Our Ancestors Speak
Letters from the Past



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This is a labor of love that began several years ago when my husband inherited the "Cunningham bed" from his Aunt, Miss Rennie Geoghegan.  She told us the history of the bed, that it was built by her great-great grandfather, Hugh Whitfield Cunningham and how it had passed down through his son, David Whitfield Cunningham to her grandmother, Lizzie Cunningham Vaughan and her mother, Rennie Vaughan Geoghegan.  She told us how Hugh built the bed for his bride, Sarah Ann May in 1837 as a wedding gift.  She told me her cousin, Bill Hadskey, had been searching for Hugh's roots for years.  I later attempted to contact Cousin Bill, but alas, too late.  Bill had passed on without ever finding out about our Hugh's parents or family.  Shortly after the gift of the bed, Aunt Rennie gave us David's family bible.  It was in very bad shape, but contained many fond memories including locks of hair, old obituaries, recipes cut from the newspaper, old tintypes and photographs and some old letters.  One of the obituaries was for a John Cunningham in Iowa.  I knew this person had to be a relative of some sort for Grandpa David to have kept it in the bible.  So I transcribed it and asked everyone I knew for information on this John.  No luck.  Finally after publishing our family tree at Rootsweb and Gencircles, a lady contacted me with the information that this John was her ancestor and that she was contacting me because she had letters that Grandpa David had written to her great-great-grandfather!  How thrilled I was!  At last a connection!  She sent me copies of all the letters and a copy of a photograph of her great-great-grandfather and her great-grandfather.  It was a copy of a picture that had been in Grandpa David's family bible! So I have decided to share this wonderful discovery with all of Hugh Whitfield Cunningham's descendants.  Have a wonderful time reading the letters and let me hear from you!


These pages are dedicated to:


Miji Ryan


 a great-great granddaughter of John Weir Cunningham,
who kept all the wonderful letters written to John and his family.
Without the letters we would never have found each other.


and to:


John William "Bill" Hadskey
1925 - 1999


Cousin Bill searched for almost 40 years for the family of our
 Hugh Whitfield Cunningham
and died without ever knowing who they were.
 It was his clues that got me to looking and trying to find Hugh's family.



But most of all, these pages are dedicated to:


The Ancestors


If they had not been such great correspondents
 and urged their children to keep in touch with family,
we would know very little about our ancestors.




"The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an
elderly person. "  (Andy Rooney)



"How can they know where they are going, if you don't teach them where they have been?"  (Cordelia Jane "Aunt Dee" Geoghegan, 1894-1987)



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