Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Death of Captain George Cannon: By Mutiny?

According to the Cannon Family Historical Treasury, Captain George Cannon “died at sea on board his own ship, July 19, 1811, being the victim of a mutiny which he was endeavoring to suppress among his crew…” (George Cannon Family Association: 1995, p. 13). I have spent quite a bit of time over the last four years trying to learn more about Captain Cannon’s death. What was the name of the ship he was on? Where was the ship when the mutiny occurred? Were the mutineers brought to justice?

Death and Burial of Captain Cannon:

Edmund Goodwin, in the Goodwin Papers, handwritten notes in the Manx National Heritage Library, indicates that George Cannon died July 8, 1811. He gives no other insight. George Cannon’s probate record indicates he died “on or about 13th July”. According to the burial register for the Parish of German in 1811, he was buried at St. Peter’s Church in Peel (an old photo below)
on July 22nd.
A closeup of the entry for Captain Cannon:
In a letter to me dated July 20, 2007, Priscilla Lewthwaite, a genealogical researcher in the Isle of Man, indicated that there would be no entry in the parish register if the body was not there. If Captain Cannon died at sea, it is very unlikely they would have a body to bury unless he died near the Isle of Man, because people who died at sea were interred at sea. The gravestone has not survived as St. Peter’s Church is in ruins, just the clock tower remains (the clock tower was built after the time of Captain Cannon)
and all the gravestones that could be salvaged have been put around the walls of the churchyard.
It is laid out as a garden now with grass and flower beds, with just the outline of the floor of the church visible.

Up until 1803, I can find quite a bit of information about Captain Cannon and his sailing endeavors. After that, there is very little information about him and virtually nothing about him and sailing. One of the most exciting finds during my research was a Lloyd's List entry on May 22, 1810. It indicated that the ship Caesar, with a Captain Cannon, had arrived back in Liverpool from Africa. The Caesar had been taken by a French Corvette from the Isles of France, "with Dispatches" and allowed to proceed. The Ile de France, or Isle of France, was a French colony off the southeast coast of Africa which is now known as Mauritius.
I thought this was an important piece in putting together the mutiny puzzle. It showed Captain Cannon was still involved in sailing. And maybe it is and maybe it does, but there is nothing else to substantiate it. Lloyd's List for April 27, 1810 reported that the Caesar, with a Captain McCannen, arrived in Sierra Leone (West Africa) from Liverpool. So was it a Captain Cannon or Captain McCannen on the Caesar? Or someone else? Errors are common in the shipping records. Lloyd's Register for 1810 lists a number of Caesars, but none with a Captain Cannon or McCannen (see below).  
At the end of this post I go into some detail about the research steps I’ve taken so that someone else researching this same issue in the future does not have to duplicate the efforts I’ve made. Despite my initial optimism, I now question whether he was even sailing at that time in his life. The only thing that keeps me thinking that there may be some truth to it is that there is no reason the family would dream up the story: it does not put Captain Cannon in a positive light. I am hopeful that a family member may have information tucked away in an attic somewhere or that future research may be more fruitful in uncovering a source.

A Mutiny About the Same Time:

I did find the following about a mutiny that occurred about the same time (it was provided by two research sources). It was in the Liverpool Mercury, dated Friday, September 6, 1811 (page 75, column 1):

“The following is a copy of a letter from Mr. Furse, late Midshipman of the Semiramis, dated Brest, July 19, 1811: ‘No doubt you will be surprised at the date of this, from Brest. Being very lucky in the Semiramis last cruise, in the way of taking prizes, I was sent from her on the 6th inst. to take charge of an American brig, which Captain Richardson detained, having with me six men from the Semiramis, as also five belonging to the brig – the Captain, Mate, and three boys. Out of six that came with me, two were Americans; these, and two other of our crew, having most of their friends living in New York, joined with the Captain of the brig to take her from me, on the 9th inst. About twelve o’clock, binding me and two more with cords, hands and feet. The next morning they hoisted out the long-boat, giving us our clothes, and some bread and water; still keeping our hands tied, they put us into the boat, which was then very leaky, and sent us adrift in the Western Ocean, about 300 miles from land. One of my men, whose name is Rowlinson, untied me with his teeth; which was the means of getting us all free. Not knowing the distance exactly, at the time they let us go, I did not know what course to shape; the wind being W.S.W. I shaped my course E.S.E. supposing it to be, as near as I could guess, for the Eddystone; but unfortunately for me, and the others, the first land we made was Ushant; the wind then blowing very fresh, and we in an open boat, and on a lee shore, thought it best for our safety to run into a small island, called Morlaix, after being six days drifting about in the Western ocean, almost dead with fatigue, and having nothing to eat, our bread being spoiled with salt water. On our landing we were immediately made prisoners, but exceedingly well treated. After stopping one night, we marched to Brest, where, at present, we remain in the hospital, and expect in the course of four or five days, to be conducted about 200 leagues in land, where I shall be on parole. I forgot to state, that at the time we were seized, we were asleep, having but a short time previously left the deck. Those that succeeded us in the watch on deck were those that were bribed. There was one of our Lieutenants then in a brig close to us; but he did not see us bear up, or otherwise I think he would have made sail after us. There are cartels arriving here generally once a month, with sick and infirm prisoners. I am sorry to add, there is not the least hopes of my return to England unless it comes a peace, of which there is not the least prospect at present. I will thank you to publish the above in the Newspapers as soon as possible, in order that the Captain of the brig and the men may be taken into custody.’

The original, from which the above letter is copied, has been sent to the Admiralty, in order that proceedings may be instituted against the four mutineers, who seized their officer, and assisted the Americans to run away with the ship: out of our frigates having fallen in with, and captured them, the day after they committed the atrocious act. Had not Mr. Furse and his two companions so miraculously escaped, the crime of the other four would not have been known, as, previously to the American being boarded a second time, they sent our four men down into the hold, and gave out that they had been confined there when the ship was seized.”

Lloyd’s List, dated Friday, July 19, 1811, states: “The Fortune, Dannen from Bordeaux to New York is detained by the Semiramis Frigate and arrived at Plymouth.” Lloyd’s List, dated Tuesday, July 23, 1811, states: “The American Brig Alert, Nichols from Bordeaux to Newbury Port, was detained on the 6th inst by the Semiramis Frigate, and put in charge of an officer and 6 men but the crew took possession of her, she has been since detained by the Vestal Frigate, and sent in to Portsmouth.”

The story is confusing. After a close look at it, and with the information from Lloyd’s List, I think this is what happened: The Semiramis, a British Naval frigate, stopped and detained the American brig Alert on July 6, 1811. It was manned by a captain, mate and three boys. Captain Richardson of the Semiramis sent Mr. Furse, a Midshipman [the rank of a young British naval officer], along with six other men from the Semiramis, on board the Alert. Two of the six men from the Semiramis were Americans. After Midshipman Furse and two of his men went to sleep, about midnight on July 9, 1811, his four other men standing watch, including the two Americans, were bribed by the Captain of the Alert to allow him to take over the brig. Furse and the two men were seized, while asleep, and tied, hand and foot, by cords. The next morning, on July 10th, Furse and his two men were put, still hand-tied, into a leaky long-boat and set to sea adrift, about 300 miles from land. They were given bread and water which was spoiled by salt water. A man named Rowlinson, untied Furse with his teeth and all three were freed from their cords. On July 16th, after six days adrift, they landed on Ushant [a French island in the English Channel], and then thought it best to go to Morlaix [not an island, but an area on the Brittany coast of France]. On landing, they were imprisoned, but treated well. The next day they were marched to Brest [another city in Brittany], and placed in a hospital, where the letter was written from. Mr. Furse apparently died after writing the letter. After setting Mr. Furse and his two men adrift, the brig Alert was detained by the Vestal Frigate. Before being boarded by the men of the Vestal, the four men from the Semiramis went into the hold and claimed they had been confined there when the Alert was seized by the Captain. The newspaper sent Furse’s letter to the British Admiralty so that the four mutineers could be tried for their crime. Without the letter, no one would have known of their complicity. The Alert was sent to Portsmouth, England.

Mutiny, in General:

Peter Earle, in his book, Sailors: English Merchant Seamen 1650-1775 (Methuan: London, 2007), p. 175, cites Marcus Rediker who found evidence of sixty mutinies on English and American ships in the first half of the 18th century, an average of just over one a year, although he believes there were more than that. In about half of the cases, the mutineers succeeded in taking control of the ship. Mutinies generally occurred in one of two ways. One way was by passive resistance without violence. For example, one crew led by the mate took over a ship because the captain ordered a change of course they believed would result in shipwreck. Other crews refused to weigh anchor and set sail because the ship was leaking and they believed dangerous, or they wanted to wait for a convoy. The other way was through violence, usually with one or more murders. Most of the crew had some sort of weapon, if only a knife, and the ship had other potential weapons, such as handspikes, guns and small arms. Excuses given by the crew for such takeovers included mistreatment of the crew, over-work, a shortage of water or provisions, or an unseaworthy ship. The unrest was often fueled by alcohol.

John Newton, a slave boat captain who later became a clergyman and wrote the words to the hymn, “Amazing Grace,” found out in 1752 that his crew was planning a mutiny. One of his crew informed Newton he had been solicited by Richard Swain to sign a “round robin,” a sheet of paper on which two concentric circles were drawn. Within the inner circle, the sailors would ‘write what they have a mind to have done’ and between the two circles they would write their names. ‘No one can be said to be first, so that they are all equally guilty’ and ‘no one can be excused by saying he was the last that signed it, and he had not done it without great persuasion.’ Captain Newton was quite surprised because the sailors had all been quiet on the voyage and he did not remember any complaints. Captain Newton quickly had Swain put in ‘double irons’ and transferred Swain and other mutinous sailors to another ship whose captain agreed to ‘deliver them to the first man of war that offered.’ This cut-short the mutiny. (Sailors, pp. 177-178).

Captain Cannon’s Probate Administration:

Captain Cannon died intestate (without a will) and his probate was opened in “Peeltown” at a meeting of the Ecclesiastical Court held in the Parish of Kirk Patrick on August 3, 1811: “George Cannon of the Town of Peel and Parish of German having departed this life on or about 13th July last past Intestate and this Court having received Intelligence thereof Hath for the preservation of the Rights of Creditors and all other Persons interested in his Estate, upon the humble petition of Leonora Cannon committed unto her the said Leonora Cannon the Administration of all and singular the Goods, Rights Credits Chattels and Effects of the said Intestate and she is thereupon sworn well and truly to Administer the same to exhibit into the Episcopal Registry [a full born and ______ (?)] Inventory thereof to pay all his just debts so far forth as his goods and Effects will extend and the Law bind her and John Taubman of Peeltown and the said Leonora Cannon are sworn to take care of the Children under age of the said George Cannon that they sustain no injury in their Persons Property or Education so far as they can prevent it, and she the said Leonora Cannon is sworn to render a fair and just account of her said Administration when Hereunto Lawfully required and to these Ends she hath given Pledges in Form of Law namely Caesar W. Kettleworth [Frances Wilkins says “Cesar Wattleworth”] and Thomas Garrett both of the Parish of KK German.”

The following were claims against the estate:
Jany 17th Mess Bridson & Harrison claim brot Pounds 45.10.0
25th James Parr Crane Ditto 3. 0.0
July 23rd John Caley Ditto 30. 0.0
Augst 24 Messrs Grundy Sons & Wood Ditto 27.04.0”


In an effort to find more about Captain Cannon’s sailing activities later in his life, I completely reviewed Lloyd’s Register, Underwriters, for 1811 and Shipowners, for 1811 and Lloyd’s List for 1805 to 1811. The muster rolls do not exist for 1811. The following are leads that came from the review, but which I do not believe will yield fruit or have not had time to review further. My recollection is that Lloyd’s Register does not exist for some of the years in question, so it is not possible to double-check the name of a captain from Lloyd’s List.

(1) Lloyd’s List, February 12, 1805: ship John & Elizabeth, Captain Cannon, arrived in Southampton on February 8, 1805, from Youghall. However, no Captain Cannon was listed in Lloyd’s Register, 1805, Underwriters, for this ship.

(2) Lloyd’s List, April 16, 1805: ship Emerald, Captain M Cannon, arrived in Liverpool on April 14, 1805, from Tortola.

(3) Lloyd’s List, June 11, 1805: ship Egyptian, Captain Cannell, arrived in Liverpool from Jamaica on June 10, 1805. He sailed from Jamaica on March 25, 1805. Lloyd’s List, January 21, 1806: Egyptian, Cannell, arrived in Bonny from Liverpool. Lloyd’s List, April 15, 1806: Egyptian, Cannell, arrived in Jamaica from Africa January 29, 1805.

(4) Lloyd’s List, June 25, 1805: ship Providence, Captain Cannon, arrived in Gravesend from Memel on June 20, 1805.

(5) Lloyd’s List, May 14, 1805: ship Lusitania, Captain Carmen, sailed for Oporto from Deal on May 13, 1805.

(6) Lloyd’s List, September 17, 1805: ship Minerva, Captain Campbell, sailed from Gravesend for Dublin on September 15, 1805.

(7) Lloyd’s List, October 18, 1805: ship Hannah, Captain Connell, arrived in Liverpool from New Orleans on October 16, 1805. Lloyd’s List, November 1, 1805: Hannah, Connell, arrived in Liverpool from New Orleans & Hoylake. Lloyd’s List, April 1, 1806: Hannah, Connell, arrived in New York from Liverpool.

(8) Lloyd’s List, October 18, 1805: ship Euphrates, Captain Connell, arrived in Clyde from Honduras on October 13, 1805. Lloyd’s List, December 31, 1805: Euphrates, Cannell, sailed for Honduras from Clyde on December 24, 1805. Lloyd’s List, February 28, 1806: Euphrates, Connell, sailed for Honduras from Cork on February 20, 1806, as part of a large convoy.

(9) Lloyd’s List, November 29, 1805: ship Pitt, Captain Cannon, arrived in Gravesend from Jamaica on November 27, 1805. Large group of ships, part of a convoy. Lloyd’s List, December 3, 1805: Pitt, Campbell, sailed for Jamaica from Clyde on November 26, 1805. Lloyd’s List, April 15, 1806: Pitt, Campbell, arrived in Jamaica from Clyde on January 29, 1806.

(10) Lloyd’s List, December 20, 1805: ship Fanny, Captain Connell, sailed for Jamaica from Cork on December 18, 1805. Lloyd’s List, March 18, 1806: Fanny, Connell, arrived in Jamaica from Liverpool on January 21, 1806.

(11) Lloyd’s List, January 7, 1806: ship Roebuck, Captain Channon, arrived in Falmouth from Cork on January 2, 1806.

(12) Lloyd’s List, January 17, 1806: ship Experiment, Captain Cameron, arrived in Limerick from Liverpool on January 11, 1806.

(13) Lloyd’s List, March 25, 1806: ship James, Captain Cannon, arrived in Gravesend from Newry on March 23, 1806.

(14) Lloyd’s List, August 7, 1807: ship Douro, Captain Connor, arrived in Hull on August 4, 1807, from Oporto. Lloyd’s List, November 13, 1807: Douro, Conner, arrived in Falmouth on November 9, 1807, from off Oporto. Lloyd’s Register, 1807, Underwriters, shows the Douro as a brig of 204 tons with a captain Conner, sailing from Hull to Oporto. Other instances of Captain Conner and the Douro have not been kept, but have been noted.

(15) Lloyd’s List, October 2, 1807: ship Fortune, Captain Kennan, arrived in Bonny from Liverpool. Lloyd’s Register shows A Kennan on the Fortune with a trip from Liverpool to Africa.

(16) Lloyd’s List, November, 8, 1808: ship Sisters, Captain Cannon, arrived in Clyde, on November 2, 1808, from Demerara. Lloyd’s Register for 1808, Underwriters, does not list a Sisters with a Captain Cannon.

(17) Captain Connell of the ship Anna, from Liverpool to the Baltic [Lloyd’s Register, Shipowners, 1811]

(18) Captain Connor of the ship Duke of Montrose, from London to Guadl [Lloyd’s Register, Shipowners, 1811]

(19) Captain Connell of the Brig Recovery, from Cork to New York [Lloyd’s Register, Shipowners, 1811]

(20) Captain Connell of the Rosamond, from Grennock to Charleston [Lloyd’s Register, Shipowners, 1811]

Gill Evans, a researcher from Liverpool, indicates that the Liverpool Mercury started in July 1811. She reviewed it from the beginning to December 1811. The Liverpool Courier started February 1808, but there are no copies for 1810. Gore’s Advertiser is from December 1765 to 1780 and 1781 to January 1, 1856, but 1810 is missing. Williamson’s Advertiser starts May 1756 to February 5, 1856, but 1810 is missing. There are no Liverpool newspapers for 1810.

Frances Wilkins reviewed Gentleman’s Magazine and found nothing on George Cannon’s mutiny.

Steve Behrendt has indicated he does not think George Cannon would sail from a port other than Liverpool and he doubts he would have worked in the illegal slave trade (the slave trade was abolished in England in 1807). Most books about the illegal slave trade concern the U.S. He does not think that the Caesar reference with McCannen and Cannon are to our Captain George Cannon. For primary sources, he says the best bets are Liverpool newspapers and muster rolls (neither of which are available). Admiralty documents are also of use, but they are only in manuscript form at the British National Archives in Kew Gardens (High Court of Admiralty – HCA) series. Sailor’s wage disputes often went before an Admiralty judge in London. George Cannon is the only Captain Cannon in the Liverpool Muster Rolls from the 1780s to 1808. However, the ship Minerva’s 1802 Liverpool register also lists a Robert Cannon as captain when the boat was surveyed. Steve has done his own search of Liverpool newspapers and research in Kew and found nothing.

I have had assistance from the following in trying to located information on Captain Cannon: Wendy Thirkettle, Assistant Archivist at the Manx National Heritage Library in Douglas, Isle of Man; Frances Wilkins, author of various books relating to the Isle of Man, including Manx Slave Traders: A Social History of the Isle of Man’s Role in the Atlantic Slave Trade, 2,000 Manx Mariners, The Isle of Man in Smuggling History and The Smuggling Trade Revisited; Gill Evans, a researcher located in Liverpool; Priscilla M. Lewthwaite, a researcher located in the Isle of Man; Ken Cozens, a researcher with a Masters degree in Maritime History from the University of Greenwich, located in London; and Stephen D. Behrendt, a professor at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, with a PhD from the University of Wisconsin, one of the foremost authorities on the slave trade and author of The Transatlantic Slave Trade: A History, Revised Edition, The Transatlantic Slave Trade (book and cd-rom), The Diary of Antera Duke, an Eighteenth-Century Slave Trader, and numerals articles on the slave trade, including “The Captains in the British Slave Trade from 1785 to 1807,” in Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire and “Human Capital in the British Slave Trade” in Liverpool and Transatlantic Slavery.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

WWC: 1938 Eagle Scout

My father, William W. Cannon (Bill), got his Eagle award in 1938 at age 13.
My understanding is that he was one of the youngest Eagle Scouts in Salt Lake at the time he got it. Below, with his mother and father, Luella Wareing Cannon and Edwin Q. Cannon.
From his merit badge sash,
it appears that he got 40 merit badges, many of which are no longer in existence. 
 The merit badges above are Bugling, Interpreting [created in 1911 and discontinued in 1952, merged into World Brotherhood], Business [created in 1911 and discontinued in 1966, replaced by American Business in 1966 and Entrepreneurship in 1998], Textiles [created in 1927 and changed to Textile in 1972], Dramatics [created in 1932, replaced by Theater in 1966], Painting, Handicraft [created in 1911 and replaced by Home Repairs in 1942], Mechanical Drawing [created in 1933, replaced by Drafting in 1964], Surveying, Nature, Hiking and Beef Production [created in 1928 and discontinued in 1975, replaced by Animal Science].
The merit badges above are Printing [created in 1911 and discontinued in 1981, replaced by Printing/Communication], Horsemanship, Metalwork, Physical Development [created in 1914, replaced by Personal Fitness in 1952], Stamp Collecting, Reptile Study [replaced by Reptile and Amphibian Study in 1993], Animal Industry [created in 1928 and discontinued in 1975, replaced by Animal Science], Safety, Carpentry [created in 1911 and discontinued in 1952] and Public Health.
The merit badges above are Swimming, Lifesaving, Firemanship [changed to Fire Safety in 1995], Personal Health [changed to Personal Fitness in 1952], Pathfinding [created in 1911 and discontinued in 1952], Athletics, Bookbinding [created in 1927 and discontinued in 1987, merged into Graphic Arts], Bird Study, Woodwork, Cooking, Civics [created in 1911, renamed Citizenship in 1946, then replaced by (a) Citizenship in the Home, which was replaced by Family Life in 1992, (b) Citizenship in the Community, (c) Citizenship in the Nation, (d) Citizenship in the World and (e) World Brotherhood in 1951] and First Aid.
The merit badges above are Reading, Camping, First Aid to Animals [created in 1911 and changed to Veterinary Science in 1972 and renamed Veterinary Medicine in 1995], Pioneering, Conservation [created in 1911 and discontinued in 1952 for Wildlife Management and then Conservation of Natural Resources in 1966] and Scholarship. Following the merit badges are patches signifying rank advancements.

