W. Peyton Cunningham

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William Peyton Cunningham, Sr.

Louisiana State Representative
for Natchitoches Parish]]
In office
Preceded by Two-member delegation:

Cecil B. McClung
Edward C. Prudhomme

Succeeded by Two-member delegation:

Arthur C. Watson
John O. Williams

Born October 20, 1901
Natchitoches, Louisiana, USA
Died January 27, 1971 (aged 69)
Natchitoches, Louisiana
Resting place Catholic Cemetery in Natchitoches
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Mildred Rosalind Hill Cunningham (married 1927-1971, his death)
Relations Milton Joseph Cunningham (grandfather)

William Tharp Cunningham (uncle)
John William Payne (uncle)
DeWitt T. Methvin, Jr. (son-in-law)
Mildred Methvin (granddaughter)

Children Lallah Hill Cunningham Methvin

William Peyton Cunningham,
Jr. (retired judge)
John Hill Cunningham
Joseph Payne Cunningham, Sr.
Charles Milton Cunningham
Alicia Evelena Payne Cunningham

Occupation Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic

William Peyton Cunningham, Sr., known as W. Peyton Cunningham (October 20, 1901 – January 27, 1971), was an attorney from his native Natchitoches, Louisiana, who served as a Democrat state representative from 1932 to 1940. Along with Leon Friedman, he represented Natchitoches Parish in the House for two terms.[1]


Born to a prominent family and reared in Natchitoches, Cunningham was the second of eight children of Charles Milton Cunningham and the former Alicia Elevena Payne (1874-1961), popularly known as "Miss Lena".[2] Peyton Cunningham was named after his great-grandfather, William Washington Peyton.[3] His grandfather, Milton Joseph Cunningham, was a political figure in Natchitoches and New Orleans, who served from 1884 to 1888 and again from 1892 to 1900 as the state attorney general.[4]

Charles Milton Cunningham, who was born in New Orleans where his parents were then residing, founded the still published newspaper, The Natchitoches Times, which he edited until 1930, six years before his death.[3] In 1915, following the death of Leopold Caspari, Charles Cunningham was elected as the state senator for Natchitoches Parish. He resigned the seat after seven years in 1922.[5]

In 1927, W. Peyton Cunningham married Mildred Rosalind Hill (1901-1982), the daughter of Samuel Hyams Hill and the former Marie Atala Prudhomme. Prior to the marriage, she worked for the People's Bank in Natchitoches. Peyton Cunningham's uncle, William Tharp Cunningham (1871-1952), a former state House member and a judge in Natchitoches, helped to put his nephew through law school.[6]

The Cunninghams had one daughter, Lallah Hill Cunningham Methvin (1929-2012), who was the mother of five children by the Alexandria attorney DeWitt T. Methvin, Jr., from whom she was divorced.[7] Peyton and Mildred Cunningham had three sons, William Peyton Cunningham, Jr., a retired judge, John Hill Cunningham, and Joseph Payne Cunningham, Sr.[2]

In addition to his legal practice, Cunningham had a great interest in history and the outdoors. He purchased land in the Kisatchie National Forest, cleared the undergrowth and constructed a road to a sandy creek on the property. The family met at Kisatchie for Sunday picnics and holidays.[2]

A Roman Catholic, Cunningham, his wife, his parents, and daughter are interred at Catholic Cemetery in Natchitoches.[7]


  1. Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2024: Natchitoches Parish. Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on February 11, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 William Peyton Cunningham, Sr.. genealogy.com. Retrieved on October 1, 2014; information no longer accessible on-line.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Charles Milton Cunningham. familytreemaker.genealogy.com. Retrieved on February 11, 2021.
  4. Milton Joseph Cunningham. genealogy.com. Retrieved on October 1, 2014; material no longer accessible on-line.
  5. Membership in the Louisiana Senate, 1880-Present. senate.la.gov. Retrieved on February 11, 2021.
  6. William Tharp Cunningham. genealogy.com. Retrieved on October 5, 2014; material no longer accessible on-line.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Lallah Hill Cunningham Methvin. findagrave.com. Retrieved on February 11, 2021.