Biography of Donnell L. Cunningham
Arizona Biographies





DONNELL LAFAYETTE CUNNINGHAM, member of the Supreme Court of Arizona, was born in Gaylesville, Alabama, April 21, 1866. He was educated in that town and was graduated from the Gaylesville High School, an incorporated academy. Judge Cunningham received his instruction in law from John L. Burnett, one of the State's leading attorneys, and now a member of Congress from Alabama. In the meantime he had worked on a farm and taught school for a time in the vicinity of his home, and was admitted to practice in the circuit court at Center, Alabama, December 23, 1887. In January of the next year he began to practice at Ashville, and was also editor of the "St. Clair Advance," a weekly newspaper. In February, 1899, he removed to Fort Payne, practiced there for about four years, and in 1893 went to Colorado. He spent one year in Trinidad, then proceeded to Cripple Creek at the close of the "Bull Hill War." There he at first engaged in the practice of law. but after a few months took up mining and stock brokerage, and operated on the stock exchange until April, 1896, when the town was destroyed by fire. Practically everything in the town was destroyed, and Judge Cunningham's sole remaining assets being one office chair, he assisted in the work of constructing tents and shacks for shelter until business was again made possible, when he accepted a position as salesman in a grocery store. The next tear he left with two friends to seek a new location, with no definite destination in mind, and arriving in the Blue Mountains of Utah, they flipped a coin to decide whether it should be Idaho or Arizona. The latter won and they proceded thither, crossed the Navajo country and the Painted Desert from Bluff, Utah, and reached Flagstaff August 14, 1897. Here Judge Cunningham worked as a laborer for several months, then came to Phoenix with his friends, and they made their home under the cottonwood trees on South Second Avenue, about six blocks south of the Court House. In the spring he returned to Flagstaff, where he was employed for a time in the lumber mills and in the District Attorney's office. His next move was to Williams, where he opened an office and was elected first City Attorney, practiced there several years, and in 1904, while practicing in Tombstone, was married to Mrs. Louisa Leavenworth on March 10th. He served as District Attorney of Cochise County, and was one of the County's delegates to the Constitutional Convention, in which he was Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

From:
Who's Who in Arizona
Vol 1
Compiled and Published by Jo Conners
Press of The Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona 1913


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