A.W. Cunningham, one of the pioneer residents of Grand Forks, lost his life shortly after noon Sunday as the result of a deplorable accident, or possibly as the result of foul play. His body was found by Officer Trent about 12:30 p.m. beside the Northern Pacific railway track in the rear of the North Dakota Liquor Institute, near the corner of north Third street and Griggs avenue, shortly after the passage of the Northern Pacific eastbound passenger train by that point. There is a slight curve in the track at this point, and as the train rounded the curve, the engineer, W.F. Andrews, noticed a man lying beside the track. He had not time enough to stop the engine, but the man was apparently near enough to be in danger. Just as the engine passed the postrate man, however, he raised his head slightly, bringing him nearer to the train and it is supposed that he was struck by a projecting car step or tool box. A deep gash in the forehead was the only mark of injury.
The jury, composed of James Twamley, John Smith and William Flynn, returned a verdict of "accidental death from injuries received by being struck by a Northern Pacific engine." It was discovered that his pockets had been rifled of their contents, both of his trousers pockets having been slit open. He only had a small amount with him in change at the time, however. It is possible that the highwaymen who robbed him were responsible in some way for his death.
The deceased had been for a number of years in the employ of H.H. Bailes, the contractor, as foreman of a crew of carpenters and was regarded as a model workman. Mr. Cunningham was a native of Ontario, and was 57 years of age. He was a graduate of the University of Toronto, and was for a number of years engaged in teaching. He came to the Forks in 1887 and had resided in that city ever since. He leaves bereaved a widow, three daughters and three sons. Two brothers reside in British Columbia and one at Sault Ste. Marie. One brother and one sister live in Ontario.
The funeral took place from the residence, 308 Grand avenue this morning at 10 o'clock and was private, friends of the family only being present.
Source: Crookston Times, Saturday, August 28, 1909
Submitter: Brenda G.
Updated: April 20, 2015, K. Kittleson