My older siblings, Michael, David and Layne all got their Eagle awards as well and we have a great picture of them with Dad in their scout uniforms. I broke the string with a not-very-steller five merit badges and I'm sure this was a disappointment to my Father. My much younger brother, Matt, also got his Eagle. I was later a scoutmaster for a year and my sons, Sam and Andrew, got their Eagles.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Shepherd Pass and Mount Tyndall

Last Friday and Saturday, Andrew, his friend, Andrew Moura, and I set out to bag a California fourteener, Mount Tyndall. They succeeded and I fell short. However, I had a wonderful wilderness experience and discovered one of my now favorite places in the Sierras. The Shepherd Pass Trail is not used as heavily as the nearby Kearsarge Pass, New Army Pass, Cottonwood Pass or Mount Whitney Trails as R.J. Secor, in his book, The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails, page 42, puts it: "The Shepherd Pass Trail has a well-deserved reputtion of being long, steep, and difficult." In fact, near Shepherd Pass, I spoke with a woman who has been hiking continuously in the Sierra, White and Panamint Mountains for the last four months. She said she has used Shepherd Pass 13 times (presumably some of the times from previous years) and this was the first time she had seen people. She was lamenting that she had seen 12 people the day before. I told her of being in Colorado 3 weeks previous and seeing 800 or 1,000 while climbing Grays and Torreys Peaks. I loved the solitude on this trail, the wildlife and and the rugged beauty of it.

We left Redlands about 5:00 a.m. Friday morning and were in Lone Pine by 8:00 a.m. to pick up our wilderness permit at the Visitor's Center. Unfortunately, the computers were down and we had to wait. So we drove into town and had breakfast, then returned. We drove 15 miles further down Hwy 395 to Independence where we turned off on the road headed for Onion Valley and the Kearsarge Pass Trail which I have been on several times previously. About 4.5 miles up Onion Valley Road we turned left on a dirt road and traveled another 4.25 miles, making a number of right turns (detailed directions are necessary because all of the necessary turns are not marked).
 The ranger told me I would need a four wheel drive or a high clearance vehicle to make it to the trailhead, but it was no problem with my Honda Accord. By the time we got there and got our packs ready, we hit the trail at the way-too-late time of 10:50 a.m. If I am able to do this hike again, I will get my permit the day before and get at least a 6:00 a.m. start. The trail starts at an elevation of 6,299 feet,
right next to beautiful Symmes Creek which originates on the slopes of 13,000+ foot Mount Bradley which looms in the background. Mount Bradley has a craggy ridgeline similar to that of Mount Whitney. We quickly entered a narrow canyon  
and over the course of the next one or two miles crossed Symmes Creek four times (along this section, as on most sections, descriptions of the distances on this trail vary dramatically). Below, looking back down the canyon.
We realized that the trail was going to have to do something pretty radical because we were entering a dead-end canyon with steep walls on all sides.
Of course, we knew from the map that the trail headed to the left, or east, and we were able to guess the route out of the canyon at a saddle 2,800 feet steeply above us. Below, the saddle we went toward is to the left of the craggy peak on the left side. The haze in the picture is smoke from a fire going on elsewhere in the Sierras.
Right after the fourth crossing of Symmes Creek (the last water for quite awhile), the trail started to switchback up the side of Mount Begin. There are between 50 and 60 switchbacks, various sources all come up with different numbers, and I'm not one to count them myself.  Below, we get closer to the crags above.
About one-third of the way up, we passed two men who left the trailhead 30 minutes ahead of us. They were the only hikers we saw that day going our same direction. We probably saw about eight hikers during the day coming down the opposite direction. We heard a number of pheasants or mountain quail and saw numerous western fence lizards and one very large alligator lizard. We also saw and heard Clark's nutcrackers and steller jays. The saddle is at 9,087 feet and anywhere from 3.1 to 4.5 miles from the trailhead (again, the mileage varying dramatically by the source).
I suspect that part of the mileage differences are attributable to the numerous switchbacks which dramatically increase the mileage over and above what the straight distance would be as the crow flies. My pack was feeling heavy and my shoulders were feeling some strain, so I was very happy to take my first sit-down break just past the top of the saddle. Below, looking back down into Symmes Creek Canyon and out into the Owens Valley.
The two Andrews were very nice to let me set the pace at my slow, but steady, rate. At the top of the saddle, Mount Williamson, the second tallest mountain in California, looms ominously and majestically ahead.
Access to it is closed this time of the year as it is used as a sanctuary for the endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep. The two Andrews with the mountains on the east side of Shepherd Creek Canyon.
I believe it took us about 3 hours, perhaps a little bit more, to get to this point. At the top center of the picture is the top of Shepherd Creek Canyon and Shepherd Pass is just to the left of center, hidden by the mountain.
From there, the trail enters into Shepherd Creek Canyon. Several sources complain about the loss of 500 feet in elevation, but I believe whoever engineered the trail did an amazing job to avoid losing more elevation than they did. Shepherd Creek lays steeply below as the trail crosses over a little mini-saddle (the Andrews near the saddle below).
Looking back, from up-canyon, at the saddle below.
Looking out Shepherd Creek Canyon toward the Owens Valley.
The trail heads up-canyon (below, Anvil Camp is located at the top of the wall in the center below),
following the contour of the west wall of the canyon,
around another ridge, then another, until another running creek is encountered, coming from the side of the canyon from a small waterfall above.
The creek then flows into the larger Shepherd Creek some distance below. One person said this stretch of the trail was about a mile. I think it is longer than that. The creek is shaded by trees and has some nice rocks to sit on. We took another nice rest break and re-filled our water bottles. We continued forward along some long switchbacks until we crested a ridge and got a great view of a large wall covered with trees
and a waterfall flowing down the middle of it.
Mahogany Flats, a place to camp, is just off the trail and Anvil Camp is past the top of the wall among the trees. The trail, instead of attacking the head-wall, switchbacks up the west side of the canyon in long, drawn out switchbacks. These switchbacks make hiking pleasant as they allow for a nice, easy pace, but they add significantly to the length of the trail. Anvil Camp, at 10,269 feet, is about 2.5 miles beyond the creek crossing the trail just mentioned. It is beautifully situated in pine trees very near Shepherd Creek. It took us about 2 hours to cover the 2.5 miles and we arrived at Anvil Camp about 6:00 p.m. My goal had been to camp on the other side of Shepherd Pass, but it would have taken us another two hours or more to get there. We were not alone in our failure to meet our hiking goals on this trail. The two men we passed earlier in the day had planned to camp at Anvil and ended up at Mahogany. The next day, two men we passed that planned to camp beyond the pass, just like us, also ended up at Anvil. I was exhausted. It got dark by 7:00 and I was in my bivvy bag by 7:20 p.m.

