Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 348] The gentleman, whose name heads this sketch, is conspicuous and well known among the professional men of Lawrence County, who have attained success by adroit endeavor, close application and the constant practice of their profession. By carefully diagnosing his cases, and treating them with that skill, acquired by long years of constant study and varied practice, he has established a reputation for competency, which has redounded to his financial welfare. Ever since the war, Dr. Cunningham has been a steady resident of Wurtemberg, Perry township, and a leader among the practicing physicians. Our subject comes naturally by his taste for medical science, for his father was a physician before him, and practiced, like many another doctor of the old school in the early times, through the country a great deal, traveling about on horseback, and at times almost living in the saddle. The elder doctor possessed a kindly nature, and while he was very successful in his profession and attained to a comfortable estate, he did not place a barrier between himself and the less forunate in worldly goods; but, on the contrary, he was enabled by his position in life to alleviate much real suffering. Dr. Robert Cunningham was a Pennsylvanian, being born in Beaver County, although his father, Thomas, came first to Steubenville, Ohio, from across the sea in Ireland. Our subject's father married Miss Allison, daughter of James Allison of Beaver County, and these children lived to bear his name: Louisa, who became Mrs. Edward White; Addison, who married Miss Woods; Abelard, who married Miss Wallace, but who is now deceased; Julietta, deceased; Dewees, of whom more is to be said further on; Cecelia, who bcame [sic] the wife of Dr. Atwood; and Jennie, who married L. C. Kirker.

Dewees Cunningham began his existence March 6, 1842, and during the years of his boyhood obtained the rudiments of an education in the common schools of North Sewickley. This was followed with a course in the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, and he finally graduated from the Medical College of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1871. The Civil War of 1861-65 breaking out soon after he was ready to begin his professional career, Dr. Cunningham found a post of duty as assistant physician and surgeon, and remained steadfastly in the service of his country until the cessation of hostilities, and the complete victory of the Union. Returning from the scenes of carnage at the front, experienced and ready for work, he opened up a general practice in Wurtemberg, Perry township, where his superior qualifications as a physician afforded a broad foundation, on which a large practice was built. Dr. Cunningham is now because of the weight of his years practically retired, and enjoys the prestige he gained by many years of almost incessant work. He stands high among the members, of the medical fraternity, and is highly respected as a man of enterprise, who has been remarkably successful in his efforts He has imbued his sons with the healing instinct and a love for the profession, as the eldest, Dalton D., has graduated from the Dental College of Ohio, and has opened an office on Lawrence Avenue in Ellwood City, where he has splendid facilities and a large field for dental work. James Norman, the third child, and second son, is a student at Marion Simms Medical College of St. Louis, Mo., of which the next son, Robert B. is a graduate. Cora, the eldest daughter, and Ida and Gertrude Pearl, the fifth and sixth children, respectively, are living at home. One son, John D., is deceased. Mrs. Cunningham's maiden name was Catherine Smiley, and she was a daughter of William Smiley of Wayne township, Lawrence Co., Pa. The family are Presbyterians in religious belief. Dr. Cunningham early espoused the Republican cause in politics. Although his active career is now practically closed, his is the satisfaction of looking back over years of usefulness and thrilling incidents, such as occur only when human life hangs in the balance, and his is the privilege of being regarded as a personal benefactor by numberless friends, whom his skill has helped in some way or other.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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Updated: 26 May 2001