Cunningham Family Comments and Queries

From Linda Edwards
April 6, 1998


Dear Mr. Carney:
I apologize for taking so long to respond to your e-mail of 4/3/98–however, I was
absolutely ecstatic to see all the recorded information you have offered on your wonderful
website!  I have been enjoying it for days and it has inspired me to go take an HTML
class so I can develop a similar site devoted to the Cunninghams–my branch, that is!
Directly to the point, there is no record in any of our family history of a Katie
Cunningham.  I am directly descended from the “William Cunningham, M.D.”,
“William C. Cunningham, M.D./Health Officer line of Cunninghams.  In going
through the records posted on your website, I have a very significant question to ask of
you.  Are you aware that WILLIAM C. CUNNINGHAM, M.D. (Health Officer)(my Great,
Great-Grandfather), also was MAYOR of  Bay City, Michigan elected in 1901 on the
Democratic ticket?  Following his term, he was then appointed to the Board of Health
and finally served as the City Health Officer.  Another thing that I question about
the City Records you posted on your web site, is why do they not indicate the fact that he
had been the Mayor?  It clearly lists him as being a Physician and serving on the
Board of Health, yet no mention is made of him holding the office of Mayor?
His father was William(mnu) Cunningham, M.D., mother-Helen McLean and siblings: Archibald
(mnu) Cunningham, D.D.S., Robert(mnu) Cunningham, D.D.S., Walter C. Cunningham, D.D.S.,
John (mnu) Cunningham, (employed by the Second National Bank), Grace Helen Cunningham
(Stenographer), and Elizabeth R. Cunningham.
Mayor William C. Cunningham’s wife was Jane Amelia Waters Cunningham and their children
were Daisy Cunningham Lemon, Walter Waters Cunningham (City Manager of Bay City and my
Grandfather), and Allen David Cunningham (who as a young man was an Usher at a local
Therefore, I hope you can appreciate my excitement when you contacted me and led me to all
of these wonderful documents!  Our Cunningham family tree is located at as well as
‘reproductions of newspaper articles from the Bay City Times’ that I have submitted to the
Clan Cunningham web site.
My desire has always been to return someday to Bay City and obtain copies of any documents
pertaining to my Great-Grandfather’s election to the office of Mayor, newspaper articles,
etc.  However, finances have never permitted that and are not likely to in the future
since I am now permanently disabled with an incurable circulatory disease which will only
worsen with time.  Would it be too much to ask of you to give me some ‘guidance’ as
to where and how I may obtain any of these City Government records pertaining to my
I truly wish to thank you for placing the History of Bay City on your web site, as well!
Last Fall I published our family history in a two-volume set of books which I
presented to all living family members.  How I wish I had known of the city’s history
at that time, as I would definitely have included it in those books.
Mr. Carney, if I wouldn’t be too much of a bother, I would truly like to keep in touch
with you periodically and would be very appreciative of any suggestions and guidance you
can provide me with. Please do check out ‘our’ Cunningham Family Tree as well as the
historical items I’ve submitted to the Clan Cunningham web site.  Though we may not
be directly related, it is often said “we are ALL related simply because we are
members of the same clan”!  I think you will find the clan’s history interesting
as well, and hopefully may put you in touch with other Cunninghams who may have
information for you on Katie Cunningham.  The Clan Cunningham site has a wonderful
Message section and you will find the people very eager to answer any questions you may
have and share any information with you.  I hope you will respond to this message, as
I was so happy to hear from you and would really like to continue ‘corresponding’ with you
periodically in the future. I will look forward to a return response from you, and once
more, THANK YOU!!
Most Sincerely,
Linda E. Edwards




From Linda Edwards
April 10, 1998


Dear Bill: (If I may call you that?)


Received your e-mail and was very happy with your responses to my


With regard to my great-grandfather being the Mayor of Bay City, we
have the original article from the Bay City Times, but were unaware that one also appeared
in the Bay City Tribune. In fact, my Mom was not even aware of the Bay City Tribune.
Therefore, if and when you have a spare moment, could you please send us a photocopy of
that article from the ‘Tribune’?