The next morning I was up by 5:00 a.m., but it was dark and I didn't have the heart to wake up the boys. I did admire briefly a beautiful clear view of the stars in the night sky. I crawled back in the bivvy and waited until after 6:00 a.m. before waking the boys. We were off and hiking by 6:40 a.m., leaving much of our gear in camp. In just a short distance we crossed over Shepherd Creek as we got near, then passed treeline. We went up and over or around several rockpiles, then down into a green, swampy area, known as the Posthole, where there is another camping spot, then up into a moonscape of rocks toward Shepherd Pass at the end of the canyon.
I heard some rockfall on the side of the west canyon wall but was not able to locate the bighorn sheep which was the likely cause. However, I did see numerous bighorn tracks and quite a bit of bighorn droppings. The base of the pass had a large snow patch in the middle. The trail switchbacked up to the right of it through loose scree until it reach the crest at 12,008 feet. Below, looking back down Shepherd Creek Canyon from near the pass.
The pass was another two to three miles beyond Anvil Camp and took us 1 hour and 50 minutes to hike. The hiking was much easier without a full pack. At the top of the pass we caught our first view of Mount Tyndall since seeing it from Hwy 395.
It has somewhat the shape of a headless stegosaurus, the northwest ridge uneven like the armor plates on the backbone. I'd originally planned to hike the northwest ridge, then internet reports of the trip convinced me that the north rib was a better route. We stopped at a small lake near the pass for a rest,
snack and some water, then headed for the north rib, about one mile away. It is an easy hike until right below the north rib. Then a pile of loose granite rocks must be negotiated which is tedious and tiring. Below, the boulder field fans out from the base of Tyndall. The north rib is the black shadow about one-fourth in from the left side.
The climb up the north rib, at least as far as I got, was difficult. Portions are loose scree that sap your energy. Portions are loose rock which occasionally shifts. Below, looking up the north rib toward the summit ridge.
Portions are large rocks which you have to climb. You can kind of pick and choose your poison as you go up. About one-third of the way up the north rib I looked at my watch and it was 11:15 a.m. I was tired. I figured it was going to take several more hours to get to the top. I tried to figure out how long it would take to get back to Anvil Camp and then out to the trailhead. I decided we needed to turn around and head back or we wouldn't get out before dark. Andrew, who was below me at this point, responded a few minutes later, indicating the Moura had never been to the summit of a large mountain like this before and wanted to keep going. They pointed out that they could go much faster than I and would catch up with me. I said "okay" and let them go on while I turned back. At that point I was very disappointed. I thought about this unsuccessful climb, and about Mount Williamson a short distance away which was even a more imposing mountain. I made a determination that I was going to get in shape and come back again in July and climb both Williamson and Tyndall. To do that, I would start exercising an hour each morning and start attending Weight Watchers and try to lose some weight to help me in that goal. Below, from the area below Tyndall, looking at Mount Williamson in the distance.
Below, the Bighorn Plateau, looking the opposite direction.
I ultimately got back to Anvil Camp, packed up my gear, had a little something to eat, then left at 2:40. As time went on and it got closer to dark and as I got closer to the trailhead, I started to worry more and more about the two Andrews. I was concerned that they may have been hurt on the mountain and started to think what I would do if they did not catch up to me before I got down. Andrew usually calls Judy from the summit of the mountains we climb, so I hoped that he might have called her. Then I would know if he summited and the approximate time he did so. But what if there was not cellphone reception at the trailhead? I would have to consider driving out to Independence to call Judy and then potentially miss the Andrews when they got off the mountain. If Judy had not heard from them, I was worried that I was too tired to go back in and look for them. I figured that I would probably have to contact the sheriff's office and see if I could engage a helicopter to look for them in the morning.

