This venerable gentleman is one of the leading stockmen and farmers in the reservation portion of Nez Perces County, being at the present time not only doing a general farming business on his estate one half mile east of Kippen, but also breeding some excellent specimens of Percheron and Clyde horses.
William Cunningham was born in Bradford County, Pennsylvania in 1834, being the son of Jacob and Emily (Nichols) Cunningham. The father was born in New Jersey in 1821 and died in 1804. His people were pioneers in Pennsylvania and he was a soldier in the Civil war, being in Company I, Tenth Illinois under Generals Halleck and Curtis. The mother of our subject was born in Pennsylvania, in 1809 and died in 1899, aged ninety-one. The family removed to New York, and thence to Ohio and when William was eleven they went to Michigan. There he grew to manhood and received his education.
When he was twenty-six, he went to Champaign County, Illinois, the family all going, and there he enlisted in Company I, Tenth Illinois Cavalry, in September, 1861, his father also enlisting at about the same date. Our subject served two years under General Halleck and was taken with measles which settled on his lungs and so dreadful was the effect of this disease that he was unable to speak above a whisper for three years. At the close of the war he returned to Illinois and remained on the farm until 1866, then went to Indiana and railroaded for a number of years and then came west to Portland and followed the same business for some time. He spent three years in the Yakima Country in Washington, and then went to the reservation and secured his present place, which he has cultivated and improved in a becoming manner. March, 1896, was the date of his settlement here and he has always been known as one of the substantial and progressive men of the community.
In 1862 in Illinois, Mr. Cunningham married Miss Ann, daughter of Barnabas Howe, a farmer and pioneer in Indiana. Mrs. Cunningham was born in Indiana, in 1838 and has one brother, Ira, at Lapwai, Idaho. Mr. Cunningham has two sisters, Ellen Knap]) and Ida Donaldson, both in Iowa. Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham, Emma and William, deceased; Cora Smith, Pearl Parkin, and Esther Tipton, in Nez Perces County; Earl, at home. Mr. Cunningham is a member of the G. A. R.; and is an active Republican. He is a man who has achieved success in his labors, has sustained an unsullied reputation, has always been a staunch and upright man and is now enjoying the golden days of his life in plenty.
Back to: Nez Perce Biographies
Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903