I have just discovered a new branch and several new surnames on my grandmother’s line.
My 5th great-grandfather was Nathaniel Cunningham of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The “shaky leaves” on Ancestry.com take this line back to 17th century Boston, which will be interesting if it turns out to be true because I have no other New England connections on my father’s side that I know of. So far, they have all come to America through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. But I am reserving judgment on this line until I can research it further. The connection to Nathaniel, however, is proven by this will.
This line goes as follows: Lucy Jewell Smith < Mollie Irene Sumner < Mary Jane Thompson < Levi Reuben Thompson <Susan E. Rives < Jane H. Cunningham < Nathaniel Cunningham.
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, 26 October 1830.
In the name of God amen. I Nathaniel Cunningham of the County of Mecklenburg and State of North Carolina taking into consideration the frailty and _____ of this mortal life, and knowing it is allotted for all men to die, being weak in body but of sound and disposing mind & memory, _______ belonging to God for the ____ do make & ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following:
1st I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Winnefred Darnall four hoggs the largest of my stock, forty bushels of ____, one feather bed & furniture & my Chest of Drawers forever.
2nd My two negroes Sandy & Rash (?) I will to be sold & the money arising from ____ Sale I will to be equally divided among my three Daughters Winnifred Darnall, Elizabeth Robinson, & Jane H. Rives each to have an equal Share forever.
3rd I lend to my son Elijah Cunningham the Plantation wherein I now live together with all my Land and my Stock of any Disposition, my waggon and farming utensils & other tools of any description and the remainder of my house hold and Kitchen furniture that is not above willed together with all my Crop, and all the rest reserve or remainder of my property of what was _____ Lewis except what I deed ____ to my Grand Daughter Elizabeth M.A. Cunningham in a deed of Gift after the paying of all my Just Debts.
I also appoint Elijah Cunningham acting agent for his Children during his life to ______ the business for them in any way or manner he may think most advisable for their advantages, and after his death whatever property he may not have in his hand of in raising supporting & educating his Children I will it to be sold and the money arising from ____ sales to be equally divided among all his Children at his death the shared property being __ truly willed for the use of my son Elijah Cunningham’s Children no part of it nor the Crop that is raised on the Land can be taken to pay my said Just Debts.
4th and Lastly I name to & appoint my friend Benjamin Palmer of South Carolina & my son Elijah Cunningham Executors to his my last Will and Testament ____ revoking all former wills by me made in _______ Whereof I have set my hand & Seal this twenty sixth day of October in this year of our Lord one Thousand and Eight Hundred and Thirty.
My daughter Winnifred Darnall is to live in the house where Elijah lives.
Nathaniel Cunningham (large signature, no X)
In presence of us
Later note: The two slaves mentioned in the will, Sandy and Rachael, were sold on 22 March 1831 to William Rives, very likely the same William Rives who married Nathaniel’s daughter Jane, thereby keeping them in the family.