Thursday, December 24, 2009

Unusual Cannon Christmases - Nine Generations

1779 George Cannon, age 13, of Peel, Isle of Man, was seven months into a ten month voyage on the ship Rawlinson, from Liverpool to Jamaica and back to Liverpool again. On Christmas day, he was likely in Kingston, Jamaica, enjoying copious amounts of rum, even at that age, as sailors were want to do.

1787 George Cannon, was only three days at sea from Liverpool into an eight and a half month voyage on the ship James, from Liverpool to Jamaica and back again. He was probably enjoying the Christmas spirits, but was still close to land and having to pay careful attention to the workings of the ship. It would have been a working day.

1788 George Cannon was nine days at sea from Liverpool into a seven month voyage, again on the ship James, from Liverpool to Jamaica and back. He was a little further from land than the year before, and depending on the weather, may have had more time to enjoy the Christmas spirits.

1790 George Cannon was nine months into a three and a half year voyage of the slave ship Eliza. He was likely in Anomabu on the Gold Coast of West Africa, present-day Ghana. He may have been enjoying native spirits made from fermented coconut oil.

1791 George Cannon was 21 months into the voyage of the ship Eliza. He was likely in Cape Coast Castle on the Gold Coast of Africa, present-day Ghana.

1792 George Cannon was 33 months into the voyage of the Eliza. During the past year he had gone from the Gold Coast of Africa to deliver 119 slaves in Falmouth, Jamaica, had sailed to New York, perhaps back to Jamaica, and on Christmas day was at sea on his way back to Cape Coast Castle on the Gold Coast to purchase more slaves.

1793 George Cannon was likely back home in Peel, Isle of Man. During the year the Eliza had gone back to Kingston, Jamaica with 167 slaves and then sailed back to Liverpool, arriving in early September. Less than a month after Christmas, in January, George, flush with cash after all of those months at sea, loaned 20 pounds to his parents, Hugh and Eleanor Cannon, secured by their home in Peel.

1794 George Cannon married Leonora Callister on February 3rd in Peel and she was four months pregnant when he left in July for a voyage as first mate on the ship Good Intent. The Good Intent sailed to Angola, Africa, where it purchased slaves, then sold the slaves in Grenada and sailed back to Liverpool. The birth of George’s first child, George Cannon (who later emigrated to Nauvoo) on December 3rd, and Christmas day both occurred while George was at sea, sailing between Angola and Grenada. Surely, as he drank his grog on Christmas day, George wondered whether Leonora and his first child had survived childbirth.

1796 In June, George sailed as first mate on the ship Helen from Liverpool headed for Angola in Africa to purchase slaves and then to Barbados and Antigua in the Caribbean to sell the slaves. Leonora was five and a half months pregnant with their second child when he left and the child, Leonora (who later emigrated to Canada and married John Taylor), was born on October 5th while George was in Angola. It appears that in late November or early December, while on the Middle Passage, the Helen was captured by a French privateer, the ship Scipio (England and France were at war with each other). The Helen was later recaptured by the President Sloop, part of Admiral Harvey’s Squadron of the British Navy in the West Indies and was taken to St. Kitts. George likely spent this Christmas as a prisoner of the French, at sea, wondering if Leonora and his second child had survived childbirth and also wondering when and if he would see his family again.

1798 In June, George left Liverpool as first mate on the ship Iris for Bonny, Africa (present-day Nigeria) to purchase slaves. Leonora was several months pregnant. Captain John Spencer drowned in Africa in August and George replaced him as captain. After purchasing 420 slaves, the Iris headed for Kingston, Jamaica. While in the Caribbean, Captain Cannon and the Iris captured two vessels as prizes, the North America and the Uncle Toby, one a French and the other a Spanish ship. The prizes and the slaves were taken to Kingston. Captain Cannon celebrated Christmas day in Kingston, likely a very happy day as he contemplated the substantial riches he was likely to realize from the capture of his two prizes, and a complete reversal of two years prior when he spent Christmas as a prisoner of a French privateer. Captain Cannon got back to Liverpool in April. His third child, Thomas, born in January, was likely not alive, as he died in infancy.

