Descendants of John CUNNINGHAM (to contribute information, please email

First Generation

1. John CUNNINGHAM was born about 1791 in Co. Limerick. He died on 18 Oct 1887 in Church St., Listowel, Co. Kerry. He was buried in Murhur Cemetery, Moyvane, Co. Kerry.

My Cunningham family is connected to the family of John above but I have been unable so far to establish exactly how. Several Cunningham relatives of mine who were related to Bishop John Cunningham of Concordia, Kansas, who was a son of John above, followed the bishop in entering religious life in Kansas. Could John possibly have been a brother of Myles (my great-great-great-grandfather) and Daniel Cunningham, both of whom lived in Kilbaha, Moyvane, Co. Kerry in the 19th century? All three appear to have named their eldest son Bryan, suggesting that all three had a father named Bryan (it was common at the time to name the eldest son after his paternal grandfather). Furthermore, Myles and Daniel's Cunningham family had Limerick origins, as had the family of John above.  

John appears to have moved with his young family from Co. Limerick to a farm (possibly located near Irremore church) in Irremore or Mountcoal, near Listowel, Co. Kerry. At some point the family was evicted from this farm.

John died at the age of 96, according to his obituary in the Kerry Sentinel of 21 October 1887, although a family source has told me he was 86 years of age when he died. The obituary also tells us he died "at the house of Mr. John Troy, T.O., where he resided a considerable time, being Mrs. Troy's uncle. The funeral was a splendid one, all the respectable inhabitants attending. The coffin, which was a beautiful oaken one, was conveyed to the place of interment in a hearse, where his gransdon, the Rev. J. Cunningham [who died in 1885], was interred not very long since." It therefore appears that John's fortunes had changed considerably since the time of the family's eviction decades before.

The obituary goes on to say the chief mourners were "Messrs John Troy, T.O., J. Nolan, J. Harrington [presumably John's son-in-law John Harrington], J. Cunningham, Kilbaha, B. Cunningham, do. [presumably one of the three Bryan Cunninghams in Kilbaha whom we know of and who were alive at the time]".

Regarding the statement in the obituary that John was an uncle of Mrs. Troy, this is in fact untrue as the Irish Census Search Forms of 1851 (used by the Irish government to prove the age of people who were applying for the Old Age Pension and who were born before Civil Registration began in 1864) show that Mrs. Bessie Troy's mother was Ann Thornton and not a Cunningham. Perhaps John was a more distant relative of Bessie's than an uncle, or perhaps John's connection to Bessie was through his wife, Kate Fitzgerald. Any help in identifying the exact relationship between John and Bessie would be appreciated. Please email Thank you.

John married Catherine (Kate) FITZGERALD. Catherine died in possibly 1840s in probably Irremore, Listowel, Co. Kerry.

They had the following children.

+ 2 F i Ellen CUNNINGHAM was born about 1818. She died on 17 Jun 1919.
+ 3 M ii Bryan Patrick CUNNINGHAM was born on 20 Dec 1828. He died on 29 Dec 1910.
  4 M iii
Patrick CUNNINGHAM was born in Co. Limerick; or Listowel, Co. Kerry. He died in Kansas City, Missouri.

Patrick emigrated to Kansas City in 1862.
+ 5 M iv James CUNNINGHAM was born about 1832. He died in 1900.
  6 F v
Mary CUNNINGHAM was born in Co. Limerick; or Listowel, Co. Kerry. She died in Weston, Kansas.
+ 7 M vi Daniel CUNNINGHAM was born in Mar 1841.
  8 F vii
Bridget CUNNINGHAM was born in Feb 1840 in Co. Limerick; or Listowel, Co. Kerry. She died in probably Kansas.

Bridget emigrated to the United States in 1861.

According to the 1890 census Bridget and her husband, Pat, were living in Utica, New York. By the time of the 1900 census Bridget and Pat were living in Freedom, Kansas. The 1900 census also tells us that the couple had had one child who was no longer living.
Bridget married Patrick (Pat) DEVEREUX. Patrick was born in Mar 1837 in Ireland.
+ 9 F viii Margaret CUNNINGHAM was born about 1841. She died after 31 Mar 1901.
  10 M ix
John Francis CUNNINGHAM was born on 21 Sep 1842 in Irremore or Mountcoal, Lixnaw, Co. Kerry. He died on 23 Jun 1919 in Concordia, Kansas. He was buried in Nazareth Motherhouse Cemetery, Concordia, Kansas.

