Thursday, January 4, 2024

Edwin Quayle Cannon (Biography)

I previously posted a biography of my grandfather, Edwin Q. Cannon here. Following is a more comprehensive biography of my grandfather put together by my first cousins, Mary Alice Barnes Pearson, who started it, then finished by Kathryn Barnes Luke (Taffy). 

The following is a forward by Karhryn Barnes Luke:

Here is a biography of Edwin Quayle Cannon. I have not included footnotes throughout the story but do have all sources carefully documented - and can easily send you documentation for each statement in this story.
This biography was originally started by Edwin’s oldest grandchild, Mary Alice Barnes Pearson.  She was a major Cannon Family Genealogist since the early 1960’s and she had in her possession many original letters and sources for the George Q. Cannon family. She was also one of the main contributors to several Cannon family books and articles, including:

The Cannon Family Historical Treasury” - edited by Beatrice Cannon Evans and Janath Russell Cannon and printed in 1967.  (Janath, by the way, is a daughter-in-law of Edwin Q. Cannon)
George Q. Cannon - a Biography - written by Davis Bitton and printed in 1999.

Other sources include several personal letters from George Q. to his wife, and Edwin’s mother, Eliza Lamercia Tenney Cannon.  These were in a trunk that belonged to Eliza Tenney Cannon.  These were in Edwin Q. Cannon’s possession.  He gave them to his daughter Mary Cannon Barnes.  Mary’s son William Cannon (Bill) Barnes transcribed these letters and printed them in a volume entitled, Letters to Eliza Tenney Cannon from her Husband George Q. Cannon. Writings by both Edwin Q. Cannon and his wife, Luella Wareing Cannon, were also used.  Luella put together a rather extensive genealogical scrapbook on our ancestors which I have, and she wrote and published her own story in a book she called My Cup Runneth O’er, printed in 1969.  Again, Mary Alice Barnes had much of the original information about Edwin’s life that was used in these books. Finally, some of the grandchildren of Ed and Luella have happy memories that are shared in this biography.   

Unfortunately, Mary Alice Barnes Pearson died before she was able to complete this story so, as the next oldest grandchild, it has been my pleasure to continue with this project.  I have the cooperation, review, and approval of my cousins in this project. If you have questions or would like further documentation of anything in this story, please contact me. 

Kathryn Barnes (Luke)

 Edwin Quayle Cannon

A short biography compiled from family records, his and his wife’s writings, and recollections of his grandchildren. Compiled by his granddaughter Kathryn Barnes Luke

That man is a success
Who has lived well
Laughed often
And loved much.
Who has gained the respect
And the love of children.
Who has filled his niche
And accomplished his task.
Who leaves the world
Better than he found it -
Whether by an improved poppy,
A perfect poem,
Or a reached soul,
Who never lacked appreciation
Of earth's beauty Or failed to express it.
Who looked for the best in others
And gave the best he had.
- Robert Louis Stevenson
(Copied from Ed's personal notebook.  It was a favorite guide in his life)
This describes Edwin Quayle Cannon! Ed was born 7 September 1886, the third son of George Quayle Cannon and his third wife, Eliza Lamercia Tenney Cannon.  He was born on the George Q. Cannon Farm at a time when federal agents were hounding Mormon polygamists.

The surviving Cannon Farm buildings (and many are surviving) are located today south of California Avenue, on 1000 West in Salt Lake City.  On Feb. 4th, 1885, about a year and a half before Ed's birth, George Q. wrote Eliza from Salt Lake City:

"These are the days when we have an opportunity of testing the value of our religion and also of being tested ourselves. It is a blessed privilege to have the opportunity of suffering with the Saints of God. If we expect to reign with Christ we must be willing to suffer with him. Such times as these we are now having are such as we have been led to expect. The redemption of Zion will only be accomplished by the earnest labors and sufferings of the Saints, and we must make up our minds to bear our part."

She was instructed to write to him under cover through Abraham H. Cannon (fourth child of first wife Elizabeth Hoagland Cannon) at the Juvenile Instructor Office.

In March 1886, while Eliza was pregnant with Edwin, George Q. wrote the following letter (It was written one month after having been arrested in Nevada on February 13 while attempting to escape to Mexico to avoid arrest. He forfeited bail and was in hiding until he voluntarily turned himself in in September 1888.):

“My Dear Wife,
“How I would like to see and talk with you and learn how you are. I sincerely hope you are all right and that you have had no mishap. If you could only send me a line, telling me how you are it would be a great comfort to me. I pray for you constantly that no accident or evil of any kind may befall you and that you may be able to go your full time and have a child that will be healthy and perfect and full of the Holy Ghost from its birth.

“How are you and the boys and how are they doing? I hope you will find it convenient to have William go to school at Provo. The discipline there is of such a character as I am sure would do him good.

“My health is good and I am feeling well at being out of the hands of my enemies. Even the partial liberty I have I appreciate and think it far superior to being in some conditions and circumstances. I pray that we all may be kept out of the power of our enemies.
If we will only be patient, we shall see these enemies of ours go down. The Lord will not leave us to their mercy, but will stretch forth his arm in our behalf.

“Kiss the boys for me and give them my love and accept the same to yourself, my dear wife, from

Your loving Husband,
Geo. Q. Cannon”
Wives of polygamists were often summoned to court to testify against their husbands. Ed's mother was the only one of George Q. Cannon's wives who successfully avoided being subpoenaed.

For some time during her pregnancy, Eliza spent a lot of time living in Payson, Utah with her older sister, Jane Simon. When she was back on the Cannon farm, she, on more than one occasion, took baby Edwin in her arms and hid from the Marshals in the willows that grew thick along the banks of the Jordan River. For the rest of her life, her health was never very good.
Ed was the youngest of the three sons of Eliza and George Q. His oldest brother was William Tenney Cannon, born 5 September 1870 in Salt Lake City. He was named after Eliza Tenney's father, who had died of cholera about three months before she was born in Quincy, Illinois. Read Tenney was the second son, born 12 May 1875, also in Salt Lake City.  Read was probably named for Eliza's grandmother. Her father's parents were William Tenney and Judith Read Tenney. Edwin was probably named after his mother's older brother, Edwin Rich Tenney, who died in Quincy, Illinois in 1857 at the age of 21.
Ed was two and one-half years old before he was able to get to know his father. In fact, the year of his birth and the one following were particularly difficult years for the whole Cannon family. In 1885, political persecution for the practice of polygamy became more intense, forcing the religious leaders into hiding. His father was then serving as first counselor to John Taylor, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He had been ordained an apostle in 1860 and subsequently served as a counselor to four Presidents, Presidents Young, Taylor, Woodruff, and Snow. By 1886 George Q. Cannon was the most sought-after political target in the Church because of his vast influence both inside and outside of the Church.
George Q., along with the other members of the First Presidency, were in hiding through most of 1888. We know that during this time he made several very brief visits to members of his family, but it is not known how many of the family members were able to meet with him during these surreptitious visits. It is certain that little Eddie was not able to spend enough time with his father to get to know him.
On September 17, 1888, George Q. turned himself in and spent the next 175 days in the Utah State Penitentiary. In the journal he kept while in prison, he recorded having many visitors, including several visits from the older children and other family members. It didn't record any of the younger children or any of his wives coming. However, on Saturday, December 1st the Warden took him to his farm for a visit. He recorded:

"On Saturday the Warden was kind enough to take me down to my house on the river to see my son Read who I was told was dying. I had a brief visit, with the Warden's permission, with my folks and my sister-in-law, Jane Simon. Read is very low. I felt well in administering to him. I took dinner at my wife Elizabeth's late residence - the best meal I have had in eleven weeks."

