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Pioneer of 1845


1795- 1878

Joseph was born in 1795 in Worcester County, Massachusetts. He passed away on March 14, 1878 in McMinnville, Oregon (Brazen Overlanders). This may not be right as he is in Clark County, Washington in 1869.

He was married to Caroline Craemer on May 12th, 1830 in Cooper county, Missouri. She was 18 and he was 35. They were the parents of 10 children; Philander, Sarah, Lucinda Elizabeth, John, Olive Drusilla, Virginia Jane, Benjamin, Joseph and Nancy (Information in “Terrible Trail’’, and “The Brazen Overlanders”).

1845 Migration to Oregon.

Joseph and his family came to Oregon in 1845. They are listed in the Tetherow wagon train. He had two armed men, 9 people and 1 wagon. They arrived in Oregon on October 1,1845.

1848 Sawmill established.

Joseph built a sawmill in the St. Helens area which was later bought by T. H. Hunsaker {information found in the Lockley Files).

1850         Oregon Donation Land Claim.

Joseph filed for Donation Land Claim #1501. The legal description was T4N, R1W, Sections 3,10, 15 and 16. It consisted of 628.24 acres and included most of the northern end of the island. The tip of the claim was opposite St. Helens.

lat. 45.844 3201969925


1851         Marriage of Daughter.

Sarah married Leonard Harris on October 12,1851 (T.T.,pg 189).

Leonard filed for DLC #3153 in Columbia County, Oregon. His affidavit was signed by Joseph Cunningham and Charles Reed.

1852         Grand Jury Duty

Leonard Harris was listed on the Grand Jury in Clark County, Washington in September of 1852 (Clarke County History, pg ).

1854 Birth of Son.

Benjamin Cunningham was born on August 13 on Sauvie Island (tombstone info at the Masonic Cemetery in St. Helens, Oregon).

1854         Jury List

Joseph Cunningham was on the October Jury list for Columbia County. He was listed as a resident of Sauvie Island. His son-in-law, Leonard Harris, was also on the list.

1855         Death of Son.

John Cunningham, son of Joseph and Caroline, was killed by Indians in Southern Oregon on September 24 (information in index files at OHS).

1855        Marriage of Daughter.

Lucinda Elizabeth Cunningham married Harlin Howard in 1855 in Columbia County, Oregon (Brazen Overlanders, pg 405).

1856         Death of Daughter.

Sarah Cunningham Harris passed away in 1856 (Brazen Overlanders, pg 405).

1856         Marriage of Son.

Philander Cunningham married Henrietta Redding on December 3,1856. They were married by John W. Watts, J. P. The witnesses were H. M. Knighton and D. B. Stevens (Misc. Marriage Records, Book A, Columbia County, pg 112).

1859         Death of Daughter.

Virginia Jane Cunningham drowned at Warrior’s Point on July 10. She was 15 years old. She is buried in the Old Masonic Cemetery in St. Helens, Oregon next to her mother and her brother, Benjamin.

1859         Marriage of Daughter.

Olive Drusilla married William Whitfield Purden on November 13 in Washington County, O.T (Brazen Overlanders, pg 405).

1860         Columbia County Census, Union Precinct

Lucinda and Harlin Howard are listed in the Union precinct with three small children, Nelson age 4 and two babies under 2.

Living near them are the Boardwell family. Delorean Boardwell married Mary (Beaver) Redding, a widow with several children. Her daughter, Henrietta Redding, married Philander Cunningham, (see Errata, page..)

Leonard Hanis, age 49, bom Massachusetts, is living with the Charles Reed family in Union Precinct, Columbia County.

Living with the Jackson Peacher family in Rainier is Willard Harris, age 8, and Philander Harris, age 6. These two boys are the children of Leonard and his deceased wife, Sarah.

1860 Columbia Countq, Oregon Census, Sauvic Island.

Cunningham, Philander age 26

Henrietta age 19

1860 Columbia Countq Census, Union Precinct

Joseph and Caroline have 4 children living at home at this time: Joseph, age 13; Nancy, age 11; Lucretia, age 8; and Benjamin, age 5.

1860 Clark Countq, Washington.

During 1860 Leonard Harris and Charles Reed moved to Pioneer in Washington Territory. James Charlton moved near them in 1863 followed by George Knox in 1864(Clark County, Washington History, pg 128, VCL).

1864        Death of Son.

Benjamin Cunningham died on March 10, 1866. His tombstone, at the Masonic Cemetery in St. Helens, says he died from drowning.

1865         Marriage of Daughter.

Oscar T. Walker married Lucretia Cunningham. They were married by Francis Perry, J. P, at the home of S. A. Miles. The witnesses were S. A. and Elizabeth Miles (Columbia County, Oregon Misc. Marriages, Book B, pg 79).

1867 Death of Wife.

Caroline (Craemer) Cunningham passed away on August 20, 1867. Her estate was probated on January 7. Her husband Joseph was the executor of her estate (Columbia County Probate Records, #21, CCCH).

Caroline is buried in the Old Masonic Cemetery in St. Helens near her two children, Jane and Benjamin. This cemetery was visited and the tombstones photographed in December of 1995.

1869   Moving to Vancouver

“Mr. Joseph Cunningham has returned to the city, intending to make his permanent residence here. He is hale and hearty. We give him a cordial welcome. His son, Philander Cunningham, is mining in the mountains, back of Walla Walla.” (Vancouver Register, March 13, abstracted in Trail Breakers, by Pat Bauer, Vol 22, No. 4, pg 22)

“The chimney of the house of Mr. Joseph Cunningham caught on fire, on the 11th ist.” {3/2} (Vancouver Register, 17 April 1869)

In June the newspaper thanked Mr. Joseph Cunningham for some fine strawberries. It went on to say that he was an enthusiastic Republican, witty, withal, and full of vitality!

1875 Land 'Transaction.

On March 24 a J. Cunningham sold land in his claim to P.F. Brown (DeedBookE, pg 530, Columbia County Deed Records).

1878 Death of Settler.

Joseph passed away on March 14 in McMinnville, Oregon, (questionable, no proof)

1890 Death of Son-in-law.

Leonard Harris passed away on August 20. He was survived by two heirs: Willard Harris, son, age 37, New York City, N. Y.; Philander Harris, son, age 35, living in East Portland (Columbia County Probate records, #139).





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