When I got to the trailhead about 7:00 p.m. it was almost fully dark. I was happy to have cellphone reception. I asked Judy if Andrew had called and she said he had, from the summit at about 1:15, which was two hours after I left them. That helped. I decided I would wait in the car and see if they made it out that night. About 15 minutes later Judy called and said that Andrew had just called her about "ten minutes from the top of the switchbacks." I was relieved to know they had made it off Tyndall safely and hunkered in for what I thought would be another 1 1/2 to 2 hours before they made it to the trailhead. It was pitch dark. Shortly before 9:00 p.m., I saw two lights in the darkness and flashed the car lights. I was extremely happy to have both Andrews back.

We ultimately stopped in Independence for something to drink (Moura pointed me to some chocolate milk which turned out to be a very nice drink following a long hike), then at Carl's Jr. in Lone Pine. Andrew drove the car home. We didn't arrive until 2:00 a.m. It had been a very long and exhausting day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Billy's 1938 Stamp Album

When my father, William W. Cannon, was age 13 (in 1938), he had a stamp album.
I found it among his possessions after he died. There is nothing of any real monetary value, but there are some treasures in it. Billy's father, Edwin Q. Cannon, was the son of George Q. Cannon and Eliza Lamercia Tenney. George met Eliza while visiting Payson, Utah, which is where my wife is also from. Ed was born in 1886 and the postal stamp is from 1884.
I am assuming it probably was obtained from a letter sent to Eliza by a member of her family. Ed was a hunter and evidence of that is provided by a 1938 duck stamp with his signature on it.
Ed was bishop of the Ensign 20th Ward in 1938 and the collection includes a letter to him from the Palestine-Syrian Headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon.
The address was that of his business, the Salt Lake Stamp Co. In the photo, one of the stamps which was attached to the envelope is folded up so that his full name would appear. It is also interesting to look at the stamps in light of the coming Second World War which changed the landscape of the world, particularly in Africa and Eastern Europe. I love many of the African stamps: Cameroon,
French Sudan,
Ivory Coast,
Middle Congo,
and Zanzibar.
Of particular interest is a stamp with Adolph Hitler representing the Deutsche Reich.
Germany is well represented as Ed served a mission there from 1907 to 1910. Billy had many of the slots for German stamps, covering multiple pages, filled.
I assume that many of the stamps came from letters received at the Salt Lake Stamp Company. Many stamps came from countries that, in addition to Germany, would be heavily involved in and changed by World War II: Hungary,
and Russia.
One area of the world that was greatly impacted by the War was Palestine with consequences that still reverberate around the world today.
Finally, I really love one of the stamps of Mongolia.
It is fun to get a glance back at my father's childhood and at the same time realize that the world is a very different place after a war that impacted his generation so incredibly. The story of that impacted world is visually set forth in the variety of the stamps.