Artemas Cunningham

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Relationship: Husband of faternal aunt, Martha (Patty) Hanks
Association: Operated a sawmill and assisted with the Underground Railway for the slaves. In June, 1813 Artemas built the first framed barn in the township of Madison.



  • Birth: (abt 1782) (Spencer, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA)
  • Death: (Apr 1839) (Toledo, Ohio, USA)
  • Buried:


Martha (Patty) Hanks m. (20 May 1813) (Ashford, Windham, Connecticut, USA)


  1. James T. Cunningham b. (Jan 1814) (Madison, Lake, Ohio, USA)
  2. Mary Ann Cunningham b. (abt 1816) (Madison, Lake, Ohio, USA)
  3. Esther M. Cunningham b. (abt 1822) (Madison, Lake, Ohio, USA)


John Cunningham b. (abt 1757) (Spencer, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA)
Anne Thompson died (22 Feb 1813) (Madison, Lake, Ohio, USA)


  1. Artemas Cunningham (abt 1782) (Spencer, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA)
  2. Amos Cunningham b. (abt 1787) (Spencer, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA)
  3. Cyrus Cunningham b. (abt 1789) (Spencer, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA)


In 1811 Captain Cunningham and his wife, his sons Artemas, Amos, and Cyrus and his wife, migrated by wagon to this newly acquired land. The land that he had purchased was located in Madison Township and comprised 2,699 ½ acres. It lay on the East side of the township and extended from the Middle Ridge to the shore of Lake Erie. It was bought to be divided into lots, and sold to suit purchasers. It was solid timberland with a waterway, later known as Cunningham’s Creek, cutting its way through the forest in an irregular course to the Lake where lay the possibility of a harbor. Captain Cunningham built his log cabin near the corner of the Middle Ridge and County Line and 59 at once began to clear the land. Cyrus Cunningham chose the corner of the North Ridge and Dock Roads for his homesite. Artemas settled on the lakeshore near the mouth of Cunningham’s Creek, and Amos on the North Ridge near County Line. A few Indians still wandered through these woods and there was abundant wild life: bears, deer, wolves, and small game. The nearest mill was in Erie, Pennsylvania, sixty miles away; and the nearest store, in Austinburg in Ashtabula County. A plague swept the area in 1812-1813 and five Cunninghams died. It was in 1811 Madison Township was organized.

Artemas Cunningham married Patty Hanks. He built his home on the corner of Dock and Lake Roads and operated a sawmill there. At this time the Old Tavern at Unionville became one of the well-known stations of the Underground Railway for the runaway slaves enroute to Madison Dock. The negroes entered a tunnel having its entrance near the Southeast corner of the crossroads. This led them to a deeper area under the tavern where they could stand upright and have communication with the innkeeper through a trap door. From the tunnel exit back of the tavern these slaves were released or taken by wagon to the Madison Dock where they boarded boats for Canada. On this last leg of their journey, if more help was needed, the homes of Amos and Cyrus Cunningham were open for their protection.

Little is known of Artemas Cunningham. He is possibly the same Artemas (or Artemus) Cunningham who was born in Solomon Spalding's own home town of Ashford, Windham, CT. in 1790, though more likely the one born in Spencer, Worcester, Massachusetts in 1782. According to his statement in E. D. Howe's 1834 book, Artemus went from Madison township. just west of Geneva, to New Salem to collect a debt from Solomon Spalding. He was in Ohio by May 20, 1813, when he married Martha (Patty) Hanks, who was originally from Hartford, CT. The couple got hitched by the Rev. Jonathan Leslie in Madison, Geauga, OH. They had at least three children, all born in Madison between 1814 and 1822. Artemas paid taxes in Geauga Co., in 1814. He is listed in the 1820 Census report as living in Madison. By 1833-34, when he provided the statement published in Howe's book, Artemas was apparently residing in Perry township (just west of Madison), Geauga Co., OH. This may be the same Artemas Cunningham who is on record as having married Sarah Hanks in Ohio in 1830. On Aug. 21, 1837, Artemas filed for a deed to 81.6 acres of land in Ohio. Artemas' will went through probate in Ohio in 1839; after that date his name disappears from the public records. Source: THEY LIE IN WAIT TO DECEIVE, "A Study of Anti-Mormon Deception", Volume II.


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