1799 After less than three months at home, George Cannon left Liverpool in July as captain of the Iris, this time headed for Angola in Africa. For the fourth straight voyage, Leonora was pregnant when George left home, but this time he may not have been aware of it as she was only about one month along. On Christmas day, Captain Cannon was likely in Angola. He may very well have spent the day with the captains of other slave ships, and local Portuguese and African slave traders, as was the custom, drinking and eating in celebration. George arrived in Kingston, Jamaica in August to sell his slaves and the Iris, leaking badly, was condemned. Captain Cannon had to get passage back to England on another ship, arriving in November after being gone for 16 months.

1801 Captain Cannon celebrated Christmas at home in Peel, owner of a new home, purchased in October, located at 7 Michael Street. When advertised for sale 14 years later, the home was described as a large dwelling house three stories high, with four rooms on each floor, an excellent cellar, with a stable and backyard on “one of the most convenient and pleasant streets in Peel.” His father, Hugh, had died earlier that year, so his mother, Eleanor, who lived nearby, likely spent the day with him and his family.

1802 Captain Cannon left Liverpool on September 29 as captain of the ship Minerva. On Christmas day, he was likely in Bonny (Nigeria), spending his fourth Christmas in Africa, dining with other captains and local African traders. In April, he delivered 212 slaves to Nassau, in the Bahamas and was back in Liverpool by August.

1810 William Cannon, brother of Captain Cannon, was likely killed when the ship he owned and was captain of, the Leander, wrecked on Great Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy, near Nova Scotia, in September or early October 1810. Captain Cannon may have had William’s widow, Alice, also a resident of Peel, over for Christmas that year.

1811 Leonora Cannon likely spent Christmas day at home in Peel with her family. Captain Cannon, just eight months after the death of his brother William, was killed in July in a mutiny on his own ship. Captain Cannon’s family had done very well financially, but now the breadwinner was gone. It was a time of belt tightening as well as sorrow.

1825 George Cannon, son of Captain Cannon, and Ann Callister, both originally neighbors in Peel, where they grew up, were married on October 24, 1825 in Liverpool. They were in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, and George, a carpenter, was likely lured to Liverpool seeking a job. Their first Christmas as newlyweds, was likely spent in Liverpool.

1840 George Cannon’s brother-in-law, John Taylor, arrived in Liverpool in January, having left Nauvoo at the direction of Joseph Smith, to go on a mission to England. Taylor immediately went to the Cannon home, located at 43 Norfolk Street, to introduce himself. A month later, in February, George and Ann Cannon were baptized into the LDS church and Taylor lived at the Cannon home while proselyting in Liverpool. In June, at the instigation of Parley P. Pratt, the three oldest Cannon children, George Q., Mary Alice and Annie were also baptized. Later in the year, Taylor went to the Isle of Man to preach. George Cannon and family likely spent Christmas day at home, with John Taylor, and perhaps some other missionaries. The amazing progress of the LDS church in England, and Taylor’s experiences with family and friends in the Isle of Man, were likely topics of conversation during the day.

1841 John Taylor and many of the other LDS missionaries, including Brigham Young, Heber Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, Willard Richards and Orson Pratt, left Liverpool in April to go back to Nauvoo. During the year, many ship loads of LDS converts left Liverpool to join the saints in Nauvoo, including a ship with 170 converts, which left on November 8th. George Cannon and his family were anxious to do the same and were working to save money and prepare themselves to go. Christmas day was likely spent in Liverpool with the anticipation and sorrow that this could be their last Christmas in England and the last time that they might see other family members.

1842 George Cannon, the immigrant, with his family, left Liverpool on the ship Sidney on September 18th, headed for Nauvoo, Illinois. His wife, Ann, died on October 28th off the coast of Louisiana and was buried at sea. They then took a steamboat up the Mississippi River from New Orleans to the vicinity of St. Louis where their steamboat got stuck in the ice. George rented a home in or near St. Louis where they spent their Christmas. It would have been a Christmas of many mixed feelings: much sorrow for the loss of their wife and mother, and great excitement to meet Joseph Smith and be with the Taylors and other saints in Nauvoo. In the spring, once the Mississippi opened up again, they took a steamboat to Nauvoo where they arrived on April 12, 1843, greeted by John and Leonora Taylor and Joseph Smith.

