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vital records sources

Robert is said to have lived in Coleraine, County Down, Northern Ireland. This is reasonable, but not confirmed in any way. Other Scots-Irish settlers came to Spencer, and they or their parents were likely part of the program designed by the English crown to settle Protestants in Northern Ireland in the 17th century. This wasn't a plan without it's problems, to say the least, and many of these transplanted Scots families continued on to settle in North America.
    Robert and his family supposedly sailed to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1717, but the source of that information isn't known and should be taken as heresay. Robert bought Lot #18 in what was the West Precinct of Leicester, Massachusetts, on 9 September 1731. In April 1753, after many years of attempts, this area was set off as the Town of Spencer, Lot #18 being in the northeastern part. Robert had a brother Hugh who settled in Brookfield, Massachusetts, and a sister Margaret who married Archibald Lamond and lived in Spencer. The Cunninghams and Lamonds lived in North Spencer, in the vicinity of the crossroads of North Spencer and Browning Pond Roads. Margaret (Robert's wife) is buried next to Robert and has been identified by the inscription on her stone, which is no longer legible. She is assumed to have been the mother of his children, but this isn't necessarily the case, given the possiblility that she was a second or later wife.

Administration of Robert's estate was given to his son John on 19 May 1766. An order for an inventory was given the same day.

Also from Robert's probate file (probate case #14458):

Spencer May the 28th 1766

Agreable to the within power given to us the subscribers wee have apprized all the estate (shewed to us) both real and personal where of the within named Robert Cuningham died siezed and possessed off according to our best skill and judgment
viz fourty one acres & a half of land lying in Spencer aforesd excluding a county road running across the same at twenty four pounds twelve shillings lawfull money
also one cow at two pounds fourteen shillings L M

as witness our hands the day & year above mentioned

[signed] John Moor
Robert Gifen
John Muzzy


due on notes of hand 30:12:8

swaring 1
recording 1:8

& for adm 10/

May 29th 1766

Then ye above named John Moor Robert Giffin and John Muzzy personally appearing, made solemn oath that the foregoing appraisment of the estate, real and personal of ye late Robert Cunningham, whereof he died sezd was made with fidelity and impartiality and according to their best knowledge and judgment, before me John Eliot Jusa. Pars.

John approved the inventory on 30 June 1766

The account of John Cuningham admr on the estate of his late father Robert Cuningham late of Spencer decd

This accountant chargeth himself with the personal estate of sd deceased contained in an inventory exhibited into the Probate Office 29 May 1766 being...33:6:8

and prays allowance as follows

pd for letter of administration warrant & inventory £ 0:12:8
pd the apprizers 0/ pd for funeral charges 35/10 1/4...1:15:10 1/4
pd Dr. Frink [John Frink of Rutland] 22/8 pd Josiah Lock [a local farmer] 22/5...2:5:1
to framing, examg allowing recording & copying this acct...[0:]6[:0]
pd for 2 pair gloves...[0:]4[:0]

errors excepted [signed] John Cuningham

August 26:1766 John Cunningham admr on ye estate of his late father Robert Cunningham decd presented ye above account & made oath to ye truth thereof & produced vouchers for ye payment therein contained I allow thereof whereby it appears a ballance remains in his hands of £ 28:13:0 3/4 which I order that he pay to ye children of ye decd viz: to ye said John eldest son of ye decd 11:19/2 1/2 Robert Cunningham & Jane Train each ye sum of 5:14/7 1/4 & to ye children of Hugh Cunningham decd or their legal representatives ye sum of £ 5:14/7 1/4 and upon his doing he be discharged

John Chandler Judge Probate

children of Robert and possibly Margaret Cunningham:

Hugh, d. before 26 Aug 1766
Jane, married and still alive on 26 Aug 1766

vital records source: His gravestone in the Spencer Congregational Church cemetery gives his death date and says he was 89 when he died.

all text and photographs © 1998-2019 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted