edward left a will in Harrison County, dated December 4, 1800, naming "Sary" his wife, Joseph, Benjamin, William, Adam, Thomas, and Enaith (Enoch) sons, Leah, Rachel, Ann, Mary, Elizabeth, and Keterry (Keturah), daughters. Edward died May 5, 1804.

Joseph Cunningham, eldest child of Edward and Sarah, was born about 1770. Captured as a young boy by Indians, he was adopted by a Shawnee family and lived among them for sixteen years before obtaining his release. Known as Injun Joe, it is recorded that "the traits of his forest life were indelibly fixed. He wore large rings in his ears and in many ways retained the Indian dress. A heavy hunting knife always hung at his belt and he had an unpleasant way of slipping upon persons unawares and suddenly whipping out his knife, feign stabbing them, accompanying the motion with a guttural "Whou." (McWhorter, Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia, p. 419). He became a great hunter and often led surveying expeditions. While on one of his surveying expeditions with John Murphy, Joseph was attacked by a large black bear on Bear Run, a branch of Goose Creek, in Ritchie County. In this hand-to-hand combat, Joe killed the bear with his hunting knife, then pried his knee out of the bear's mouth. The bear weighed 600 pounds when dressed. This encounter left him lame for the rest of his life. Joseph married Margaret "Peggy" Ayres and had several children.

Benjamin Cunningham, was born about 1772, probably in Harrison County, Virginia. He married Mary Finley daughter of Archibald Finley in Harrison County. The marriage bond is dated 1 Mar 1791.

Leah Cunningham, was born 17 Oct 1773 and married Moses Hall; marriage bond 2 Feb 1790 in Harrison County.

Rachel Cunningham, born ca 1776; married Richard Moore; marriage bond 26 Aug 1802 in Harrison County.

William Cunningham, born 28 Mar 1778; married Sena Moore; marriage bond 17 May 1801 in Harrison County; died 22 Oct 1862.

Nancy Cunningham, born ca 1780; married William Connor 21 Jan 1804 in Harrison County.

Mary Cunningham, born ca 1783.

Thomas Cunningham, born 1785; married Nancy Nay; marriage bond 21 Aug 1817 in Harrison County.

Elizabeth Cunningham, born 2 Jan 1784; married William Robinson; marriage bond 19 Apr 1818 in Harrison County; died 2 Jan 1768.

Adam Cunningham, born 29 Nov 1787; married Amelia Lyons; marriage bond 3 May 1810; died 25 Jun 1829.

Keturah Cunningham, born c 1792; married John Hill; marriage bond 25 Apr 1816 Harrison County.

Enoch Cunningham, born 23 Nov 1794; married Jane Stuart; died 1869.


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