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This page last updated on September 6, 2006

Cuningham Cemetery
Location: Location: NW corner of the County on Cunningham Road near the NC-VA border
Directions: NC 57 to Semora (Caswell County), right on NC 119. Go 0.5 mile and turn right on Cunningham Road. Follow Cunningham Road (back into Person County) past Barker Road (SR 1319) on the left, SR 1373 on the left, and SR 1321 on the right. The topographic map shows the cemetery approximately 0.6 miles past SR 1321 on the left. (And approximately 0.5 miles before the NC-VA border.) I have not field checked these directions nor have I actually visited the cemetery (yet). Based on the location on the topographic map, I suspect that this cemetery is not adjacent to the road and thus on private property. Note that the former Atlantic and Danville Railroad followed on the North side of this portion of Cunningham Road from Semora to Cunningham.
GPS Coordinates: 363222N, 0790441W
GIS: Record number
1349, Tax map A12 5, PIN: 9071-04-72-2719.000
Survey:  WPA Cemetery Survey. Late 1930s.


The listing of graves below is from the WPA Cemetery survey. The comments are from "The Cuningham Family and the Waverly Plantation, Heritage of Person County, Volume I, Article 861. The information posted by Larry Brandon (below) is a subset of this article.

Given Name





Martha Helen Cuningham 10-29-1837 12-19-1885 Martha Helen Somerville from Warrenton, wife of John Wilson Cuningham.
John W. Cuningham 2- 6-1820 7-15-1887 John Wilson Cuningham. First child of Alexander Cuningham and Patsey Wilson. Bought Waverly after the death of his parents. Served in the Legislature and was a Trustee for UNC.
Otelia Carrington Cuningham ?- -1867 - -1934  
John Somerville Cuningham ?- -1861 - -1922  
Rev. Herbert B. Cuningham 2-1- 1876 5-20-1916  
Jean Gordon Cuningham 7-19-1902 16-17-1903  
Martha Packard Cuningham 2- 4-1899 8-27-1900  
Richard Cuningham 3-26-1852 11-10-1884  
Frank Cuningham ? 7-31-1878  
Charlie Cuningham ? 7-31-1878  
Alexander Cuningham 2-27-1776 10-12-1849 Purchased the home site I 1799.


Spelling - Cunningham or Cuningham?

I stumbled upon the question of the proper spelling of the surname. The WPA survey spells the surname as "Cunningham." Other sources, such as the Heritage of Person County and Sturat Wright's Historical Sketch of Person County also use Cunningham, however, the ownership of the property is listed as Meriwether Cuningham Trustee.

Larry Brandon Post

Larry Brandon's post to the Person County Message Board on March 8, 2001 provides background information about the Cunningham Store. The entire post is repeated here.

Alexander Cuningham of Petersburg, Va (1776 -1849) was the owner of Cunningham Store in Person County. His father was also named Alexander Cuningham and was from Edinburgh, Scotland. He ran a wholesale merchandise business in Petersburg, Va with his brother Richard. and speculated in land in many states. He imported goods from England for distribution to retailers in the southeast. In 1814 He married Mary (Patsey) Wilson (1792-1886) daughter of John Wilson who built Dans Hill near Danville, Va. In the early 1820's he opened Cunningham's Store along the border with Halifax County, Va and Person County, NC. He built his home called Waverly near the store was on the mainline of the stagecoach route from Petersburg, Va to Hillsborough, NC. In the late 1800s it was the location of the train stop on the Norfolk, Va to Danville, Va rail line. It also served as the post office for the area till 1908 when Alton, Va became the post office. Alexander and his son John Wilson Cuningham (born Petersburg, Va 1820- 1887) built up the plantation to include 8000 acres and became one of the wealthiest planters in the area. He owned at one time 193 slaves. The Cuningham home called Waverly still exists on Cuningham Road in Person County along with the cemetery where Alexander Cuningham and 7 generations are buried. Waverly was built from 1824 to 1834. The chapel on the grounds of Waverly was used by the Episcopal Church and by travelers passing on the stage line.

Southern Historical Collection

See also in the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the .JOHN WILSON CUNNINGHAM PAPERS, #196.
Summary of holdings: Cunningham, John Wilson, 1820-1887, Papers, 1854-1869, 180 items.
Agriculturalist and state Democratic Party leader, from Person County, N.C.
Chiefly letters to Cunningham from Calvin Henderson Wiley (1819-1887), a classmate at the University of North Carolina and apparently the real author of Cunningham's political speeches, and copies of political writings. Also included are Cunningham's records as executor of the estate of Dr. Matthew M. Harrison of Brunswick County, Va.

John S. Cunningham - Waverly and Woodlawn

John S. Cunningham, a later owner of Waverly, also purchased an impressive house in Halifax County, Virginia. The following is copied from:

On March 13, 1900, through her substitute trustee, R. E. Lee Marshall, Henrietta Carolyn Coleman Snowden sold the two tracts comprising Woodlawn to John S. Cunningham of Person County, North Carolina, for $6104.13.

Totaling 939.34 acres, Mrs. Snowden reserved 1/4 (one-fourth) of an acre, "the Coleman family burying ground, in the garden at the Woodlawn dwelling house, and now enclosed with a brick wall.." together with rights of ingress and egress to and from the cemetery at all times.

Mr. Cunningham was a member of one of Person County's most prominent families, natives of Edinburgh, Scotland, who emigrated first to Petersburg and then moved to North Carolina. The eldest of nine children he was married on June 5, 1889 to Otelia Carrington, daughter of Col. Henry A. Carrington, Clerk of Court of Charlotte County and a descendant of Col. Paul Carrington of Mulberry Hill.

Mr. Cunningham was an absentee landlord, so-to-speak, over Woodlawn while he owned it. He continued to make his home in Durham, N. C., and at his ancestral home, Waverly Plantation, in Person County.


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