This collection (21 items) contains letters written to James Cunningham of Adams County, Pennsylvania, by members of his family, and several early letters from family members concerning the Cobean family of Adams County, related to Cunningham through marriage. The early letters include 1 from Polly Waugh Cunningham to her daughter Betsy (June 2, 1821) and 4 from John Cunningham to his brother James and to their brother-in-law, Samuel Cobean. Cunningham offered his condolences following the death of James's son Alexander and mentioned a recent land purchase by John W. Cunningham (May 23, 1831).
James Cunningham received 9 letters from his nephew, Dr. Alexander Stewart of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Stewart mentioned his medical practice and the growth of his family and occasionally commented on political issues, such as his thoughts about the Anti-Masonic Party (March 19, 1840) and the Locofoco presence in Pennsylvania (October 28, 1845). John S. Cunningham, another nephew, wrote 5 letters about his life in Pulaski, Pennsylvania, addressing topics such as agriculture and his financial troubles. He wrote about the health of his family and in one letter described a person experiences a lengthy trance (February 24, 1844). A third nephew, Alexander Cobean, wrote to James Cunningham of his trip from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Euphemia, Ohio, where he found work as a teacher. Cobean provided insight into his life as new arrival among strangers in the Midwest, discussing local land prices, the landscape, and the corn crop (February 8, 1848). In the final letter, dated October 27, 1851, Cobean reported that he had to abandon his teaching career because of his poor health.