For many years, books and genealogies of this family indicated that Walter had been born in Ireland. However, when he applied for a Revolutionary War pension, he stated he was born in Dec 1749 in Shenandoah, Virginia.
"Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application File, 1800-1900;"
National Archives Microfilm; Call No. M804; Roll No. 713.
Declaration of Walter Cunningham:
Pension Claim Number - S 9263
On the 21st day of August in the year 1832 personally appeared in open court before the justices of said county of Harrison in court now sitting Walter Cunningham a resident of Simpson's Creek Harrison county aged 83 years who being said duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefits of the act of Congress passed June 7, 1832.
That in the year 1776 he resided in the county of Shenandoah State of Va. That in the summer of the aforesaid year he visited the county of Monongalia in said State. That in there he enlisted in a company of rangers under the command of Capt. David Scott. That he was employed in reconnoitering the country between the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers. That while thus engaged, the company was frequently successful in discovering the approach of Indians and in conveying intelligence to the forts and settlements, so as to apprise and guard them against danger.
That he was discharged at the termination of three months the discharge is here with enclosed.
In the fall of 1777 after having returned home to Shenandoah he enlisted under Capt. Michael Rader marched to Fort Pitt was attached to a regiment commanded by General Hand. From there he descended the Ohio river to Wheeling where he was discharged after having served three months. He was not personally engaged in any battle during his continuance in said service.
That he has no documentary evidence except the accompanying discharge signed by lieutenant John Mahon. That he knows of no living witness except his brother Adam Cunningham whose affidavit is here with subjoined.
That he was acquainted with John Wilson, David Davisson, William A. Harrison, John J. Allen and various other persons in the neighborhood where he resides to whom reference may be had.
That he hereby relinquishes all claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state. Sworn and subscribed to this 21st day of August 1832.
(Signature of Walter Cunningham)
That Hamilton Goss a clergyman in the county of Harrison and State of Virginia and Joseph J. Winters do hereby certify that we are well acquainted with Walter Cunningham who has subscribed and sworn the above declaration that we believe him to be 83 years of age, that he is reputed and believed in the neighborhood where he resides to have been a soldier of the revolution, and that we concur in that opinion.
Sworn to and subscribed the day and year of afore said.
(Signatures of Hamilton Goss and Joseph J. Winters)
And the court do hereby declare after the investigation of the matter and after putting interrogatories prescribed by the war department that the above named applicant was a revolutionary soldier and served as he states. And the court finds and certifies that it appears to them that Hamilton Goss who has signed the certificate is a clergyman resident in the county of Harrison and that J. J. Winters who has also signed the same is a resident in the county afore said and is a credible person, and that there statement is entitled to credit.
(Signature of Jacob Coplin, J.P.)
I David Davisson Clerk of Court of Harrison county do hereby certify that the foregoing contains the original proceedings of the said court in the matter of the application of Walter Cunningham for a pension.
In testimony whereof I have here
unto set my hand and seal of
office this 2nd day of November 1832
(Signature of D. Davisson)
The amended declaration of Walter Cunningham who being sworn before me gave the following answers.
Where and in what year were you born.
Answer is Shenandoah County Virginia in Dec 1749.
Question. Have you any record of your age and if so where is it
A. my age is recorded in an old Family Bible now in my possession.
Sworn & subscribed this
I David Davisson, Clerk of Harrison County Court do hereby certify that Benjamin J. Brice is an acting Justice of the peace in and said county. In Testimony whereof I have here unto set my hand and seal of office this 26th of January 1833
(Signature of D Davisson C.H.C.)
Harrison County Virginia to wit-
Having been called upon by Walter Cunningham is whose favor, as to service rendered by him in the war of the Revolution, the deposition of Anthony Kuhn was taken before me some time ago: I do certify that I have known the said Kuhn upwards of thirty years & have no reason to doubt the veracity of his statement made in relation to the said Cunningham's service. Given under my hand this 19th January 1832.
(Signature of B. J. Brice)
Harrison County Va.
Personally came Anthony Kuhn before me Benj. J. Brice a justice of the peace in & for the said County of Harrison and Commonwealth of Virginia & made oath that Walter Cunningham served full three months in Capt David Scott's Company of Rangers. In John Mahon Lieutenant in the year 1777. Sworn to & subscribed this __ day of Aug 1832.
(Mark of Anthony Kuhn; signature of B. J. Brice)
Walter and Thomas Cunanham is discharged as Ranging Company Febuary 1 day 1777 owing under my hand (Signature of John Mahon).....The word between/above the words Ranging and Company, appears to be Josep.
Statement of W. G. Singleton: [Note: The following date, July 12, 1834, appears to be when Mr. Singleton was reviewing the statements Walter made in 1832]
Walter Cunningham. draws $20-
July 12, 1834, Mr Cunningham made the following statement of his age and service as a soldier in the war of the Revolution - Remained home in the county of Shenandoah until the year 1776. In the fall of that year he came across the Allegheny Mountains to see his brother in Bingamom creek Harrison cty.- Capt. David Scott was then enlisting men for Rangers - he enlisted under Scott was then enlisted under Scott for three months. - and ranger on the west fork on Bingamon, fishing creek and through the ____ part of Harrison county as at present named. He was Ranging and scouting until his term expired which was on the 7th day of February 1777. Knew nothing about the authority under which Scott acted. Nor does he know whether he was _____ or Captain by then. States ___ he got his discharge and returned home, made a crop in the succeeding summer and in the fall volunteered for three months under Capt. M. Reeder (Rader) to go against the Shawnee tribes on the Ohio River. Marched to Winchester and joined three or four more companies, marched from Winchester to Fort Pitt. then joined Genl Hands army. Went thence to Fort Wheeling remained there several weeks. - then companies returned to Pitt. After he got back his three months expired got his discharge from Capt. Rader and went home,- he gave the discharge to Colonel Johnson. Anythony Boon served with him the first turn - know his last turn by Adam Cunningham.