1844 On June 27, Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were killed by a mob in Carthage, Illinois. George Cannon built the drag, kind of like a large sled, that their bodies were brought back to Nauvoo on. He also made their death masks, clipping off a lock of Joseph’s hair, caught in the plaster, and giving it to his son, David. During this time of uncertainty and hardship, George left his family in Nauvoo and traveled to St. Louis to find work. There, on August 17 he died of sun stroke. George Q. and his sister Ann, moved in with their Uncle and Aunt, John and Leonora Taylor. John Taylor was with Joseph and Hyrum when they were killed. He was shot four times and was severely wounded. He was shot in the left thigh (the bullet grazing the bone), the left hip (leaving a hole the size of a cup), his left arm (the bullet lodging in his hand) and below the left knee. Mary Alice, just age 15, married Charles Lambert on November 28 and she and Charles took care of her two youngest siblings, Angus and David. It would have been a hard Christmas that year, following the death of their father, the death of the prophet, the near-death of their uncle and the splitting up of their family. I am sure they must have questioned their parents’ decision to leave England.

1849 George Q. Cannon was on his way to the gold fields of California with a large group, including Charles C. Rich, Jefferson Hunt, Addison Pratt and Henry Bigler. Having traveled across the Mojave Desert, they were resting up at the Isaac Williams Ranch, also known as the Rancho del Chino, in what is now Chino, California. The day before Francis Pomeroy made a plum pudding, Addison Pratt shot several ducks and a curlew and they “dressed” a “bullock” and appointed cooks to make the Christmas dinner. Christmas day the “earth [was] green with grass and wild oats” and they had a dinner with “plenty of roast beef and potatoes, baked ducks and plum pooding.”

1850 George Q. Cannon was on the Island of Maui in the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands on an LDS mission. He spent the day reading and studying the Hawaiian language. “My thoughts naturally reverted to home and its attractions.” He thought members of the family might be “wondering where George is today.”

1851 George Q. Cannon spent Christmas with Brothers Winchester and Burnham on the Island of Maui. Christmas morning, Mr. Rice arrived from Waiehu. “We spent a very agreeable day and had an excellent Christmas dinner, but still my thought naturally reverted to home and its attractions and I could not help wondering whether I was forgotten by the folks amid the general festivities. We had in the evening a candy frolic a spirit of hilarity and mirthfulness prevailed.”

1853 George Q. Cannon was in Hanapepe, Kauai. On Christmas Eve, he “[c]ommenced reading the translation of the Book of Mormon, in company with Bros. Farrer and Kauwahi, for the purpose of correcting any inaccuracies that might be in the translation and to see that no words or sentences had been left out.” On Christmas day, “[v]isions of the enjoyments and pleasures of home floated through my mind…Bro. Wm. Farrer went to meeting at Hanapepe this morning, leaving Bro. Lewis an me here; -- our residence was the old prison house of this place, it being vacated in consequence of all the law breakers being sent to Lihue; our dinner consisted of a calabash of poi, and a dish of boiled sweet potatoes and pork. Truly it requires the spirit of the Lord to enable an elder thus to isolate himself, from all that is near, dear, and attractive to him on earth, and take up his abode among a semi-barbarous people and in an out of the way place like this, where there is no attraction, except to do the will of the Father; -- for one who has ever known the pleasures and true happiness of a life among the saints, and yet under these circumstances, I spent a very happy day,-- I preached morning and afternoon on the first principles/ I never preached better to my own satisfaction on these subjects, and, although, laboring under a heavy cold, I was blessed with strength and an abundant flow of the spirit and of the teaching; the saints appeared to be filled, and all rejoiced in the blessings of the new & everlasting covenants. Three were confirmed who had been baptized.”

