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Terry Donnell Sharpe
Mary Elizabeth Donnell
John Cunningham Donnell



27. John Cunningham Donnell [Note: Russell Leach's genealogical research stated "Irvin" was his first name. Ancestry of Albright and Holt Families of Clay County, Missouri Book 2,1984, p. 313, Compiled by Claribel Albright McClain. great granddaughter of Daniel Albright and Amelia Holt states that Sarah was first married to Irwin Donnell. The webmaster does not believe that either "Irvin" nor "Irwin" is his correct name. Other records as described below indicate that John is the correct name for the person who was married to Sarah P. Albright, was the son of Ervin Donnell and Hannah Cunningham, and was the father of Mary Elizabeth Donnell (#14).] (Married: Sarah P. Albright (#27), bond date: 27 September 1847, bond 000054916 in Guilford County, NC. The bondsman was Robert C. Donnell and the witness was John M. Logan (Source: North Carolina Marriage Bonds 1741-2011 Record # 01 122).


Born: 26 December 1821 in Guilford County, North Carolina of Ervin Donnell (#53) & Hannah Cunningham (#54) . (Source of green is (Source of orange is website <> and plugging in death information from tombstone information.)

Died: 5 November 1857. He is buried at Buffalo Presbyterian Church Cemetery. John's tombstone is shown at the bottom of this web page. (After his death, his wife was married on 1 April 1863 to William R. Smith in Guilford, County). (Source: North Carolina Marriage Collection, 1741-2004 (database on-line.) Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007. The original data is from County court records are located at Greensboro, NC and on Family History Library microfilm #0536823-0536828.)


[His half sibling was probably:

a). Latham Donnell: Married: Nancy P. Matier on 30 December 1847; Born: 29 October 1815 of Ervin Donnell (#53) and Nancy Erwin; Died: 18 February 1868. He is buried at Buffalo Presbyterian Church Cemetery. [Note: Ervin Donnell's (John Cunningham Donnell's father)'s will dated 1845 refers to leaving Latham Donnell 1 dollar].]


[His siblings included:

a). Mary "Polly" D. Donnell: Married: John Pritchett. [Note: Ervin Donnell's will dated 1845 refers to leaving Polly Pritchett his riding carriage] Born: 22 January 1820, Died: 13 August 1898; a Mary Pritchett (spouse of John Pritchett) is buried at Alamance Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina. [Note: Mary "Polly" Donnell and her husband may have been first cousins. Mary's mother Hanna Cunningham (#54c)'s sister, Polly Cunningham, married William Pritchett, who became the guardian for Mary's brother (Robert) after Mary's father died in 1845. Willam Pritchett and Polly Cunningham, Polly Donnell's aunt and uncle had a son born in 1815, named John A. Pritchett. According to the 1850 census, he was 35 and his wife Polly was 30.]

b) Nancy E. (Irwin) Donnell: Born: 1825, Died ?

c) Daniel J. Donnell: Born: 1829, Died: ? (Served in Civil War);

d) William Milton Donnell: Married: Caroline ? prior to May 1860, when they had their son Thomas; Thomas died the next month, Born: 1 June 1834, 1835; Died: 17 November 1863, (Became sick in the service and died shortly after.) He is buried at Buffalo Presbyterian Church Cemetery. This blue typing is confirmed at Find A Grave Index.

e) Robert H. Donnell: Born: 27 December 1843. Died: 19 September 1862, Aged 18 years, 9 months, and 22 days. Miscellaneous Information: Since Robert was only ~ 2 years of age when his father died in 1845, and his mother had died one year earlier, William Pritchett became Robert's guardian about 1846. William Pritchett was Robert's uncle. William was married to Robert's mother Hanna Cunningham (#54c) 's sister, Polly Cunningham When Robert was killed during the war, he was less than 21 years of age. Provisions in his deceased father's will stipulated that Robert's share of the estate be distributed to other family members in a particular way. Unfortunately this webmaster is unable to decipher much of the writing in the 61 pages of accounting papers, equity papers, order papers, and petition papers of Robert's estate. (The source of this orange information is from North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, Probate date 1862). (According to one source, during the Civil War, Robert was in Co. B, 27th N.C. Reg’t-Killed in battle) The U.S., Civil War soldier Records and Profiles 1861-1865 show him as enlisted in Company B, North Carolina 45th Infantry Regiment on 6 May 1862 and mustered out on 18 June 1862. He was a private. Robert is buried at Buffalo Presbyterian Church Cemetery, his tombstone was photographed by Susan Snyder (#2) on 29 September 2005; [Note: postings on list his birth as ~1820, but his tombstone states he was born in 1843. Also, if he was the first born son to Hannah and Ervin, he would have likely inherited more from his father and he would have been listed as Ervin's first son in his will.... not his last son. Finally, there would not have been a probate dated 1862 that discussed his guardianship at the death of his father. If he had been born in 1820, he would have been 25 years old when his father died.] ]



John's mother died when she was 43 years of age, and only four months after John's brother, Robert H. Donnell was born. It may be that she died from childbirth complications, but this is not known. At the time of his mother's death, John was 22 and living at home with his father and four siblings.

Although John was not the first born son of his father ,Ervin Donnell (#53), he was the first born of his father's second wife, Hannah Cunningham. In his father's will written in February, 1845, John was named as one of the two executors of the estate. His father bequeathed his land to his four sons by Hannah and 1/5 of his real and personal estate to be divided evenly amongst 5 children he had had with Hannah: John, Nancy, Daniel, William, and Robert. After selling the balance of the corn and bacon to buy clothing for the children in the family, the balance if any was to go to John. The only exception to the division of the estate was that $1 was to go to Latham Donnell and the riding carriage was to go to Polly Pritchett. Latham is presumed to be a son from his first marriage to Nancy Erwin, and Polly is assumed to be a daughter he had with Hannah and who was married.

John's father died March, 1845, just one month after he wrote his will. It is assumed that John, his sister Nancy and two brothers (Daniel and William) cared for their baby brother (Robert) until a more permanent arrangement could be made for their uncle (William Pritchett) to become their 2-year old brother's guardian.

Two years after his father's death, John married Sarah.

The 1850 census shows that John and Sarah are living in Guilford County. John was 28, farming, and owned real estate with a value of $1,850. Sarah was 23.

Later, John and Sarah had 2 children: Mary Elizabeth Donnell (#14) and Sarah Rebecca Donnell.

John died less than 4 months after his youngest daughter's birth, leaving behind his wife to raise two young daughters alone. Mary Elizabeth was only 3 years old.

Below: This photograph of John's tombstone is courtesy of <Find a>.




John C. Donnell


Nov 5, 1857


35 y's. 10 m's. 10 d's



John died intestate; ie. he did not have a will. As a result, Daniel Albright, Sarah's brother, became the administrator to help Sarah settle affairs. With a legal team, Sarah petitioned the Common Pleas Court for a year's allowance of her husband's land, Negroes, crops, and money to provide a livelihood for herself and her two young daughters. Daniel had John's land surveyed and inventoried, and listed all of the property for probate records. Some items were given to Sarah. Other things were sold to pay off debts. John had had 9 slaves. The court divided the slaves into thirds, giving 1/3 to Sarah and 1/3 to each of her daughters. In 1862, the court appointed Daniel E. Albright as guardian of Sarah's children, Mary E. and Sarah R. Donnell.


Lifetime Events Summary for John Cunningham Donnell:

Henry's age
December 26, 1821
Age at Mother's Death
Age at Father's Death
Children's births
1854 - 1857
32 - 35
November 5, 1857
35 y's. 10 m's. 10 d's


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Contact person for this website is Susan Snyder: