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Henry B. Cunningham


One of the most successful and progressive of the stockmen of the state of Wyoming is Henry B. Cunningham, of Meriden. He is a native of the county of McLean, in the state of Illinois, having been born there on January 23, 1853, the son of King and Cyrena (Thompson) Cunningham, the former a native of Indiana and the latter of Kentucky. The paternal grand-father of Mr. Cunningham was a native of Ireland, who upon emigrating to America, first settled in Virginia, where,for a time, he followed freighting in the Allegheny Mountains, an occupation which, in that early day, was one of great importance in the commercial transactions of the time and very remunerative. Subsequently he removed to Indiana, where he settled in the vicinity of Wabash, and engaged in farming and stockraising. Here he remained for a number of years, in 1827 disposing of his interests in Indiana, and moving his family and belongings to Illinois, where he purchased a farm and settled down in McLean County, and engaged in farming and stockgrowing, at which he remained employed to the time of his death, which occurred in 1861. His maternal grandfather immigrated to America in 1816, when he was but sixteen years of age, and first went to Lexington, Kentucky, where he soon entered upon the occupation of stockraising and farming. In 1827 he removed his residence to the state of Illinois, and established himself in the county of McLean, and there continued in the same pursuit until his death in 1889. The father of Henry B. Cunningham, arriving at manís estate, also engaged in farming and in the raising of fine stock in McLean County, Illinois, where he is still residing, engaged in that pursuit. The mother died on April 4, 1898, and was buried in that county. Mr. Cunningham received his early education in the public schools of his native place, and remained at home, assisting his father in the management of the home business until 1873, when, desiring to begin life for himself, he took a trip to California, and secured employment on a stock farm near San Francisco, where he remained until the fall of that year. He then returned to the Illinois home and there remained until December of that year, when he went to Crescton, in Union County, Iowa, where he purchased a farm and entered upon stockraising and farming. He continued in this business until 1888 with great success, being also interested extensively in the buying and selling of cattle, and also in merchandising at various places in Union County. He was one of the largest operators in that section of the state. In 1888 he disposed of many of his interests, in Union County and removed to Des Moines, Iowa, where he engaged for a time in the hardware business. He was one of the organizers and incorporators of the Iowa Carriage Co., of Des Moines, Iowa, and was elected secretary and treasurer of that company. He also became the owner of the Central rolling mills, which he operated for a number of years, dealing also extensively in real estate in Des Moines, and vicinity. In 1891, with other parties, he organized a company for the manufacture of sash, doors and blinds, and went to Tacoma, Washington, where they built a large sawmill and a factory to carry on that business. Having an opportunity to dispose of this property to good advantage, the company sold out and he returned to his old home in Des Moines until 1897, engaged in a real estate and brokerage business. In the latter year he closed out his holdings in Iowa and removed his residence to Wyoming, where he leased a large ranch property on Little Horse Creek, purchased a fine herd of cattle and embarked in ranching and stockraising. This business he conducted very successfully until the summer of 1900, when he disposed of all this property and, with his family, passed the entire summer on an overland pleasure trip to the Yellowstone National Park. Returning to Cheyenne in the fall he engaged in a live stock business, buying and selling cattle, horses and sheep on commission, and carried this on with marked success until February, 1902, when he secured a lease of his present ranch from Mr. J. B. Culver, and again engaged extensively in the cattle business. On February 18, 1874, Mr. Cunningham was united in marriage in Union County, Iowa, to Miss Mary F. Cryst, a native of that state. The father of Mrs. Cunningham is a prosperous farmer of Union County and is one of the very earliest of the settlers of that section of the state, while her mother, Nancy Cryst was like the father, a pioneer of Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham have seven children. Bert, Myrtle, Roy and Cyrena, Nelson, Lillian and Leola, all of whom are living. Politically, Mr. Cunningham is identified with the Republican Party, and during all of his active life he has taken a prominent part in public affairs. Never a seeker of Public position, he is in politics, as well as in business and social life, an active, liberal and progressive man, and also one of the most respected citizens of his section of the state.


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