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vital records sources

The prevailing spelling of this family's name in Robert's lifetime was "Cuningham."

Charles Nutt, in his History of Worcester and its Peoples,1 says Robert lived in Coleraine, Londonderry, Ireland as a transplanted Scot. The English attempts to settle Protestants in Ireland wasn't completely successful and led many to continue their migration, especially to Canada and the United States. He supposedly came with brother Hugh and sister Margaret to Boston in 1717. Without passage money, he found work as a seaman on the ship that brought them over. In Boston he worked at a shipyard and made enough money to buy property in Leicester, Massachusetts. Other Scots-Irish settlers came to Leicester, in numbers that suggest some sort of organized effort, however loose. The claim that the family immigrated from Coleraine is widely stated, but the source hasn't been found. It may have been oral history within the family. Nutt's reference to Robert working in a shipyard is also not corroborated. His supposed sister Margaret, born about 1686 and about nine years younger than Robert married Archibald Lamond. He was born on the Isle of Aran in Scotland. He may also have been in Coleraine and met the Cuninghams there or the connection was in Massachusetts. The first mention of him found there says he was a tailor living in Worcester in 1731. The births or baptisms of his children weren't found, so it isn't clear where or when he married Margaret. Robert's supposed brother Hugh settled in Brookfield, Massachusetts. Lamond must have been successful at something in Boston since he had a large house built in Leicester in a style suggesting it was put up at or near the time he moved. They were among the founding members of a town named Spencer, set off from Leicester in 1753 and which included their homesteads.
    For £220, Robert of Boston, laborer, and Archibald Lamond of Worcester, tailor, bought Lot #18 in Leicester, Massachusetts, on 9 September 1731.2 The lot was 250 acres and referred to as a "great farm." They mortgaged it to Lamb on 29 September 1731 for £120.3 The mortgage probably allowed them to spend £120 more to help build their houses and establish their farms. They paid off the mortgage in four installments, the last on 24 June 1735. This was nine months beyond the deadline agreed on, but Lamb forgave this, likely due to the good faith effort shown in the installments. On 11 September 1742, Lamb acknowledged that the mortgage had been satisfied and the property was divided into three parts on 28 September to accommodate a homestead for Robert's oldest son John.4

At the same time, Robert sold the north half of his third portion to his son Hugh.5 Formalizing the division between these four men made sense. John had been married for about three years and had a child and Hugh was about to be married



The three lots created when Lot 18 (called the "great farm") was divided in 1742. The pond used to be "Branch "Meadow" (in this context, another word for swamp). At some point it was dammed to create the pond, the shape of which corresponds almost exactly to the shape of the swamp shown on a 1742 map of the farm division. Aside from a bit of new development and upgrades to infrastructure, this area hasn't changed much in 270 years.



The Archibald Lamond house about the turn of the 20th century. It was relatively large by early 18th century rural New England standards.6 This gives an idea of what Robert's and John's houses looked like. John's surely still stands nearby, but with some modifications over the centuries.





    The inventory of Robert's estate consisted of his homestead and a cow with a total value of pound30, 12 shillings and 8 pence.7

children of Robert Cuningham:

John
Robert
Hugh
Jane



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

1. Charles Nutt, History of Worcester and its Peoples (Worcester:1919), 4:852.
2. Robert of Boston, Archibald of Worcester, grantor Joshua Lamb of Roxbury. Worcester Co., MA, deed 3:9.
3. Worcester, MA, mortgage 16:281.
4. Worcester, MA, deed 15:321, 542.
5. Worcester, MA, deed 16:302-5.
6. Images of America, Spencer (USA: Spencer Historical Society, 2002).
7. Worcester County probate case #14458.

all text and photographs © 1998-2024 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted























Elizabeth Lammond of Licester and Daniell Gray of Pelham m. 18 Aug 1752 Ruth Lamon of Leicester and Arthur Forbes of Rutland m. 30 June 1749 Spencer vrs 178 Robert Lamond d. 7 Aug 1755, GS, p. 253 Lamond Gray b. 25 July 1753, Pelham, MA, Bridport, VT, gravestone named in AL will Isabella, d. March 18 1836, 80th year, m. Wm Harkness, gravestone, Salem, NY Robert Forbes b. abt 1751?, d. 4 Mar 1793, age 42, Oakham, MA oldest John Forbes, b. abt 1750?, d. 10 feb 1813, age 53, Rutland, or 3 Jan 1836, Oakham, age 88, wich makes him even older Charles abt 1753, d. Oakham Martha 1754 m. Benjamin Hamilton Archibald 1757 (Archibald Furbush in AL will) Sarah abt 1757 Margaret 1758 who was Joseph, d. Oakham 27 Jan 1827, age 69? Arthur 1759 James 1762 Jonathan adult by 6 Apr 1791 Elizabeth maybe the one with guardian Wm Caldwell, on above date Anna, called deceased on 6 Dec 1790, but Ben Hamilton signed on her behalf anyway Sarah Caldwell is on heirs petition list 6 Dec 1790 Sarah Furbush m Wm 3 Oct 1790, Barre, must be the widow of Wm d. 20 Feb 1820, age 62. He d. prob. 31 Mar 1806, age 83 all named in Arthur's probate John Lamond of Rutland had a son Archibald who was appointed a guardian on 9 April 1765, age 15. He chose William Whitaker of Paxton. Surety was James Mcfarland of Worcester. also a daughter Esther, age 19 when she chose her grandfather her guardian on 8 Oct 1770 JL inventory ordered on 14 July 1755, Jennett Lamond, widow and administrator, she m. 2 to John Crawford by 8 Oct 1770, when they both made an estate account of JL John m. Jane McIntire 30 June 1747, Rutland she intended marriage with Jeremiah Anderson of Ware River 21 Feb 1757, then Jhn Crawford of Weston 13 May 1758 Anna m. Thomas Harmon, 13 Nov 1744, Rutland records but in Leicester, son John, in Archibald's will Robert Lamond, probate paper with heirs signs 11 Aug 1755, Thomas Harman, Arther Forbus, Ruth Forbus, Daniel Gray, Elizabeth Gray, Archibald Lamond, Janat Lamond will 5 July 1755 says Ann Harman deceased, John Lamond deceased ch of Archibald and Margaret: Robert John Ann 1720-22 Ruth Elizabeth