Read [Ed's older brother] had been seriously ill with a fever for some time, but did recover from this illness. It is probable that his father was able to see Eddie at this time, for a few minutes at least. George Q. was released from the penitentiary on February 21, 1889.
In a 20th Ward newsletter written in 1945, Ed wrote:

“My earliest memory is that of kneeling at the banister of the first balcony ‘box’ of the Salt Lake Theater and of being frightened at the tragedy being enacted on the stage. The ‘box’ was quite ample to comfortably seat six people so that the stage could be seen, and in addition had sufficient depth to permit a withdrawal from any view of what was going on. I took advantage of this means of escape from the terrible drama being enacted. In order to get to the theater, we drove the horse and buggy from the Cannon Farm to the old tithing yard, which was surrounded with a high cobble stone wall and was located just off Main Street, where the Presiding Bishop’s Office now stands.”
The Cannon Farm was a good place for a young boy to grow up. There were five homes - one for each of the five wives and her family. There were spacious lawns and gardens connecting the homes. There were other buildings, including the Cannon farm schoolhouse. On a map of the Cannon Farm as it was in the 1890s, hand-drawn by Ed’s brother Collins T. Cannon it shows a small building at the southwest corner of the farm, behind Eliza’s home, labeled ‘Wood Shed’.  In Collins’ writing it says: “Ed got licked here frequently”.  

In 1889 a streetcar line (called the Dinkey Car) ran out from town along 13th south so the kids could ride the streetcar into town to attend school. Then the schoolhouse became the family dining room. In 1896 the Cannon Ward was organized in the old School House/dining room and met there for two years until a new chapel was built.

Many years later Ed wrote the following concerning life on the farm:

"Father's Life on the Farm"

“During the latter years of Father's life, he was away a great deal, but due to the arrangement of family all eating together we saw a great deal of him when he was at home.

“It was during the early nineties that Father equipped the old school house as a dining room. All the families gathered together three times a day for their meals. At that time the cook was a Chinaman named Ye Sing. Fifteen minutes before mealtime the waiter rang the large school bell on top of the schoolhouse, and it was again rung five minutes before the time to start. Woe to him who was late! Sing, the cook, would stand by his meat block with his huge meat ax in hand and if the late comer cut thru the kitchen to the dining room Sing would bring down the ax on the block with exclamation "Chop 'em dam head off." On fast Sunday with the first meal at 4 p.m. after Fast meeting, you can bet there were no late comers.

“Before breakfast and before dinner in the evening the family knelt in family prayer. One evening Collins and I were playing in front of the Gashouse and forgot to come in until Father came after us. He merely lashed us three or four times with his napkin as we ran ahead of him, but the fear of his displeasure was greater than fear of the lashes.
“Sing served 'Bloston Blown Blead' Mondays, fish cakes Tuesdays, 'Black Belly pie' Thursday and 'Lice pudding' on 'Fliday'."
At another time, Ed wrote:

"One of my earliest memories of Father was being taken into his and Abram's presence with one or two of the other boys for some infraction of good behavior. The manner in which Father and our elder brother impressed us with the necessity of true repentance left no doubt or idea in our young minds that to be caught at the same offense would result in dire calamity."

There were many good times to be had on this farm for young people. Ed had five half-brothers close to his age for him to run around with (Radcliffe Quayle, Clawson Young, Espey Telle, Collins Telle, and Wilford Young). One of these five, Clawson (son of the fifth wife, Carlie) told of the activities he and his brothers took part in. There was rafting and boating on the pond, playing on an old, abandoned water wheel in the Jordan River, swimming in the swimming hole where their father swam with them on the rare occasions when he was home, ice skating in season and horses to ride. They had parties and dances frequently, a "really good" tennis court, and always enough fellows to form two teams for 'Rounders' (a game similar to softball). They also played such games as Run Sheep Run in the evenings on the spacious lawns. As they grew, older friends from town would come out to the farm for ice skating parties, dances, etc.
Even though George Q. Cannon had hired men to do the heavy work on the farm and gardeners to take care of the greenhouse, beautiful gardens and extensive lawns, and someone to take care of the teams and elegant coach, he made sure his children learned to work. All the children had their chores to do. According to his age and ability, each boy was assigned to milk and care for some of the cows. He was to separate and care for his portion of the milk and the last one done had the job of cleaning out the separator (after the family acquired one). The boys were also responsible for keeping the barns clean. Ed did his share along with his brothers. He told how his mother always kept a cow, and she taught him how to milk it when he was about six years old. He wrote, "Mother always kept chickens, generally one of the fancier breeds such as 'Silver Spangled Hamburgs' and 'Black Minorcas’.”
Ed also wrote of the family's celebration of the 24th of July. He wrote:

"I think there was no more enjoyable time had than at the family excursion to the West Jordan farm (Westover, Father called it) on the 24th of July. We got an early start necessitating very feverish activity from a very early hour so as to be ready when the carriages came around. Races and games were arranged, for Father got so much pleasure out of seeing his children contest athletically. However, the main interest centered around the luncheon held out in the orchard. If the season happened to be unusually early the June Red apples would be ripe enough to eat. I don't know why the excursion was abandoned in later years.”

