Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 351-52.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  William Cunningham

William Cunningham is proprietor of a garage and dealer in automobiles at Storm Lake, largely handling the Jackson car.  In this connection he has built up an extensive business which has already reached profitable proportions and which is constantly growing.  His birth occurred in Burlington, Wisconsin, in 1871, his parents being Patrick H. and Anna (Nagle) Cunningham, both of whom were natives of Burlington, where the father still lives at the age of sixty-two years.  He was a stock buyer for many years,  but is now proprietor of the Cunningham Auditorium, a summer resort at that place.  In the careful management of his business affairs he has gained a goodly measure of success and he has become well known in his community by reason of a progressive and public-spirited citizenship.  He votes with the republican party and for a number of years filled the office of sheriff of Racine county, discharging his duties with promptness and fidelity, he belongs to the Catholic church, of which his wife was also a communicant.  She died in 1876, leaving five children: Mary, the wife of Frank Beller, fire marshal and street commissioner of Burlington; Edward, a real-estate dealer in Newell, Iowa, and at the present time state representative; William, of this review; Catherine, now Mrs. Leonard Walker, of Berkeley, California; and Frank, who is engaged in railroading.  Following the death of his first wife Mr. Cunningham married Loretta Steinhoff, of Burlington, Wisconsin, and their three children are:  John, a stock buyer of Burlington, Wisconsin; Arthur, who is engaged in business with his brother John; and Loretta, who is a teacher of music and is at home.


In the public schools of his native town William Cunningham mastered the usual branches of English learning and later went to Chicago, where he secured employment.  Some time afterward he was made manager of a creamery at Burlington, Wisconsin, and then again went to Chicago, where he bought and sold horses at the stockyards.  His residence in Iowa dates from 1886, in which year he located at Newell, where he was engaged in stock dealing for two years.  On the expiration of that period he removed to Storm Lake, where he conducted an agricultural implement business until 1905.  In that year he went to California, where he remained for several months and on again coming to Iowa opened his automobile garage, where he handles different kinds of cars, making a specialty, however, of the Jackson.  His sales in 1907 amounted to forty-two thousand dollars and in connection with his sales department he conducts an extensive repair shop.


In 1900 Mr. Cunningham was married to Miss Blanche Inman, who was born in Benton, Iowa, in 1878, and is a daughter of John and Mary Demuth Inman, who came to Buena Vista county at an early period in its development and settled upon a farm in Nokomis township.  Mr. Cunningham belongs to the Catholic church; gives his political support to the republican party and is a member of the Commercial Men's Association.  There have been no unusual or exciting chapters in his life record, his course being marked by that steady progress which results from close application to business and the wise use of the opportunities which have come to him.