A Narrative History of The People of Iowa


JOHN CUNNINGHAM came to Humboldt County, Iowa, in early manhood, and the people of that county have known him successively as a farmer, teacher, county official, attorney an din numerous other public relationships, all of which have brought him a degree of respect and esteem paid to few other citizens of the county.
Mr. Cunningham was born in La Salle County, Illinois, February 28, 1870.  His father, James Cunningham, was a native of Ireland, came to the United States when seventeen years of age, and in La Salle County, Illinois, was a teacher for some years and later a farmer. He married Anna Anderson, who survives him and is living in South Dakota.  John Cunningham was one of a family of five children.  He received his early school advantages in La Salle County, Illinois, afterwards attended the Northern Illinois Normal School at Dixon and his first occupation after coming to Iowa was teaching.  He taught school in Humboldt and Webster counties from 1891 to 1893.  After giving up school work he was a farmer in Beaver Township, Humboldt County, for five years.  He had those qualities that bring a man into public and community affairs whether he desires such responsibilities or not.  While living in the country he was elected township assessor of Beaver Township, also served as township trustee and as a school director.  His public career took on a broader phase when he was elected county auditor, in 1900, serving in that office in 1908.  While holding the office of county auditor he took up the study of law, studying in the office of D. F. Coyle and also in the law school at Humboldt College, of which he is a graduate.  He has been a qualified member of the Humboldt County Bar since 1907/  Following his two terms as county auditor he was county attorney from 1908 to 1915 and again held that office from 1924 to 1928.  Mr. Cunningham has also been mayor of Humboldt and a member of the city council and for eight years president of the Humboldt School Board.  During the World war he was secretary of the local draft board.

He is an active Republican, a member of the Congregational Church, is affiliated with the Masonic Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Modern Woodmen of America.

Mr. Cunningham married Ann Johnson, born in Beaver Township, Humboldt County, daughter of C. K. and Elsie (Braland) Johnson.  Her father, now deceased, was a Union soldier in the Civil war with an Illinois regiment.  Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham have a family of eight children:  Lawrence, who is married and has three children; Charlotte, wife of A. Eastack; Pearl, wife of C. P. Simmons; Arthur, in the automobile business at Humboldt, married Genevieve Thompson; Theodore and Esther are unmarried; John is a student of law at George Washington University, Washington, D. C.; and Irene is attending the University of Minnesota.


~ source: A Narrative History of The People of Iowa with SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY, BUSINESS, ETC., by EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M. Curator of the Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa Volume IV THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc. Chicago and New York. 1931
~ transcribe by Debbie Clough Gerischer for the Great War