Ed felt that:

"No father ever enjoyed more providing his children with things that would produce pleasure and congeniality among them. He frequently provided oranges for a feast among the children. One time he got a bunch of bananas and sat by and witnessed a banana eating race."

George Q. Cannon's birthday was always celebrated by the family with an elaborate dinner and program, and at least as early as 1895 with a nice, printed program which listed the complete menu and all the events and participants on the program. In that year, the younger children and older grandchildren all took the part of various flowers in a little skit. Ed was "Mignonette." These gatherings continued after George Q.'s death, and were held for many years on January 11th, George Q.'s birthday. It was a gathering the family looked forward to each year, and was always called "The Cannon Birthday", instead of the family reunion.

George Q. Cannon died on April 12, 1901, in Monterey, California. Ed later wrote:

"The last time that I saw father that I remember of was at a meeting at Aunt Carlie's after his return from his trip to the Sandwich Islands. (George Q. had gone to Hawaii in 1900 for the Mission Jubilee) His whole concern seemed centered in arranging his financial holdings in such a way as to provide the greatest benefit and protection to each individual of his family. He undertook the impossible in this matter however, as there is no plan of financing that is broad enough in its scope to keep funds intact for such a large group with their divergent activities and inclinations. Father's personality was so predominant and his family love so great that even years after his death we remember him and miss his example and wise council.”

Ed was just 14 years and seven months old when his father died.
Eliza, Ed's mother, had a strong streak of independence which she demonstrated a number of times. She forestalled punishment by their father by promptly punishing her boys herself when the occasion required. In 1897, she took Ed with her on the train to Taylor, Arizona to visit with the family of her older brother, Warren Tenney. And in about 1899 she took him back to the East Coast to meet his brother, Read, returning from his mission in Germany, and to Philadelphia, to see his other brother, William, graduate from medical school. George Q. demurred at letting Eddie go on two such choice trips, foreseeing correctly that the boys his age in the other families would demand similar favors. But she took him anyway and George Q. had to pacify the other boys by taking them on some of their own trips.

In 1905, his brother Read died, and in 1906 Eliza sold her house on the Cannon Farm and she and Eddie made their home with William T. Cannon, her eldest son, at 530 East South Temple.
Ed attended the Grant Elementary School and LDS High School, after which he worked for a while for the D & RGW and Union Pacific Railroads, and Western Union as a telegraph operator. While doing this he was transferred to several different locations, including Thistle, Utah; Cokeville, Wyoming; and Pocatello and Weiser, Idaho.
He then enrolled at the University of Utah. In a newsletter for the 20th Ward in 1945, he wrote:

“During my first year there, I regularly passed a red-haired girl on my way from the Library building to an 11 o’clock class in the Science building. She was on her way to a class in the Library building. Not having made her acquaintance, I could no more than look at her. I was introduced to her later in the year at a dance incident to the opening of the new (now old) gym. That was her last year at the “U” for she graduated. In spite of the separation in school activities, I managed to meet her from time to time despite her school teaching activity and the competition of some more favorably situated fellows. In the summer of 1907, I had to leave the field to the rest of them to answer a call to a mission in Germany. From that vantage point, I demonstrated the sanity of regular, but not too frequent letters, because upon my return home after an absence of three years, I found I was still in the running. Luella Wareing, the girl referred to, and I, in due course, became engaged and a year later, on June 21, 1911, we were married.”
His schooling at the “U” was somewhat limited because he left school to go back to work. The summer of 1907, he and two of his half-brothers (Wilf and Collie) went to Cherry Creek, Nevada to work for the Imperial Mining Co. He received his mission call by mail when he arrived in Cherry Creek. In a letter to Luella from Cherry Creek, dated July 22nd, 1907, he wrote:

“We had a great trip from Salt Lake, we got lost three times and were tied up on the desert three days with only enough water for one day, and only escaped choking to death by a mere chance, that chance being a good team.  It took us ten days when we only expected to be six.