1862 George Q. Cannon was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and President of the European Mission. He was in Liverpool on Christmas day. “Arranged for a Christmas dinner for the Elders and the brethren in the office, there were present: Elders [Jacob G.] Bigler, West, B[righam]. Young Jr., John M. Kay, and Sis. Kay, Elders Bull, Shearman, Sloan, Perkes, Graham and Sister Graham, Bros. D. M. McAllister, Robert R. Anderson, Ephraim and Wm. McMillan. The dinner was excellent and did E. credit and all enjoyed themselves very heartily. In the evening we all attended tea party in the chapel, and had an excellent evening's enjoyment in listening to the singing, recitation and acting. There were two pieces performed: "The Phenomenon In a Smock Frock," and "Box and Cox." The acting of Bros. Graham and Perke's was admirable. The folks from the office were the main contributors to the evening's amusements, and I was much gratified with their efforts.”

1876 George Q. Cannon was a counselor to President Brigham Young and was in Washington D.C. as a non-voting delegate for Utah Territory in the U.S. Congress. “Took the train at 9.20 last night for New York. We put up at the St. Nicholas which hotel we reached between 7 & 8 this morning. Remained there until a little after noon, awaiting the arrival of Rudger Clawson, Bro. John W. [Young] having said that he would meet us. We then walked up Broadway and took a car to Central Park. The ground was covered with snow but there were immense crowds of people pressing to the skating pond. This was so crowded they could hardly skate and to make it still more unpleasant the ice was covered with snow. Went to Wallack's Theatre in the evening, and saw "Shaughraun" Mr. Boucicault's famous Irish comedy. The acting was very good and the scenery was very fine.”

1881 George Q. Cannon was a counselor to John Taylor and was in Washington D. C. as a non-voting delegate for Utah Territory in the U.S. Congress. “Christmas day. I spent it principally in my room reading the Books of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. After dinner I took a walk for an hour and a quarter. Received a very interesting letter from my son Abraham, dated the 8th inst. at Berlin, Germany. He has been traveling in Germany, having left Bern about a month and a half ago, and has labored in different parts of Germany among other places, Nurnberg and Berlin. At Nurnberg 20 members were added to the Church while he was there, and to many outside he had borne his testimony and they had promised to investigate the doctrines further. The police had been after him at Nurnberg, and at Berlin the meetings are all under the supervision of the police, and if it was known by the officers that he was there in the city, he would have to march very soon or be imprisoned. The evening previous to his writing there was no officer present at the meeting, and he therefore addressed the assembly; but that morning early, a detective was around making inquiries in regard to him, he having learned by some means that a stranger addressed the meeting. He says he means to be as wise as possible, as he had no inclination to see the inside of a German prison, still he means to do his duty whatever the result may be. He expected to go to Hamburg in a few days, to assist Bro. Guhrke, who was in prison and would not be released till the 17th. He was alone so far as Elders were concerned; but he was enjoying his labors very much, and rejoiced that he had the privilege of laboring where he was, and of bearing his humble testimony to many persons. Being away from English-speaking people was an advantage.”

1884 George Q. Cannon was in Salt Lake City. “Spent the day with my family at home. We had a dinner to which I invited my sons John Q., Frank, and Abraham with their wives in which we all attended except Frank who was detained by the sickness of his child at Ogden, but promised to be down in the evening. He failed, however, for the same reason to be here. In the evening attended the theater with my wife Sarah Jane, Angus and David and saw the opera "Bohemian Girl" and enjoyed it very much.”

1885 George Q. Cannon. “The family were greatly pleased with the presents I gave them. We had a quiet day. Angus [Cannon] and myself spent considerable time conversing with Pres. Taylor whose health was not good.”

1886 George Q. Cannon was a counselor to John Taylor and they were on the “underground” due to their plural marriages. On Christmas Eve, he noted, “Our usual correspondence was attended to. In the evening my brother Angus and myself went to the city. It was a very dark night and it was with difficulty we could keep the road. We reached the Tithing Office about eight forty five where Bro. Wilcken was waiting and he drove me to my home on the [Jordan] river. I found all well.” On Christmas day, “I had a very pleasant day with my family. My son Abraham called to see me, also Bro. H. B. Clawson. I made a present to each of the children, except the four youngest, of a bible. The older ones received valuable editions, the five boys having bibles given them which I thought would answer their purpose as missionaries should they ever go out preaching. I had very serious talk with my older sons, enquiring into their secret lives and habits; to my son William, especially, I talked with very great plainness. I slept in my secret place of concealment.”

