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Judge Edwin Wilbur Cunningham

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Judge Edwin Wilbur Cunningham

  • Birth 31 Aug 1842 Clarksfield, Huron County, Ohio, USA
  • Death 16 Aug 1905 Boulder, Boulder County, Colorado, USA
  • Burial Emporia, Lyon County, Kansas, USA
  • Plot Section 3 - Lot 64 - Space 4
  • Memorial ID 59625067

From Who's Who in Topeka, 1905

Cunningham, Edwin W.--Born, Clarksfield, Huron Co. Ohio, Aug. 31, 1842; son of Hiram W. and Eunice (Brown) Cunningham; educated Hillsdale, Coll., B.S. '64, and M.S., '71; married Debora A. Rowland, Clarksfield, Ohio, March 12, 1867; to Kan. July, 1869; practiced law at Emporia until June, 1901; Justice Supreme Court since 1902. Office: State Capitol.

(Information provided by JH, #47836486.)

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From William Cutler's History of Kansas:

HON. E. W. CUNNINGHAM, attorney-at-law, has been engaged in the practice of his profession in Emporia, since July, 1869, having located in that place on the 6th of the month. He was associated for the first six months with W. W. Williams, real estate agent, attending to the law business of the firm; was afterwards with J. Jay Buck about two years; then in partnership with Judge Miller about a year, alone again for two years, and since November, 1876, has been in partnership with W. T, McCarty. He was elected Probate Judge in the fall of 1872 and re-elected to that office in 1874 and 1876, prior to this time having been Police Judge. He has also served on the Board of Education several years. Judge Cunningham was born in Clarksfield, Huron Co., Ohio, August 1, 1842. He attended Baldwin University at Berea, Ohio, and pursued his studies at Hillsdale, Mich., graduating in 1866. He read law with his brother in Urbana, Ill.; was admitted to the bar in June, 1869, and commenced practice in Emporia. He enlisted in July, 1862, in Company D. One Hundred and First Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in which he served until he was discharged for the purpose of being appointed Hospital Steward at the General Hospital, No. 8, at Louisville, where he remained one year. Prior to his removal to Kansas he had been engaged in teaching at Urbana, studying law at the same time. He was married at Clarksville, Ohio, March 12, 1867, to Debbie A. Rowland, a native of that place. Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham have buried one child and have four living - Maud, Mabel, Ella, and Ralph E.

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The Emporia Gazette, 17 Aug 1905, Thu, Pages 1 & 5

MR. CUNNINGHAM DEAD--End Came to Prominent Emporian Yesterday Afternoon at Boulder, Colorado

SICK FOR SEVERAL MONTHS--His Funeral Will Be Held Sunday--Judge Cunningham Was a Member of the Supreme Court of Kansas, and Was One of the Best Known and Best Loved Men in Emporia

Judge Edwin Wilbur Cunningham, one of the six justices of the Kansa Supreme Court, died yesterday afternoon at the sanitarium in Boulder, Colo. With him at the time of his death was his daughter, Miss Ella Cunningham. Judge Cunningham left here two months ago for Boulder. He had been suffering from a complication of diseases and his condition was thought to be serious. He began gaining at once on reaching Colorado, however, and until yesterday his recovery was hoped for. Yesterday he began sinking and died late in the afternoon. Miss Cunningham started home with the body from Boulder, this afternoon. It will reach here tomorrow at 12:15.

Judge Cunningham was appointed the associate justice of the Supreme Court by Governor Stanley in 1901, when membership of the court was increased from three to seven members by a constitutional amendment. In 1902 he was elected to the bench for a two year term and last fall was reelected for the six year term.

July Cunningham arrived in Emporia on the night of July 6, 1869. He, Captain and Mrs. McCarty and Mason McCarty, then a babe in arms, and J. B. Hinkle rode from Burlingame to Emporia in the same stage coach. Mr. Cunningham came alone and his wife and children followed a few days later. Mr. McCarty and Mr. Cunningham, who were law partners for fifteen years subsequent to 1876, became acquainted on the train running from Topeka and Burlingame, which was the western terminus of the Santa Fe at that time. Both men were in the dawn of their professional lives, both having decided to cast their lot in the new town of Emporia.

In the early 70's, Judge Cunningham was elected police judge three terms and was probate judge of Lyon County three terms. In 1876 he and Captain McCarty formed a partnership as Cunningham and McCarty. Fifteen years later they dissolved the partnership. Prior to Judge Cunningham's appointment to the Supreme Court bench he was a law partner of R. M. Hainer.

As a professional man, he was as conscientious as he was shrewd, and held the highest esteem of his professional associates as well as of the acquaintances and friends he met in church and social circles. For thirty-five years he was superintendent of the First Methodist Sunday School, and even after he took up his duties in the (page 5) Supreme Court, he rarely missed a Sunday as a superintendent. Judge Cunningham was one of the exception-characters who carried into his every day life and works, the religion he advocated on the Sabbath. His kindly smile and hearty handshake gave him a strong personality that won friends and held them. Judge Cunningham was ever optimistic in his views, and in his home and out of it, he showed only the bright side of life. Even in his last sickness, after he was compelled to give up his work at Topeka and was confined to his bed for many weeks, no one ever heard him complain. He always insisted he was "a little better," each time the doctor called. The last sickness told on the judge's physique, and when he left Emporia two months ago he weighed only ninety pounds. He gained three pounds there but a recent relapse reduced his weight to what it was when he left here. He told his physician that prior to his last sickness he had taken no medicine for eighteen years, although he was not always in good health.

Judge Cunningham had been a member of the Lyon County bar for thirty-six years. A meeting of the Bar Association will be held this afternoon to draw up the customary resolutions and arrange for the funeral. The judge was a member of the local order of Masons.

Edwin W. Cunningham was born in Clarksfield, Huron County, Ohio, in 1842. Clarksfield was a frontier town then and his life was that of a frontiersman. In 1862 he enlisted in the One Hundred and First Ohio regiment and served two years as a private. He was the youngest member of his company, not being quite 20 years old. In 1864 he entered the Hillsdale College and was graduated un 1866, after which he taught two years in that place. Directly after this, he began reading law in Urbana, Ill. He married Miss Delby [sic] Rolland, the daughter of a family of high standing, in 1867 at his old home in Clarksfield.

Judge Cunningham was an ardent supporter of the prohibitory law and was a member of the state Temperance Union. He was a director in the Emporia Citizen's Bank.

If the Supreme Court were in session, all of the associate judges would attend the funeral but the court is now in vacation and all but one of the judges are away from home. It is not known how many of them will attend the funeral.

Judge Cunningham is survived by his wife, two sons, Ralph and Wilbur, and three daughters, Mrs. Mabel Dudgeon, of Madison, Wis., who arrived here this afternoon; Mrs. Maud Cunningham, of Buffalo, N.Y.; and Miss Ella Cunningham, of Emporia. Besides, he has a brother, Judge J. O. Cunningham, and a half-brother, J. C. Shelton, of Urbana, Ill.; and a sister, Mrs. Olive Fisher, of Emporia.

The funeral will be held next Sunday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock at the First Methhodist Church, Rev. John H. Price officiating. A private service will be held at the house prior to the one at the church.


Family Members


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  • Maintained by: Becky Doan
  • Originally Created by: Diana Staresinic-Deane
  • Added: 4 Oct 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 59625067
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Judge Edwin Wilbur Cunningham (31 Aug 1842–16 Aug 1905), Find A Grave Memorial no. 59625067, citing Maplewood Memorial Lawn Cemetery, Emporia, Lyon County, Kansas, USA ; Maintained by Becky Doan (contributor 46821009) .