I AM INDEBTED TO TOM STACK IN ENNIS, CO. CLARE, A GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GRANDSON OF 'UNKNOWN' ABOVE, FOR ALL HIS HELP WITH MY CUNNINGHAM RESEARCH. TOM HAS BEEN RESEARCHING HIS FAMILY HISTORY SINCE THE MID-1980S.
It is thought that our Cunningham family may have come to Kilbaha in the parish of Newtownsandes (now called Moyvane) in Co. Kerry or from the Templeglantine area of Co. Limerick. It is not known when exactly they settled in Kilbaha.
Our Cunningham family is connected to another family of Cunninghams, originally from Co. Limerick, who settled in the Irremore/Mountcoal area of Lixnaw, Co. Kerry. In this family was a John Cunningham (born about 1790s in Co. Limerick) who married a Kate Fitzgerald and had nine children, including Kerry-born John Francis who became Bishop of Concordia, Kansas. In fact most of John and Kate's children emigrated to Kansas or Missouri. It is a possibility that John could have been a son of 'unknown' above.
Parish records have been located (on www.irishgenealogy.ie) for several Cunninghams with Kilbaha connections who may be related to 'unknown' above:
A Mary Cunningham of Kilbaha married a Daniel Mangan in Moyvane on 29 July 1843. Witnesses were Thomas Mulvihill and George Mahony. Baptismal records have been located (on www.irishgenealogy.ie) for an Elizabeth and Daniel Cunningham, children of a James Cunningham and a Hanora Thornton of Kilbaha. Elizabeth was baptised on 7 December 1841 (sponsors were Michael Thornton and Mary Thornton) and Daniel on 18 May 1844 (with sponsors Daniel Cunningham and Honora Cunningham). Could James have been a son of 'unknown' above? Or could he have been a son of 'unknown's son Daniel? However, we have no evidence to show that 'unknown' had a son or grandson named James.
Another Cunningham family with Moyvane connections was that of John Cunningham who was married to Catherine Moore and whose son, Cornelius, was baptised in Moyvane on 30 December 1834. However, it is not known if this family lived in Kilbaha.
According to family lore, our Cunningham family is connected to Philip Cunningham, the Moyvane-born rebel who was transported to Australia following the 1798 Rising and became the leader of the failed Castle Hill convict rebellion of March 1804. However, I haven't been able to prove there is a definite connection between Philip and our Cunninghams or a link between him and the townland of Kilbaha. While Philip Cunningham's birthplace is shown as "Moyvane, Co. Kerry" on transportation documents, I have been told that from 1690 until 1939 the parish now called Moyvane was known as Newtownsandes, so it is a possibility that the Moyvane that's documented might actually relate to one of the TOWNLANDS of Moyvane North or Moyvane South located in the PARISH then called Newtownsandes. I have also read that Philip Cunningaham was born in a place called Gleann Liath (or Gleanlea or Glownlee) in the parish of Newtownsandes/Moyvane. Gleann Liath forms part of the townland of Murher which is located directly to the west of both Moyvane North and Moyvane South (with Kilbaha being directly east of Moyvane South), so it does seem likely that Philip Cunningham came from this general area. I am wondering if Gleann Liath might be located on the eastern side of Murher, close to the border with Moyvane North/South, which might explain why Moyvane was specified on the transportation papers.
Whether or not there is a connection, Philip Cunningham's story is worth telling: he was born probably in the 1760s and, according to 'Home Thoughts from Abroad – the Australian Letters of Thomas F. Culhane' published by the Glin Historical Society in 1998, was involved in nationalist activities with the United Irishman in north Kerry in the period leading up the 1798 Rising. "Gerald FitzGerald and Sandes had appointed Phil Cunningham of Gleann Liath, Moyvane, Bill Leonard of Aghanagran, Marcus Sheehy of Duagh and Pat Galvin as leaders in their respective parishes. Tom Langan (Captain Steel) had charge of Glin parish and surrounding districts.... Eventually all these men were arrested and sent to Botany Bay... [They were] put on board the convict ship Anne, which did not leave Cork until much later".
Other sources tell us that Philip Cunningham was related in some way to a Cunningham family in Co. Tipperary, and probably sometime in 1790s he moved to Clonmel in that county where he ran a public house and worked as a stonemason. In February 1798 he married a local woman whose surname was Black. In Clonmel he became a leader locally of the 1798 Rising which led to his deportation to Australia on board the 'Anne I', which docked in Port Jackson in NSW in February 1801.
The Castle Hill Rising was the first rebellion in Australian history. Involving Irish convicts (mostly political offenders arrested in the aftermath of the 1798 Rising), the revolt began with the rebels' seizure of their convict station and culminated in a clash between the rebels and government troops. After the troops opened fire, the convicts fled and the rebellion was broken. Philip Cunningham, who had been wounded in the melée, was captured and immediately hanged.
The Cunningham surname is common in all areas of Ireland, especially Ulster and Connaught. In east Ulster the name is mainly of Scottish origin, and in other areas it is mainly the anglicised form of native Irish names, such as MacCuinneagáin.