We both found it quite interesting that the position of Mayor is
considered a “part-time” job, since most large cities (i.e.: San Diego, L.A.,
etc.) now have Mayor’s who are responsible for full-time duties and who also receive an
annual salary. In theory, this also explains why ‘family lore’ holds that my
great-grandfather was never wealthy and died penniless. We can only surmise that he
continued to practice medicine while holding the office of Mayor, and we do know that his
usual payment for medical care came in the form of a chicken, a bag of potatoes–that kind
of remuneration. Likewise, we would be most interested in any listings from soundexes that
you may have on the Cunninghams. Could you please explain how one goes about transcribing
a soundex? Soundexes are not used too frequently here in California. Also, is there
anything I could do for you in that area to assist you in transcribing them? I am no
longer employed so have plenty of time to devote to genealogy, etc. If there is ‘anything’
I could do to assist you, please let me know, as I am most willing to help in any way.


Thank you for the information on the Bay County Historical Museum. If
you are able to secure the name of the volunteer who is a genealogist, I will immediately
contact him and see if he can provide me with additional information and perhaps some
documents. I certainly appreciate the help you have offered with regard to books in the
State Library and will be most grateful for any information you may be able to secure for
me. You are quite right in saying “too bad he wasn’t a Republican,”–my thoughts
were exactly the same when I read of your affiliation with the Republican party. In that
regard, it was unfortunate that he was a Democrat!!


I did research the web site containing the political
cemeteries–however, again there is no listing for him. However, the site also invites
people to submit information regarding family members who held political office. Thus,
that will be my project for next week–compiling all information I have available and
submitting it to that web site. We already have his Death Certificate and know where he is
buried, so will be able to provide that site with complete information. Also, I have a
cousin residing in Wisner, MI, who may be able to go to the cemetery where he is buried
and photograph his headstone. Though we have all of the ‘vital’ information on his death,
we do not know what is inscribed on the headstone, which would be of great interest to us.


Also, you can access my other dissertations on the Cunninghams both
here and in Scotland by accessing My information was placed
on that site a year ago and still remains there today. When you access the site, click on
the Cunningham name and it will take you directly to the Cunningham Clan page where you
will find my writings listed at the bottom. If nothing else, they are historically valid
and make for interesting reading.


Additionally, you will learn from those writings that my
great-grandfather Cunningham accomplished the following in his life (in addition to being
Mayor of Bay City): a) He studied Law and graduated from the University of Michigan; b) He
later studied medicine at the U of M; c) he published and edited a newspaper publication
in Bay City called “The Northern Lights”; d) He later moved his family to
Alpena, Michigan where he practiced law, published and edited a newspaper called the
“Alpena Evening Echo”, and served as a member of the Alpena School Board; e) He
also was appointed Land Commissioner when the Oklahoma Territory was opened; f) and
finally served as a U.S. Marshal in Oklahoma. All of these things preceded his service as
Mayor of Bay City and as Health Officer in Bay City. I have often said that for a man who
lived a mere 50 years, he certainly managed to get around the country a lot and accomplish
a great deal in the process!


Finally, I have one last favor to ask of you–the next time you are in
Bay City would it be possible for you to see if you can find any copies of “The
Northern Lights” newspaper published by my great-grandfather or at least where I can
obtain some? He was the Editor and Publisher, while his daughter, Daisy Cunningham Lemon
did all of the artwork, illustrations, charicatures, as well as write poetry and short
stores for publication. Initially, we had one or two of the original copies of the paper,
however, they were unavoidably destroyed. We have never been able to secure any copies
since then. I will also check with the Bay County Historical Museum on this subject; but,
if you can be of any assistance, it would be greatly appreciated.


Well, Bill, I wish to say at this point that I am very happy to have
made your acquaintance and look forward to some enjoyable and informative ‘conversation’
with you in the days to come. I personally never lived in Bay City, nor did my
Mother–however, she professes to this day at the age of 77 that there is still a
lingering ‘pull’ in her heart for that town! Thus we are fully able to appreciate how you
feel about it and that it truly will always be your “home”. It is unfortunate
that you must leave your home in Lansing; however, most cities today seem to be getting
far too dangerous to live in.


From what you mentioned in your e-mail, it sounds as if your job and
the party keep you quite busy and on the run. I imagine that’s very exciting and
beneficial to your future to be affiliated in such a way. Seems as it could be a precursor
to an excellent political future for you should you decide to take that road. In such a
case, I certainly wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors along that line.


Must end this now–it’s length has gotten out of hand and imagine
you’re fast asleep by now! Again, thank you so much for answering my first message so
promptly and please don’t worry about priorities with respect to my messages. I fully
appreciate your job position and the demands that must be made on you as I have recently
(and ‘unwillingly’!) retired after 38 years of middle-management employment. I will be
here, Bill–so, answer me when you can, O.K.?


Take care and I look forward to hearing from you whenever you have a
moment to drop me a quick message.




Linda Edwards