Obituary- Katherine Cunningham Castle August 6, 1916
|"On last Wednesday there was laid to rest one of our former residents- a loved teacher- one who had molded the youthful minds of hundreds of our Naperville boys and girls, and we deem it worthy of more notice than a brief outline of her life. The sweet influence of her character impressed itself upon the hearts of her pupils and fellow teachers, and as she taught their daily lessons, she also implanted that higher aim and knowledge of a true nobility of soul. Many a pupil can look back to the kindness and loving precepts of her who has passed way.
"Miss Katherine Cunningham, the daughter of Rev. John and Elizabeth Cunningham, was born in 1834. Their home was in East Jonesboro, Tenn., from whence they came to Illinois in 1862., during the Civil war, and settled on a farm near Naperville. The three sisters received their education in Mt. Holyoke Seminary, Mass., and were highly gifted as teachers. Their father was pastor of the Congregational church in our city for three or four years, after they moved from the farm, which was in 1867.
"Our subject had taught school for several years in the country, and in the fall of 1866 she took charge of the grammar department of the Naperville graded school, known as the Academy. Here she taught fourteen years, training the young pupils in a most satisfactory manner. During these years other lady teachers in the same school were closely bound to her in a strong and lasting friendship. Being one of the number, I feel it an honor to bring my feeble tribute, with that of my co-laborers, and place it on the brow of her whose memory we cherish.
"On January 29, 1882, she was married to Cheney M. Castle, formerly of Naperville, but at that time was a resident of Minneapolis, Minn. That was her home, which was also shared by her husband's daughter and niece. This home circle was broken when Mr. Castle died in February, 1909. soon after, the widow went to Ft. Scott, Kansas, to live with her nieces, the Misses Porter. She lived to see the whole family, parents, brother, and two sisters, pass away. She longed to visit Naperville, and two years ago, accompanied by her niece, she spent the summer months in our midst, and renewed the old friendships which were so dear to her...."
"Funeral services were held at Ft. Scott, and the remains were sent to Naperville where they arrived on Wednesday last. A short service was held in the Congregational church where she was a former member..."
"In an old album, written by her own hand, in 1867, are these lines, which are an appropriate tribute from all her friends:
As the ocean shell, in its fairy cell
Tho far away from the deep,
Will yet the soft swell of the foam sprite's bell
And moan of the blue waves keep;
Thus, thus with the heart, in whatever part
Of earth its destiny be thrown,
Embalmed it will bear the memory dear
Of friendship's sweet pleasures known.
H.D.A." Note: this obituary probably was written by Hannah Ditzler Alspaugh, who certainly would have been a pupil of Kate Cunningham's. Katherine Cunningham's father, Rev. John Whitfield Cunningham, was an early Presbyterian minister of Washington County, Tennessee. He pastored many churches in Tennessee, Indiana, and Illinois. Upon the death of his son, John, in 1867, he returned to Naperville as pastor of the Congregational church.