Jonathan McDavid Cunningham
Contributor: Pat M. Mahan
JONATHAN McDAVID CUNNINGHAM, state senator from the first district, composed of Lauderdale and Limestone counties, was born in Lauderdale county, July 4, 1842. He is a son of Jonathan McDavid Cunningham, a native of Laurens district, S. C., born in 1806. He married Olivia Nance, who was born in Rutherford county, Tenn., in 1815. Her people were from North Carolina. The father of Jonathan McDavid Cunningham, Sr., was John Price Cunningham, a pioneer of Madison county, Ala., of Scotch ancestry, who settled in that county in 1818. He served in the legislature of Alabama in 1830. He removed to Lauderdale county in 1822, in which county he followed planting for the rest of his life. His son, Jonathan McDavid Cunningham, was engaged about ten years in making a re-survey of Alabama after the burning of the records at Huntsville, and he was subsequently county surveyor of Lauderdale county, In the meantime he was engaged in planting. He was married in Lauderdale county in 1834, and both he and his wife died in 1871, he in August, and she in September. They were the parents of three children, two of whom still survive. Of these two sons, Jonathan McDavid was the younger. He was reared on the farm and attended the country schools until the beginning of the war. He was mustered into the Confederate service in Florence, January 9, 1862, as first lieutenant of company I, Twenty-seventy Alabama infantry, Col. Jackson succeeding Col. Hughes, and served in that regiment until the close of the war, surrendering at Meridian, Miss., May 18, 1865. After the war he returned to Lauderdale county and engaged in farming. He was married in 1869 to Miss Susie P. Taylor, of Lauderdale county, In 1876 Capt. Cunningham was elected to represent the county of Lauderdale in the legislature, and was again elected in 1888 During this term of service he introduced the bill to increase the appropriation for public schools, and secured its passage, by which there was appropriated $100,000 in excess of the usual amount. In 1892 he was elected to the state senate to represent the first district. He was nominated by Lauderdale county and received 583 majority over his opponent at the primaries. Capt. Cunningham has seven children, and he and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, south.
Source: Memorial Record of Alabama. Vol. II. Brant & Fuller. Madison, Wis., 1893. p. 357 - 358]