Note: The service details in the first turn must have been irregular and unauthorized - it was a neighborhood matter -- as to the second turn, it is probable that men there have been drafted in Shenandoah county for three months for service on the Ohio River. In the then state of the country and war it would have taken an army three months to have marched from Shenandoah cty across the Allegheny Mts to the Ohio River.
Next Page - Nov 18, 1834
Since writing preceding note- I have seen Capt. Rader under whom Cunningham alledges to have marched from Shenandoah to Fort Pitt to the Ohio river -- Rader satisfied me beyond all question that he did march a company from Shenandoah county to the Ohio River to Pittsburg Wheeling and was in service 3 mo- & I also know that Capt Buck of Frederick county also marched a company from same county- to the same places and at the same time-- so that I must be mistaken in the opinion first intimated. (Signature of W. G. Singleton)
Depart of War
March 12, 1835
I have directed that the name of Walter Cunningham be stricken from the pension roll, he not being entitled under the Act of Congress passed June 7, 1832. And along the name of Thomas Smith, both of Harrison Co
Please inform him of the fact..... (Initials of writer illegible)
At the bottom left is:
Nathan Goff Es
[Note: Walter Cunningham had not requested a pension payment since 5 March 1834 (see below), a year before this note was written. After two periods passed without him or his surrogate claiming his pension, he was struck from the rolls, 12 March 1835. - The official from the War Department specifically said that Walter Cunningham was not "entitled under the act passed June 7, 1832;" he didn't say that he had died. - Since the reason he was dropped is not given and no other records speak to the matter, it is not possible know with any certainty if he was dropped because he died or for some other reason.]
The D.A.R. Patriot Index lists the date of Walter's death as 5 March 1834. However, this date should be preceded by a "p" because he died sometime between 5 March 1834, when he signed the power of attorney, and 4 September 1834, the next time his pension was payable.
The DAR said his date should be p (post-after) 5 Mar 1834 and a request has been made that they edit the Patriot Index to reflect that.
Found in the records of the Third Auditor, Treasury Department (not microfilmed and not on the pension file film) is the fact that Walter Cunningham was alive on 5 March 1834. This is from his final pension payment file. On that day, he gave Thomas Ritchie of Richmond, Virginia, power of attorney in order to collect his pension. On 22 April 1834, Ritchie filed for the pension that was due to Walter Cunningham for the two quarters ending on 4 March 1834. According to the pension ledger, this is the last date through which he was paid.
There is also a pension payment ledger page from the records of the Second Comptroller's Office, and probably is the record that was referred to in a letter in Walter's pension file, which directs that inquiries about Walter's death be directed to the Comptroller. The entry for each soldier frequently, but not always, carried a notation as to the date of death. Walter's entry did not have such a notation.
One cannot conclude that because Ritchie collected money only up to 4 March 1834, Walter Cunningham died on March 5. The payment period of the pension receipt stub that Thomas Ritchie signed on 22 April 1834 showed that the payment period for which he was collecting began on 4 Sept 1833 and ended on 4 March 1833. The power of attorney also stated that the pension payments had begun on 4 March 1831 and were payable every 4 September and 4 March. Therefore March 4 was the statutory payment date, and not the date that Walter Cunningham died. Walter was definitely alive on 5 March 1834 when he signed the power of attorney, although he certainly could have died that same day, after he signed the paper.
The normal payment procedure required the pensioner or his designated attorney to personally appear at the pension office to collect his payment. The payments were only made twice a year. When Thomas Ritchie signed a receipt for Walter Cunningham's pension payment on 22 April 1834, it is reasonable that that is how long it took for Ritchie to go from Harrison Co., Virginia to the pension office in Richmond to collect the money. Ritchie was still in Harrison Co. on 9 April, because on that date he swore before a Justice of the Peace in that county that he had not gotten the power of attorney by virtue of sale, transfer or mortgage of the pension or arrears. He may have remained in the area persuading other additional pensioners to give him their powers of attorney.
Probably Walter died sometime between 5 March 1834, when he signed the power of attorney, and 4 September 1834, the next time his pension was payable. If he had been alive on 4 September 1834, it is likely that Walter Cunnningham or his designated attorney would have applied for the payment. No one applied for pension arrears, so possibly some people have concluded on that basis that Walter died on the fifth of March. - Not familiar enough with the pension laws in effect in 1834-1835 to know whether they were even eligible to apply for arrears. By 1838 they were, but nobody applied on behalf of the estate of Walter Cunningham.
Walter married Hannah. (Hannah was born about 1757 and died on 30 Mar 1803 in Harrison County, WV.)
Walter next married Anne Randall on 24 Dec 1804 in Harrison County, VA.