Later in the same letter he went on:

“I expect to be home in about twenty days as I am called to go on a mission to Germany & Switzerland about August 28th.  You can’t imagine my anger at receiving a call on the day of my arrival here.  I don’t see why the[y] couldn’t have sent it three days sooner, then I wouldn’t have left Zion to come out to this God-forsaken hole.”
The mission call was to the Swiss-German Mission where he served from 1907 to 1910. When he and his mother determined he should go on a mission, they knew she would likely not live to see him return. She died when he had been in the mission field for about six months. He left Salt Lake on August 14, 1907, by train and traveled to Chicago, where he spent several days. From there he went to Niagara Falls, then on to Boston, where he spent a few days before his ship sailed. They landed in Liverpool, then on to London, then crossed the Channel to Holland where he spent a couple of days in Rotterdam visiting with his older brother, Sylvester, who was serving as president of the Holland Mission. He went on to Brussels and stayed a day or two with his brother Clawson, who was serving a mission there. When he finally arrived in Zurich, the mission headquarters, he was assigned to go to Tilsit. In route to Tilsit, Ed spent a couple of days in Berlin where he visited with his brother Tracy Y., who was there studying music. In Tilsit, Brother Hermann Babbel was his first companion. Brother Babbel later immigrated to Salt Lake where he had a home on the corner of 1st Avenue and A street. He was a tailor by trade and had his shop in his home. He and Ed remained life-long friends.

 Edwin Quayle Cannon as a missionary, signed
“Love Ed, Frankfort Main, Oct 14th, 1909

Serving a mission in Germany at that time was a difficult undertaking. The governments of the various provinces did not accept the Church, and proselyting by the missionaries was against the law. The missionaries were registered in the country as students, and if they were caught proselyting, or were turned in to the police by neighbors as being missionaries they were banished from the province. They had to be very careful. One way the missionaries kept "secrets" was to speak ‘Pig Latin’ among themselves. They were building a strong base of membership in the Church despite the difficulties. After a couple of months in Tilsit, he was re-assigned to Königsberg.
In notes from his mission he tells of ice skating, roller skating, and sword fighting. He also attended an air show in Frankfurt and took a trip to Heidelberg. He attended operas and theater. His complete mission journal has been transcribed by his grandson Bob Cannon and can be accessed at:
At the conclusion of his mission, Ed, his brother Wilf, and two other missionaries who were released at the same time, made the "Grand Tour," touring much of Europe, then going to Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Egypt, and Palestine.
Soon after his return from Germany, William and Ed bought an interest in the Salt Lake Stamp Company, with money that came from their share of the proceeds from the sale of George Q. Cannon and Sons (which later became the Deseret Book Company). Ed became its President and manager and remained so for almost forty years.
It didn't take long after his mission for Ed to become engaged to Luella Wareing, whom he had corresponded with throughout his mission. Elder Joseph F. Smith, then President of the Church, performed their wedding in the Salt Lake Temple on June 21, 1911. Following the ceremony, they had a wedding breakfast in Ed’s brother William’s home and a reception that evening in Luella’s parents’ home on 5th Avenue.  Ed's brother, Rad (Radcliffe Quayle, son of fourth wife, Martha Telle Cannon) married Maude Jennings Riter on 22 June 1911, and the two brothers plus another friend and their new brides went on their honeymoon together. They spent several days in three cabins owned by family friends in Brighton Canyon, Utah where they hiked to some of the lakes, did some fishing, played cards, and enjoyed playing and singing to the organ, which was found in one of the cabins. They hung a sign on the outside of the cabin saying, "JUST MARRIED - the agony is now over."
Ed and Luella first lived briefly in a home on Fourth East, then moved into an apartment in the home of his brother William, which was located at 530 E South Temple. They then built a home at 231 D Street in 1913. It was in this home that all three of their children were born and raised, and eventually, where both Ed and Luella died.
The year following the move to their new home, which was just half a block from Luella's parents' home, their first child was born. Their daughter, Mary Alice, was born on 24 May 1914. Four years later, on 6 May 1918, a son, Edwin (Ted) Quayle Cannon Jr., was born. A few months after Ted's birth the deadly influenza epidemic hit Salt Lake City. Luella became sick and lost her milk. Ed's brother, Collins T. (Collie) and his wife, Ida May lived across the street and had a baby, Bud (Collins T. Jr.) who was just couple of months older than Ted. Ida May was able to nurse Ted along with her own son. Seven years later, on 10 April 1925, their third (and last) child, William Wareing Cannon, was born. The births of all three children were attended by Ed's older brother, Dr. William T. Cannon.
The Cannon's led an active social life. For a number of years, they went dancing once a month as members of the Bonneville Knife and Fork Club. They would dress up, with the women wearing formals and the men in tuxedos and the group would have dinner then spend the evening dancing.