According to family sources John was sent to the United States at the age of 12 following the eviction of the family from their farm in Mountcoal, Listowel. However, The Kerryman newspaper tells us in its edition of 30 October 1915 that John emigrated to the States at the age of 18 with his parents. His parents in fact remained in Ireland but it does appear that John emigrated around the age of 18 as the U.S. census of 1900 census gives his year of emigration as 1860. His eldest brother, Bryan, who was about 14 years his senior, also emigrated to the U.S. in 1860 so it is possible that, rather than emigrating with his parents, John went to the U.S. with Bryan and his family, who lived initially in Atchison, Kansas, where John studied for the priesthood, at St. Benedict's College. John was ordained a priest at St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1865, and at the time of his father's death in 1887 he was Vicar General of Leavenworth, Kansas. In 1898 he was consecrated Bishop of Concordia in Leavenworth.

Apparently John encouraged his brothers and sisters who remained in Ireland to move to Kansas, and eventually six of his eight siblings were settled there. He was also successful in encouraging other relatives from Co. Kerry to come to Kansas to enter religious life. Several did so, including:

Fr. John Fitzgerald (dates of birth and death unknown), a first cousin of John's
Fr. William Fitzgerald (1842-1881), a brother of Fr. John above
Fr. Michael M. Mulvihill (born 1888), a cousin of John's (exact type unknown)
Sr. Ann Joseph (Mary Ann) Mulvihill (1894-1992), a sister of Fr. Michael above)
Fr. Daniel B Mulvihill (1896-1972), a brother of Fr. Michael and Sr. Ann Joseph above
Sr. Mary Ellen (Johanna) Cunningham (1895-1989), a cousin of John's (exact type unknown)
Sr. Mary Estelle (Margaret) Cunningham (1898-1987), a sister of Sr. Mary Ellen above
Fr. Patrick Cronin (1897-1973), a grandnephew of John's
Fr. Michael Moran (1899-1983), a cousin of John's (exact type unknown)
Fr. Daniel B Mulvihill (1927-2006), a nephew of Fr. Michael, Sr. Ann Joseph and Fr. Daniel above

According to his obituary in The Kerryman newspaper of 12 May 1934 Bishop Cunningham had a relative (exact type unspecified) named Sr. Agnes Flynn of Main St., Abbeyfeale, who died in Topeka, Kansas in 1934 following eight years of illness. I have not been able to establish exactly how the Flynns and Cunninghams were connected but here is some information on the Flynn family from Sr. Agnes's obituary:

Sr. Agnes was born on 11 January 1860 in Abbeyfeale and went to Kansas in 1880. Two years later she entered the Sisters of Charity convent. She was primarily a teacher and spent a period of time teaching the children of silver and gold miners in "two [states] in the Rocky Mountain region". She also worked in hospitals and was superioress of St. John's Hospital, Leavenworth, Kansas and St. Vincent's Hospital in Billings, Montana.

There were four siblings of Sr. Agnes's mentioned in the obituary: her brother, John, of Tarbert, Co. Kerry and three sisters who were also members of the Sisters of Charity order: Sr. Anacleta of St. Mary's College, Leavenworth, Sr. Mary Joseph of Immaculata High School, Leavenworth and Sr. Mary Evangelist of Annunciata High School, Denver, Colorado. In an account of the Golden Jubilee celebrations in Leavenworth of both Sr. Agnes and Sr. Anacleta in The Kerryman two years earlier, in 1932, we are told that among the attendees were their brothers William and James, sisters Mary Flynn and Mrs. William Blake, and cousin Rev. John Fitzgerald. This perhaps indicates that these relatives lived in the United States; and because Bishop Cunningham's mother was a Fitzgerald perhaps Sr. Agnes and the bishop were related through the Fizgeralds. The newspaper account of the jubilee celebrations also tells us that "other cousins from Ireland included William and Rodney McAuliffe and Miss Mary McAuliffe" and that four sisters of Sr. Agnes and Sr. Anacleta entered the Sisters of Charity order in Leavenworth, although we have names of only two (Mary Flynn and Mrs. William Blake, mentioned above).

We also know of another relative of John's, a Sr. Mary Felicitas McAuliffe (C.1889-1959) who was from Kansas and presumably related to the McAuliffes mentioned above.

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