1888 George Q. Cannon was in the Utah Penitentiary serving a five month sentence for unlawful cohabitation. We do not have a journal entry for this date, but we do have journal entries for part of the time he spent in prison.

1890 George Q. Cannon was a counselor to President Wilford Woodruff. On Christsmas Eve, “I went home a little earlier than usual, hoping that by some exertion I could get my new kitchen prepared for us to have our Christmas dinner in the dining hall, but I found affairs too far behind for this.” Christmas day, “I spent the day at home and visited my family a little. Had a call from Brothers F. Armstrong and A. E. Hyde, who came to see me respecting the laying of the corner stone of the sugar factory tomorrow. They said that Bishop Cutler would be greatly disappointed if I did not come.”

1891 George Q. Cannon was a counselor to President Wilford Woodruff. “I had invited all my children and grandchildren to take Christmas dinner with me, and they were all present today excepting my son Hugh, whose wife visited me, but could not stay. My dining room was full. There were sixty five sat down to dinner, each branch of my family at a separate table. All enjoyed themselves very much. We had a beautiful Christmas tree, and it was loaded with presents for the children, and in the evening the little wax candles were lit, which made the tree very brilliant. My gardener, John Young, plays very excellent music, and we all had a dance, which kept up till about 10:30. This has been a day of very great enjoyment to me, and I think it has been to the entire family, as all expressed themselves to that effect.”

1892 George Q. Cannon was a counselor to President Wilford Woodruff. “Held Sunday School with my children this morning, after the departure of John M. Cannon and Mr. C. A. Hall, who came down and breakfasted with me. Had an interesting time with my children. At 2:00 I was at the Tabernacle. The speakers were Bro. Junius F. Wells and my son Abraham. A very good meeting. I think Abraham is improving in his speaking. He spoke with more vigor than I had heard him before. I drove around by Bro. Grant's to see his wife, and found her very low, but her mind bright and clear. This is one of the finest Christmas days I ever saw; the weather is charming.”

1893 George Q. Cannon. “Reached Salt Lake City at 3 a.m. Brother Wilcken and my son Hugh came up by daylight for me. I found my family all well, excepting Martha. Her disease seems to have settled in her left arm and it is helpless. Although I am cramped for means and unable to make the customary Christmas presents, I felt profoundly thankful that we had good health and could meet together under such favorable circumstances. I took my Christmas dinner with my wife Carlie.”

1894 George Q. Cannon. “I sat very quietly at home after visiting all my houses [on the Cannon Farm] and wishing my family a merry Christmas, until about 3 p.m. when my daughter Mary Alice and her husband came, followed by my sons John Q. and Abraham with their families. My adopted daughter Rosy was also there with her children. We spent a very delightful time together and had an excellent meal prepared by my daughter Emily. My wife Carlie had all her mother's family at her house.”

1899 George Q. Cannon was a counselor to Lorenzo Snow. This journal entry covers three days, from December 23 to 25. “I did not feel well and feared that I was threatened with a recurrence of pneumonia; so I determined to stay indoors these three days and see if a rest and keeping in the house would not help me. I felt myself benefitted by doing this. I had a very enjoyable Christmas. My family all called to see me.”

1907 Edwin Q. Cannon was serving in the Swiss-German mission in Tilsit, East Prussia (now Sowjetsk, Russia). He was staying with a married companion, Hermann Babel. They had a Christmas tree where they lived and a nice gathering with members and friends on Christmas Eve. On Christmas day they “had lots of good things to eat,” he ate dinner at Sister Onusseits and in the evening visited an investigator.