In the 1930's when B. H. Roberts' "History of the Church" was first published, Vida Fox Clawson, who was a widow at the time, approached Ed and Luella and asked them to arrange a study group in their home to study that history. Among those attending the first meeting were B. H. Roberts, Judge Oscar McConkie and his wife, and Mr. and Mrs. Henry D. Moyle. They decided to rotate homes and meet monthly. The hostess would provide the refreshments and the host would give the lesson. When Bryant S. Hinckley joined the group, he enjoyed giving the lesson, so he was invited to be the teacher. The group finally became too large to meet in the homes, so they started meeting at the Lion House. This group continues as the Cannon/Hinckley Church History group. Throughout the years, many prominent Church leaders have been members.
Ed was successful in business and turned the Salt Lake Stamp Company into a very successful venture. In addition to the Stamp Company, he held several other prominent positions. He was a leader in civic affairs, service clubs, and in politics. He was one of the founders of the Business Men's Alliance, and of the Executives Association of Salt Lake City. He was a charter member of the Salt Lake Kiwanis Club. He was on the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army, was involved with the Boys Clubs, and a member of the Sons of Utah Pioneers, where he served as President in 1955.
Ed was equally active serving in church callings. He held many leadership positions in the auxiliaries and Priesthood Quorums. He served as one of the Seven Presidents of the Thirteenth Quorum of Seventies in the 20th Ward area for many years.  On May 22, 1938, he was put in as the Bishop of the 20th Ward.  His first counselor was Lee A. Palmer, second counselor was Eldred G. Smith with Howard Cook as Ward Clerk. In December 1940, he was released as Bishop and called to serve as President of Ensign Stake. He held this position until October 1949. While serving as Stake President, he inaugurated a Stake Farm project which had its beginnings on south Second West, then later moved to 11th West, just north of 33rd South. During the years that he was Stake President, the whole family was included in trips to the Stake Farm out along the Jordan River to help pull weeds, pick corn, or thin beets - all the while swatting at mosquitoes.
He was encouraged to run for the Utah State Legislature by Pres. J. Rueben Clark, a member of Ed’s Ward and of the First Presidency of the Church, and Albert E. Bowen, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. He was elected in 1947 and again in 1949 but left in June 1950 when he was appointed to be the Mission President of the West German Mission.
Ed served as President of the West German Mission for 39 months, from June 1950 until November 1953. At that time, the mission covered West Germany - north to Denmark, west to Holland and France, south to Switzerland, and east to the Iron Curtain. The country was still recovering from the devastation of World War II and was struggling with the political unrest caused by the control of East Germany by Russian Communists. While serving in Germany a large building program began and chapels were built in Frankfurt, Stadthagen, Munich, Hamburg, Eppendorf, Herne, Langen, Saarbrücken, and Essen.  Land was acquired and plans drawn for several other chapels. They remodeled what had been the Anheuser Mansion in Frankfurt to be a beautiful new mission home.  It was a bombed-out shell when they acquired it, and they made it into a beautiful home and office. In 1953 the Church was recognized by the German government. One of the highlights of their mission was the visit of President David O. McKay in June 1952.