Adam Cunningham


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Catherine Unknown

Adam Cunningham

  • Born: 1714
  • Marriage: Catherine Unknown
  • Died: 1797, at age 83

bullet  General Notes:

This information about Adam Cunningham is a tiny part of the abundance of information in the book, "Adam and 500 More Cunninghams of the Valley of Virginia, c. 1734-c. 1800," by Betty Cunningham Newman, copyright 2000. All researchers of this family owe Betty a debt of gratitude for her meticulous research and the amazing chronological presentation of the facts that set the record straight, at long last. - The book is available at Heritage Books and many other book stores.

The first Adam Cunningham lived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia early in the records of that section. In a deposition given November 27, 1770 in the case of Jost Hite and Robert McCoy vs. Thomas Lord Fairfax and others, which case was originally filed in Williamsburg, Colony of Virginia, on October 10, 1749, Adam Cunningham stated he was 57 years old and had come to the Colony of Virginia about thirty years earlier. This would make his birth date circa 1713/14 and his arrival in Virginia about 1740."

The record reads: "The Deposition of Adam Cunningham aged fifty seven years. The Deponent being sworn saith that he came to this Colony about thirty years ago and that Joshua Job was at that time settled on the plantation whereon he now lives and further saith not. Adam Cunningham Sworn to this 27th November 1770 before James Wood."

Adam, his brother Walter, and Adam's son's Edward and John were all members of the colonial militia, headed by Capt. Henry Speer. On 27 Oct 1758 Adam was fined 20 shillings for missing one private and one general muster and again, on 1 Nov 1760, Adam was fined 50 shillings for missing one general and four private musters. Fines for missing muster were assessed on 17 Oct 1758 against Adam's brother Walter, against Adam's son Edward, and against many of their neighbors who were enrolled in Capt. Speer's company, including Moses McCoy, Joshua Job, Daniel Stover, Henry Harden, Larkin Pearpoint, Charles Thompson, Charles Ragon, John Odell, Robert Shirley, Edward Collins, William Hughes, John Daniel and William Daniel. Capt. Speer's assessment fine list of 1 Nov 1760 additionally included Moses McCoy, Zachariah McCoy and Walter Cunningham.

No record has been found that Adam Cunningham I served in a military capacity in the Revolutionary War, he undoubtedly being too old to be active militarily; however, Adam supported the war effort by providing supplies. On 27 Apr 1781, "Per Motion of Adam Cunningham he is allowed 15-0-5 (fifteen pounds, five pence) for the same and same order (For public service as (blurred) this day lodged which is ordered to be certified)" (Shenandoah County Order Book /78/-84, p. 24)

A lengthy list of public service claims in connection with the Revolutionary War effort were produced in the Shenandoah County Court on 29 Aug 1782 and ordered to be "certifyed" Adam Cuningham had two entries, one on page 12 for sundries for which he was allowed ten pounds, 11shillings and ten pence and another at page 14 for "26 diets" for which he was allowed 19 shillings The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution has accepted Adam Cunningham for inclusion in their list of patriots, although in 1993 they combined Adam and his son Adam II into one person.

Adam's brother, Walter Cunningham, died sometime between March and May 1781. On August 30, Ann Cunningham (assumed to be Walter's widow) and Adam Cunningham were granted letters to administrator Walter's estate.

On 1 Aug 1792, Adam, Walter (son), and Walter's wife, Hannah, mortgaged much of their real estate to Joseph Ruffner, as security for monies Ruffner loaned to them. Ruffner had advanced Adam and Walter one hundred fourteen pounds, five shillings and six pence. Additionally, Ruffner was surety for Walter on a replevy bond to Louis Durell in the amount of one hundred ten pounds, which bond was payable in March, 1793. To secure these loans, Adam, Walter and Hannah pledged the 197 acres of land Adam had purchased from the Parlours in 1765 and on which was built the grist mill, the 89 acres Fairfax granted Adam in 1779, the land Walter obtained by deed from Josiah Leath in 1784, and Walter's interest in a tract of land for which he had William Shaver's bond given to Edwin Young and assigned Walter (Shenandoah Co Deed Book 1, pp.7-74).

This mortgaged property was sold to Thomas Allen 23 Nov 1793 for 230 pounds more than owed to Ruffner. Ruffner, Adam and Walter signed their names and Hannah made an "X."

Although his place of interment cannot be proved, it seems certain that Adam died in the 1790s, after he signed the 1793 deed. No court record after this date was found in the records of Shenandoah, Harrison or Wood Counties, Virginia, bearing the name of the first Adam Cunningham, nor has any will or estate administration been found for Adam I.

Adam had five sons that can be documented, and possibly three more whose identification is more tenuous. He may have had daughters as well, but none are named in the records. The sons are: JOHN, WALTER, ADAM, THOMAS, EDWARD and, possibly, ROBERT, JOSEPH and WILLIAM.


Adam married Catherine Unknown. (Catherine Unknown died before 1792.)


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