1908 Ed Cannon was serving in Leipzig, Germany. His companion was Archie Brockbank. They rented a hall in Leipzig. He got there early in the morning to decorate a Christmas tree. At noon he went to Bro. Schrodter’s in Golis for dinner and then their program at the hall began at 4 P.M. They had a program, including singing, which he participated in, then refreshments, and at the end, a short dance. The “celebration was quite a success.”

1909 Ed Cannon was serving as president of the Frankfurt Conference and living in Frankfurt, Germany. On December 23rd he “hired a Santa Claus suit for Christmas” and the elders met at 7.30 P.M. to practice. On the 24th he “worked in the hall all day.” He wrote to Luella Wareing [later his wife] after getting home. Christmas day he wrote, “Sister Wagner’s little child died the other day and was buried this morning at 8 A.M. Bro. Belnap and I and some of the saints attended the funeral and we sang ‘O Mein Vater’ and ‘Komm Heim’ and I dedicated the grave and spoke a few words to those present…Our Christmas program started at 4 P.M. and lasted until almost 7 P.M. We had over 180 grown people present 52 of them being friends [investigators]. Elders Stewart, Thompson and I ate supper at the ‘Salzhause’ then went roller skating. I took the part of “Sankt Nickalaus’ at the ‘Feier’.”

1947 William and Margery Cannon were serving in the Hawaiian Mission in Wailuku, Maui. The night before they went to a Christmas Eve program given by the Wailuku Branch. Afterwards, when they got to their car, they found “a sack of presents from the Akiu’s, and the Mokehas brought a chicken over.” Christmas day, “All of the missionaries around the vicinity of Wailuku had dinner at Afoon’s house, given by the Relief Society. Michael, just a newborn, was left “at the home of Mrs. Dutro in the evening and all went to a show. Pres and Sis Smith attended.”

1948 Marg Cannon had previously left Hawaii to go back to Salt Lake to have their second child, David. Bill was now stationed in Honolulu where he served as a counselor to the mission president, E. Wesley Smith. The day before, Bill visited his aunt and uncle, Florence and Chauncey Cannon. Then he went to his other aunt and uncle’s home, Irene and George Cannon, where he had dinner and stayed the night. Christmas morning “I found that Santa had visited leaving all of George’s kids a big pile of things. He also left me a stocking full of gadgets useful) and George and Irene gave me a Leather date book, a wallet, a box of candy, and other incidentals. They were surely kind. After noon we had the usual Turkey dinner with all the trimmings. We went for a ride in their sleek new Nash afterwards, and then I had to come back and prepare my Sunday School lesson.

1950 Edwin Q. Cannon and his wife, Luella Wareing Cannon, were in Frankfort, Germany, where Ed was president of the West German Mission. On Christmas Eve, they gathered around the Christmas tree had a prayer and Luella wrote, “Sister Zanner played ‘Silent Night’ on her flute. Again I was reminded of our son Ted, and of his first Christmas in the German Mission, at Insterburg. Ed asked Brother Wagner to read the Christmas story from St. Luke, which he did by candlelight. Brother LeRay McAllister and others sang. We had punch and cake and my homemade candy…My thoughts were of Salt Lake City and my family, and I had a touch of homesickness.” Christmas day, they “enjoyed the luxury of some relaxation in the morning.” They later enjoyed dinner at the home of some American friends, the Bernard Lewises, in Germany with the U.S. State Department. Then they attended an open house of the Norton’s.

1951 Ed and Luella Cannon were in the middle of remodeling the mission home in Frankfurt, Germany. Luella wrote, “Christmas was just another day of work, preparing meals for a big crowd in a torn-up house. We had a Christmas tree and for dinner we had a chicken pie and plum pudding.”

1952 Ed and Luella spent their third straight Christmas in Frankfurt, Germany. They had a Christmas tree on the garage of the mission home and one in a large second story window. On Christmas Eve, Luella made eight large and 13 small mince pies and crumbed bread for turkey dressing. Christmas day, the “Frankfurt missionaries came for dinner, and Clawson Cannon [Ed’s brother] also was with us for Christmas. We all went to the opera ‘Lohengrin’ in the evening.”

