Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ship Sidney: Death of Ann Cannon

October 18, 1842 (Tuesday):

[Levi Richards] Tuesday 18 Commenced with gentle gales with light squalls of rain - Middle & last part light airs & pleasant weather. 45 [knots]. Latitude 23.14. Longitude 53.15.

[Alexander Wright] 18th It was calm and Elder Watt went to Elder Greenhow and wished him to be reconciled but he would not. He then proposed to go to him with other 2 but Greenhow said that he would not settle it until they get to Nauvoo. I was much grieved to see our heads at variance sickness and death prevailing in our midst and no faith to go to the Lord in the state we was in and knowing that we had no authority to try a high priest. Elder Richards asked in what I thought I said that we could not attend to the sacrament as we were then and I thought that it would be better to just let it stand as they could not be reconciled as it would do much hurt to this that had not obeyed the gospel. In the evening Elder Richards spoke and showed what we might do to preserve our healths, as we were in a climate that required more attention to ourselves than the one that we had left.

October 19, 1842 (Wednesday):

[Levi Richards] Wednesday 19 Commenced with light airs & calms. Middle & last part light airs & pleasant. 48 [knots]. Calm 2 hours. Latitude 22.47. Longitude 54.00.

[Alexander Wright] 19th A gentle breeze and saw some seaweed.

October 20, 1842 (Thursday):

[Levi Richards] Thursday 20 First part of the 24 light airs & pleasant. Middle part calm, last part moderate breeze. 39 [knots]. Calm 8 hours. Latitude 22.51. Longitude 54.45.

[Alexander Wright] 20th A strong breeze ahead and passed a ship.

October 21, 1842 (Friday):

[Levi Richards] Friday 21 First of these 24 hours gentle breezes & pleasant. Middle part squally with rain, wind variable. End pleasant all prudent sail set by the wind. There seems to [-] regular trade winds. 115 [knots]. Latitude 23.40. Longitude 56.39.
[Alexander Wright] 21st A breeze this morning and some were sick, but it calmer toward night.

October 22, 1842 (Saturday):

[Alexander Wright] Saturday 22 Commenced with gentle gales & pleasant weather. Middle part calm, last part strong breeze, squally with rain. 73 [knots]. Calm 8 hours. Latitude 23.40. Longitude 57.59.

[Alexander Wright]22nd A strong breeze. At 9 o'clock it began to storm and thunder and lightning and rained very heavy till one o'clock. In the evening the starboard stencil boom on the fore yard broke.

October 23, 1842 (Sunday):

[Levi Richards] Sunday Oct. 23 All these 24 hours strong gales & squally with rain. Split the fore & main topsails from topgallant & main royal. 168 [knots]. Latitude 23.12. Longitude 61.12.

[Alexander Wright] 23rd It was Sabbath. A strong breeze and squally so that a number of the sails was torn so that they had to put up new ones. We were going with reefed topsails.

October 24, 1842 (Monday):

[Levi Richards] Monday 24 Commenced with strong gales & squally with wind. Middle the same double reefed the topsail, last part strong breezes & pleasant weather & so ends. 140 [knots]. Latitude 22.52 Longitude 63.45.

[Alexander Wright] 24th We had a strong from the north and passed another vessel.

October 25, 1842 (Tuesday):

[Levi Richards] Tuesday 25 Commenced with strong breezes & pleasant. Last part gentle gales & pleasant. All drawing sail set by the breeze. 164 [knots]. Latitude 23.21. Longitude 66.39.

[Alexander Wright] 25th We had a good breeze today from the north.

October 26, 1842 (Wednesday):

[Levi Richards] Wednesday 26 Begins with prosperous gales and pleasant weather, middle part the same. Ends calm. 88 [knots]. Latitude 23.45. Longitude 68.15.

[Alexander Wright] 26th Light breeze this morning and came by night.

October 27, 1842 (Thursday):

[Levi Richards] Thursday 27 First part of these 24 hours calm & hot, sultry weather. Middle part the same, ends with light winds & pleasant W. 42 [knots]. Calm 14 hours. Latitude 23.59. Longitude 69.44.

[Alexander Wright] 27th Light breeze from southeast. Saw a fire. Calm at night.

October 28, 1842 (Friday):

[Levi Richards] Friday 28 Moderate breezes & pleasant weather middle light airs & calms ends with light wind & pleasant W. One of the passengers died having been ill all the passage. 61 [knots]. Calm 4 hours. Latitude 24.00. Longitude 69.10.

[George Cannon] This morning, Friday 28th of October, she fell asleep without a sigh, and in the performance of what she considered the commands of God, at half past four o’clock, and was buried in that element which needed no consecration, it never being cursed, in Latitude 24.37 North, Longitude 69.50 West, at five o’clock in the afternoon of the same day. How soon our plans and prospects are changed! Although in expectation of bearing many things which are not of a pleasant nature--privation or poverty we agreed to share with the Saints, but we are tried in a more tender part, and were it not for our helpless children’s sake I should like to repose under the peaceful blue waters with her who shared my every joy and sorrow. Heavenly Father keep me from repining! But seeing other people enjoying the society of those they love, my heart sickens and I long to be at rest with my dear wife.

[Alexander Wright] 28th We had another death this morning at 4 in the morning. She was Sister Canon, the wife of Elder J. Canon, and she was committed to her watery grave at 4 in the afternoon and Elder Greenhow officiated in the usual manner. It was a solemn time. In the evening Elder Greenhow commenced to preach when Elder Richards interfered and told him that he would have to be reconciled to Elder Watt before he could preach. Elder Greenhow showed a very bad spirit but after some conversation acknowledged his fault and Elder Watt was sent for and they were reconciled to the satisfaction and joy of the Saints. Then Elder Greenhow went on with his discourse. The wind rose before the meeting was done, it had been a calm before.

[Robert Crookston] It was not a bad trip and we would have enjoyed a lot of it had not mother been ill a lot to the time and a very sad thing happened. The mother of the Cannons died on the ship when in sight of the West India Islands. They were not permitted to land with a body on board so she was consigned to a watery grave. It was a very solemn occasion.

[Ann Cannon Woodbury] Mother took sick the day we left and never sat up again. Levi Richards doctored her, but she died in six weeks and was buried in the sea and six of us were left without a mother.

[Ann Cannon Woodbury[1]] Ann’s body was fastened to a board and weights attached at the feet. The father and children huddled together as her shrouded body splashed into the sea. Little Annie, who remembered that solemn splash for the rest of her life, went off by herself after supper. Her father often found her in one of the ship’s dark corners, sobbing for her mother.

[David H. Cannon [2]] David had to be strapped to his berth to keep him from throwing himself overboard after his mother.

[George Q. Cannon [3]] As our friends continue to pass from this state to that better world, we who remain, feel an increased interest therein, and feel stimulated to look forward with increased joy to the time when we shall be united. I recollect that when I lost my mother in boyhood, I could contemplate death with pleasure. I reflected upon the idea of leaving this existence with feelings that were the opposite of dread; but, since I have grown up to manhood, and have taken upon me its duties and cares, and am surrounded with other ties and associations, those feelings of indifference to life are considerably weakened; yet, when I reflect upon my children, which I have yielded up to death, and my many friends who have gone behind the veil, I can think of death with different feelings than if I had no friends gone to that land, where the wicked cease to trouble.

October 29, 1842 (Saturday):

[Levi Richards] Saturday Oct. 29 Commenced with moderate gales & pleasant. Middle squally with rain, ends pleasant. 73 knots. Latitude 25.15. Longitude 70.37.

[Alexander Wright] 29th A fair breeze today from the east in the evening Elder William McLean preached in the evening.

October 30, 1842 (Sunday):

[Levi Richards] Sunday 30 These 24 hours begin with moderate breezes & flying clouds. Middle and last part light winds & cloudy weather others ends. Latitude 23.23. Longitude 70.51.

[George Cannon] On Sunday, the 30th of October, a child of three years old died of scarlet fever and was interred in the deep that afternoon after a suitable and impressive discourse and prayer from Brother [John] Greenhow.

[Alexander Wright] 30th It being Sabbath and coming in the forenoon Elder Hareson [Harrison] opened the meeting and spoke and Elder Greenhow spoke after him. At one o'clock a child of Mr. Kays died in the scarlet fever and was committed to his watery grave at 4 in the afternoon and Elder Greenhow officiated on the occasion. It stormed so that we had no more meeting. We saw a ship in the evening going the same course with us.

October 31, 1842 (Monday):

[Levi Richards] Monday 31 Commenced with moderate breezes & thick rainy weather. Borned a child belonging to one of the passengers. Middle part light winds & rainy. Last part steady breezes & squally with rains. 118 [knots]. Latitude 25.57. Longitude 72.51.

[Alexander Wright] 31st It was squally this morning so that we had to go with reefed top sails for a short time but it was calm or night and Elder Watt preached.

November 1, 1842 (Tuesday):

[Levi Richards] Tuesday Nov. 1 Light airs calms squalls & showers during the whole 24 hours, something very uncommon in these latitudes. 17 [knots]. 3 calms 13 hours. Latitude 25.57 Longitude 73.12.

[George Cannon] On Tuesday, the 3rd of November, [4] we passed Abaco, commonly called the "Hole in the Rock," and at night fell in with the ship "Rockall". She left Liverpool on the 3rd of October, fifteen days after we left, and had a good wind all the way, having kept a more northerly course.

[Alexander Wright] November 1st This morning it was calm. By ten we had a soft breeze. We saw the same ship this morning that we saw on the 30th, supposed to be the "Medford" from Liverpool to New Orleans with passengers under charter by President Feilden. Mr. Kay has another child sick today, thought to be in the fever. In the evening it [-]. Lakie, a priest, preached and we were on the out look for land. In 2 this morning there was a sail in sight on each bow and at 8 o'clock the mate saw land in the region and by 9 o'clock we saw it from the deck it was a real keeper reckoning as we did not need to alter our course any when we saw land neither were they mistaken. In the distance as it was exactly the distance they said. We saw another ship on our starboard side. The land was one of the Bohemia Islands, belongs to England the name of this island is Abaca or the hole in the wall. It has a light house and they that keep it are the only inhabitants. It looks green and some trees and bushes, has a rock stand of a little so that there is a gap and the within that a pen goes through so that we could see through and it is called the hole in the wall. Afternoon we are to the south of the island and a light wind but fair and the [-] sails set a ship on our larboard bow. A schooner ahead of us and a ship on our starboard quarter. After night the ship on our larboard bow put up a light which our cabin answered them by putting out a light and he bore down on us by 10 o'clock and she turned out to be the "Rokol" from Liverpool, sailed on the 3 of Oct. had 60 passengers. Told us that the 2nd ship sailed with the Saints on the 21 Sept. [5] and the third on the 1 of Oct. Her name was the "Henry." [6] She told us of a great fire at Liverpool since we left. She then parted from us to cross the banks and we are going up Provence Channel with a fine wind.

November 2, 1842 (Wednesday):

[Levi Richards] Wednesday 2 Commenced with moderate gales & pleasant weather. Middle part the same. At 6 a.m. made the hole in the wall. Several vessels in sight so ends proper sails set. 94 [knots]. Latitude 25.50. Longitude 74.57.

November 3, 1842 (Thursday):

[Levi Richards] Thursday 3 Commenced with gentle gales & pleasant weather hole in the wall bore by compass northeast 8 miles. At 11:30 spoke the "Rockall" Captain Higgins, 30 days from Liverpool. At 10 a.m. made the great Isood. Ends all drawing sail set from breeze. 103 [knots]. Latitude [-]. Longitude [-].

[Alexander Wright] 3rd We had a fine wind this morning. A ship in sight. At noon we were in sight of the brothers 2 rocks so called and big [-] then the hen and chickens. A boy belonging to Mr. Kay died today bout 1 o'clock and I have just been laying hands on another child in the fever. The funeral was at 5 this afternoon. Elder Hareson [Harrison] and Greenhow officiated. We passed the light house on the [-]. This evening we were using the lad line through the night the 4 a fair wind. Today we are in the Florida Gulf. 4 sail in sight, 2 behind and 2 before we are gaining on the one before. We think she is the "Rokol." The child is still sick. We are just passing an island and lighthouse called the Double Head [--] and a fine breeze. Evening it became squally and carried of the yet (he [George D. Watt] spoke this that those on board might learn that we were not sent to do miracles as some thought that we the elders might heal the sick or have raised up the sailor that fell down from the yard and was killed and even some of the Saints had been professing to great power) but exhorted them to contend for the faith of the ancients and that gifts that the Lord had promised to them that believed and he saw that he wished them to understand him. Though that he believed that many had been healed and he knew that others had spoke in the gift of tongues and that others interpreted it and that it was the privilege of all to receive gifts [-] and to have a knowledge for themselves but he misled them to understand that the power had not yet been given to them to command this and it should be so. He said that he wished the Saints and elders to know their privileges and not to profess to that which they had not received, but that there was other ordinances yet to attend to when they should receive an endowment from on high and then they would go out with power. Some did not receive and Elder Greenhow after meeting called it all delusion and thought Elder Richards tried to convince him. He still persisted and manifested a very bad spirit and it caused a division amongst the brethren as he spoke very disrespectful of Elder Watt. Wind still ahead and we are still in the Gulf. There is a general bustle of preparing to go ashore. A number of the water casks have been taken on deck and taken down and packed up for returning to England. Margaret Donald has been very ill tonight so that she was not expected to live anytime.

