SOUTH CAROLINIANA LIBRARY
UNIVERSITY SOUTH CAROLINIANA SOCIETY
MANUSCRIPTS DIVISION 2001
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Papers of the Cunningham, Green, Walker, Jackson, and Smith Families, 1795-1974
William Cunningham arrived in Greenville District almost immediately after the Revolutionary War with several other families from Culpeper County, Va., including Greens. A number of pre-Civil War land transfers signify the connection between them. The two families were united by the marriage of William Cunningham's son William (1774-1853) and Nancy Green (1781-1830) in 1801; their son William (1804-1879) married Mary Montgomery (1808-1892) in 1828. These families figure prominently among the seven hundred ninety-three manuscripts and five volumes in this collection.
Land papers, receipts, and bills of sale for slaves are among the earliest documents. In 1810 William Cunningham pur-chased Guy from the Feagan family for £115. Knotley was purchased from Fielding Suddeth in 1822 for $330. There is only one family letter (14 May 1819) for this period-from Enoch Cunningham in Tennessee to William Cunningham, Pleasant Grove, Greenville District. Enoch regretted the great distance that separated the family, expressed concern for their sister Sally who apparently was in poor health, and inquired "how you have fixed it concerning being security...which gives me a good deal of uneasiness which if there was any way to rescue myself...I would do it." Enoch related that he had purchased a 295-acre tract of land at $6.74 an acre on Dry Creek, eleven miles north of Nashville. With this purchase his hold-ings totaled 495 acres. There were eleven in his family-seven whites and four blacks.
An anonymous account (October-November 1823) of a journey "to hiwassey" may have been written by William Cunningham. The journal does not reveal the purpose of the trip; however, it indicates that there was more than one person on the journey and that they were traveling by wagon. Expenses are recorded for meals, turnpike tolls, and ferriage. The first entry notes-"We campt the other side of Pickensville and thence on by pendleton Courthouse." Journeying farther from Athens, Ga., they stayed with a "Mr gardenhire" and "went on [to] sweet water valy and then...we struck fork creek and continued on to Monroe Courthouse." Their itinerary also carried them to "blunt County" and through the mountains of East Tennessee and eventually to "buncomb Courthouse [Asheville, N.C.?]" and back home from there.
The Cunninghams were members of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. An 1833 deed of Hugh Bailey conveys 1.6 acres of land to the church as a site for a new meeting house. The deed also specified that the church was "to permit any other denomination of Christian Ministers to preach in said Meeting House at any time, not interfering with stated meetings of said Church, which is not to exceed two Sabbaths in each month." Other documents relating to Pleasant Grove Church include lists of subscribers and amounts paid to the Board of Missions for the Tyger River Association, receipts and expenditures of the Domestic Missionary Society, a list of subscribers and amounts paid "for the support of G.W. Brooks for his services in 1856" as pastor, and an 1888 roll of the membership.
William Cunningham served as a magistrate in Greenville District. In proceedings at his home on 24 October 1843 he presided in the case of "Elizabeth Bailey as a Landlord vs James B. Shields." Another case, 5 May 1846, concerned Willis, "a negro fellow belonging to Joseph James," who was charged with and found guilty of stealing S.R. Hawkins' corn. Other documents concerning Negro slaves include a mortgage (18 January 1845) of Maria who was acquired by Josiah Kilgore to satisfy James Madison's debt of $158. A Charleston merchant, John McDowell, owned land in Greenville District, and his name appears in several deeds. There is also a codicil (7 November 1820) to his will emancipating "my wench Phillis" and granting her $20 and awarding $350 to "my faithful servant boy...for his own proper use and benefit or to be applied towards his emancipation should he so wish it."
William Cunningham, Sr., died in 1853. His son William and Washington Taylor were executors of his estate. Their account with the estate is dated 1853-1855. The "Bill of Appraisement" and "Sale Bill" were executed in October and November 1853. William Cunningham also served as executor of the estate (1858) of James Green. The collection contains very little documentation for the period of the Civil War, but there is a certificate (2 May 1864) for the seven shares of stock that William Cunningham purchased in the Columbia & Greenville Railroad Co. A promissory note to A.B. Cunningham dated 22 July 1865 has a list of Negroes and their ages on the reverse side.
The connection between the Cunningham and Walker families occurred in 1886 with the marriage of Mary Margaret Cunningham (1865-1940) and Tandy Austin Walker (1858-1923). Walker operated a dry goods business in Greenville and often wrote his wife and daughter while on buying trips in the North and South.
One of the nine children was Grace (b. 1896) who achieved an outstanding record at Greenville City High School as indicated in reports of 11 September 1911 and 16 September 1912. After graduation she enrolled in Greenville Female College and began a courtship with William F. Jackson from Toomsboro, Ga., who was attending Massey Business College in Richmond, Va. In a letter to "Dracy," 7 June 1913, he encouraged her to address him as Will rather than as Mr. Jackson-"Now little Dracy wont you do me this favor from now on call me anything besides Mr., or if you can't, give me your reasons."
The correspondence continued as Bill Jackson began work with the cotton brokerage firm of Cooper & Griffin. He joined the navy in 1917 and spent the following two years in training in Philadelphia, Newport, R.I., and Norfolk, Va. During this period Grace was teaching school in Greenville. Jackson remained stateside until September 1918 when he sailed for England where he remained only a short time.
Following his release from the service in 1919, Jackson spent some time on his family's farm in Georgia before resuming employment with Cooper & Griffin. Grace spent the summer of 1919 on a trip to Maine, and Bill Jackson's letters tell of tennis games, dances, a trip to the mountains, and work-related activities. Grace Walker and Bill Jackson were married in December 1922.
In the 1940s W.F. Jackson served on the board of trustees of the Greenville City Schools. Board minutes and financial reports document his service from 1945 through 1950.
The Jackson's first child died at birth in 1925. A daughter Grace was born in 1930. She married Roy McBee Smith in 1951. Letters to her parents and then to her mother after her father's death in 1953 cover the period of their life at Fort Bragg, N.C., followed by Roy McBee Smith's career as a law student at the University of South Carolina.
In addition to the above families, the collection also contains genealogi-cal information on the Prince, Vernon, Earle, and Montgomery families of Greenville and Spartanburg counties.
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