1970 My brother, Layne W. Cannon, was serving in the France – Switzerland Mission and was in Arles, France with Elder Gary Ballam. On December 24, Layne wrote, “Today…It is really Christmas…We went to the Marche and bought some candy for the stockings, and we went to the store and talked to our friend in the store around the corner, and she is really bugged with the fete. Her daughter is in bed with a bad leg, and she misses her husband and was really down, so I went to the Marche and bought her a turkey (a big one) and gave it to a girl to give it to her anonymously. She was cheered up the rest of the day. It was cool.” Later, “I was trying to think of something else to give to help someone else’s Christmas…That evening, we were tracting…and we decided to go get some candy for the kids at the door, and [Elder Shupe, their zone leader] told me about a family who Elder Ballam and he had tracted out earlier that day…[T] hey tracted out a family that was very poor. He asked if Santa Claus was coming, and they said, probably not, so he pulled out [some] candy and gave it to them. There were seven kids, and one sick in bed, and they went after it like crazy. He told me about that happening, and I just wanted to help them so bad. I had decided that the $50 that Tutu & Pop sent me was going to others as much as possible…I thought, and suggested to Elder Shupe, that we buy them a Christmas dinner. We went to a butcherie and bought already-cooked chickens, and two big cans of peas, and a big thing of saussison, and milk and mashed potatoes, and a lot of the chocolates and candy that we bought for the ZLs, and took it over to the place. There wasn’t anyone there, so we lifted up a curtain and the window in the door was busted, and put everything inside, and left. I really felt good about that the turkey. I wanted to give the store lady something that came from us and so we bought her some roses and gave them to her. She was really happy then. It was cool. I really had fun buying that stuff for everybody, buying the dinner and turkey and everything. We went to Soeur Moktar’s, and she and the gang were there, we sang a few songs and gave her her present…We then went to Soeur Aillaud and gave her and Frederic their presents, and they were happy. Especially Fred. We gave him a stuffed Babar elephant…Elder Trujillo gave her her interview for baptism, which he said went very well. He said she has a better testimony than most investigators…She is going to be baptized the 2nd…[W]e went home and made the rest of dinner…[W]e went to Midnight Mass, but got bored and left…I have had some cool feelings today.” The next day, Christmas day, “all I’ve felt like doing…is rest.” They went to Les Baux, a “place on top of the mountains. The wind was blowing very hard and it was cold.” They went back home and ate at Soeur Olivier’s, and went home and studied, then went out again at night and everyone was drunk…”

1971 My parents, Bill and Marg Cannon, my sister, Wendy, and I went to Europe to pick up Layne from his mission in France. We met him in Geneva where his mission was headquartered. We then traveled to Zurich where my uncle and aunt, Ted and Janath Cannon, were serving as presidents of the Switzerland Zurich Mission. The day before Christmas we traveled by van through Lucerne and then to Interlaken, a city between lakes and surrounded by the Alps. We traveled up into the mountains to the Jungfraujoch and then took a train through the Eiger, with views out onto its steep north face. We traveled back to Zurich where we spent the night. Christmas day we had a family program. We read the Christmas story in German and English, sang and had a small talent show. Marg and Bill sang the Hawaiian Wedding Song and Elder Nelson read “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” We visited a lady who lived across the street from the mission home. Layne wrote, “She had a Christmas tree with candles on it instead of lights, and candles all over.” That night we “all listened to an old tape of the family when we were younger, and the kids as they performed, and the tape of Grandfather’s [Edwin Q. Cannon] birthday in 1963…It made me want and kind of make a resolution that I would take pictures and keep tapes of the family…”