[George Cannon] Brother Richards, Greenhow, Harrison and Watt were appointed to lead the company, and the first-named as presiding over the whole. This we understood after we were on shipboard, and I saw plainly that our leader did not posses the confidence of the company which he had under his care. How much better it would be were the officers elected by the company they represent! On one occasion, seeing we had so much spare time, Brother Greenhow wished that instructive meetings should be held among the officers of the Church. This was what we had followed for some time in Liverpool with success, for I believe the Lord blessed us in this thing. We came together, not to show our wisdom, but our ignorance, and the presiding officer appointed a certain thing for our ensuing meeting--for instance, the priesthood. All the Scriptures were examined concerning it--what one omitted another produced; in short, there was hardly a subject but what was brought forward in this manner; and as all felt their own weaknesses we were all blessed in this way--the weakest were strengthened and even the strongest were made more strong. We were blessed in these meetings and expected they would answer on shipboard where all was harmony. Brother Greenhow proposed this meeting on the quarterdeck, Brother Richards being below at the time. Brother Watt opposed the motion, and stated that it tended to discord and discussion and that the Church in Edinburgh tried this and it led to discussion and ill-feelings. Brother Richards was called upon for his opinion on the subject and it went against Greenhow’s proposal. All the Liverpool brethren and sisters were fond of Greenhow, knowing him to be a man of God, and that the Lord blessed him in restoring hundreds to health through his instrumentality.

From this time there was very little faith in the ship. One of our brethren spoke of faith and the blessings we should derive from it. Next evening Brother Watt arose and told us that we pretended to a thing which no man among us had received. He for one had not received the gift of tongues, and he believed the gift of tongues came from a lying spirit or we should always have the interpretation--if the Spirit of God dictated to us to speak in tongues, the Spirit of God, the self-same spirit, would interpret it and not say it was not wisdom to interpret all. Well, this something surprised me. He asked, "Shew me one of you who can raise the dead; shew me one who can walk upon the water, or one who can say: Be thou healed!" This created a good deal of confusion among the Saints or community, for I could no longer call it the Church of Christ, faith was dead among us. Brother Richards called me aside and asked me if Brother Watt’s preaching was contrary to my belief. I told him if Watt’s doctrine was true he had kicked the ladder from under my feet and that I considered myself worse than a sectarian in professing things which did no belong to our Church; but that while God had given me such strong proofs of the truth of the gospel, and I had witnessed the power of it in myself and family, nothing could shake me from my faith, which was not built on the sand; and that we were blessed according to our faith and that the arguments of Watt would not apply to Peter in the time of our Savior on the earth. For instance, if you asked Peter, "Can you walk upon the water? Can you raise the dead? Can you say, be thou healed?" he would have held his peace.

This party feeling caused me a good deal of uneasiness, for I knew by the Spirit of God that it was nothing else. I had lost my chief comfort on earth, and had plenty of time to think of my Heavenly Father and his dealings with his children. I had acknowledged his right to all that I possessed and he blessed me with such blessings as I never possessed before, and assuring me in the course which I am now pursuing.


[1] Statements of Ann Cannon Woodbury to Leonora Woodbury Worthen, George Q. Cannon: A Biography, Davis Bitton (Deseret Book, 1999), pg. 40. See also fn 32, pg. 479,

[2] CFHT, p. 240.

[3] George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, page 369, at the funeral of J.S. Kimball, son of Heber C. Kimball, on November 29, 1864.

[4] Tuesday was the 1st of November and this appears to have happened on November 1st.

[5] The Medford left Liverpool on September 24th.

[6] The Henry left Liverpool on September 28th.


  1. I accidentally stumbled on to your blog and I sure am glad that I did. I am a descendant of George Cannon the immigrant and his wife Mary Edwards. I have been trying to find information on her trip overseas, but have not been able to find anything. How are you connected to George?

    It has always been my dream to go to the Isle of Man and see Captain Cannon's house! I envy you there.

  2. I descend from him through his son, George Quayle Cannon. I would be very interested in any information you have on George Cannon's later life, including his marriage to Mary. One of my research goals is to find information about him through other journals of that period, or even family stories handed down through the years.

    The Isle of Man is a wonderful place and I hope to go back again and spend more time there. Thanks for your comment.

  3. I have a copy of the LIFE AND ANCESTRY OF ELIZABETH CANNON PIGGOTT, by Alice C.Reay that tells a little bit about George Cannon and Mary Edwards. If you would like I could scan it and send you copy. You can contact me at lapurple at bellsouth dot net.

  4. Are these real journal entries?? (I am descended through children Angus, Mary Alice and Ann along different lines.) Where you get them? They are wonderful. Thank you

    1. Yes, they are real entries. I have seen them from various sources. The Cannon Family Historical Treasury may have George Cannon's journal entries and I believe the LDS Church has a website that gives all of the journal entries for those on the ship. It has been awhile since I've looked for it, but I'm sure you can find it with a search.