1976 I was serving in the England Birmingham Mission in Nottingham with Elder Gary Kearl. The day before we went to the Market Square to sing Christmas carols with 14 other missionaries. I had a scare as I lost Elder Kearl on the way on my bicycle and was razzed by some teenagers. I eventually found the place, but “we ended up having a large group of drunken people come down and join in with us which kind of ruined things.” Christmas day we cycled for 40 minutes, six or eight miles, to Wollaton, and had dinner with the Lowes. Sister Lowe mentioned that years before she had been tracted up by a couple of young missionaries. One was very charming and they saw her twice a week for about six months. She could not give up smoking and she lost contact. Eleven years later she was tracted up by the missionaries again. That time she readily accepted the gospel and gave up smoking. Her husband and children also accepted the gospel. “She said it was the influence of the first missionary that did it, and she said she often wished she could get a hold of him and tell him what he had done. The seed was planted, but he has not seen what it sprung. It turned out that young missionary’s name was John Preston Creer.” I knew his daughter at East High School in Salt Lake. So I wrote my sister, Wendy, who knew them, to have her tell him. We left the Lowes about 3:30 to cycle all the way back to West Bridgford and ate a “second Christmas dinner at home at Pilkingtons.”

1977 I was serving as an assistant to Pres. Eldon Callister in the mission home in Sutton Coldfield with Elder Rob Potter as my companion. From a letter to my parents dated December 26th: “I’m in Arnold, Nottingham right now, where we’ve come for Christmas. Elder Potter and I came up by train. At Nottingham II yesterday there were 13 Elders, and 10 down at Nottingham I…I spent most of yesterday at the Lewis’s home where they fed us. We spent some time singing Christmas carols…We had a mission wide Christmas seminar on Wed. where the whole mission met together at Woodsetton Chapel in Wolverhampton, and spent the day. We normally have a G.A. for it, but as Elder Brockbank is being replaced by Elder Cullimore—there wasn’t one available. The get together consisted of a mission wide scripture contest, which I conducted—then followed by 10 min. skits which each of the 10 zones produced. The zones in the missions are the Bedford, Northhampton, Newcastle, North Wales, Lincoln, Nottingham, Lichfield, Leicester, Birmingham, and then the Sutton Coldfield zone, which I’m in now. It includes the mission home, and some lower areas like Worcester, Evesham, Redditch, etc. The mission has about 196 missionaries. Also at the seminar we had a couple of speakers—Bro. Winfield, the Leicester Stake Patriarch, and Pres. Jogn Cox, a regional rep., and also Pres. of the Church Offices in Lichfield. Then we opened it up to testimonies for 1 ½ hrs. Also, we collected Christmas letters which we handed out, and stockings with fruit & candy, etc. It’s quite an enjoyable day. The mission collected 50 pence from everyone and bought the Callisters an old cuckoo clock and had it engraved “England Birmingham Mission 1977.”… We’re preparing for zone conf. which starts tomorrow, and will run for 2 wks. Tomorrow we’ll be out in North Wales.”

2000 Judy, Rachael, Sam, Andrew and I were in Paris, France, picking up Rachael who had just spent a semester there with BYU study abroad. We were staying in a hotel in Versaille. Judy brought small red stockings for our hotel room and we read the Christmas story from the Bible. We ate lunch at Le Madrigal on the Champs Elysees and walked through the Cathedral of Notre Dame where they were having a Christmas mass.

2004 Sam was serving in the Poland Warsaw Mission in Wroclaw, Poland. After talking with us for several hours on the telephone, he and his Polish companion, Elder Pawelczyk, met with Tomek at the local meeting house, eating and chatting.

2005 Sam was serving in Zabrze, Poland. We talked with him quite awhile on the telephone. Three days later Sam wrote his last email to us before returning home. “I feel a love for the Polish people that I hope will never leave me…a piece of my soul and heart shall always claim Polish soil…This is the last correspondence that you shall receive from Elder Cannon, and the last I shall write while still enjoying the mantel of a missionary of the Lord. Emotions are strong now and at the surface as I contemplate this fact.”

2006 Our daughter Rachael and her husband Nate Hutchings, were living in Tokyo, Japan. Judy was in Tokyo for the birth of Savannah, our first grandchild, in December. Judy came home to Redlands for Christmas, but Rachael and Nate spent Christmas in Tokyo with Savannah, as new parents.


  1. 2009 Bob Cannon posts the history of 9 generations of Cannon Christmases and his little brother goes to bed with visions of amazing relatives dancing in his head on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas!

  2. On Christmas Eve of 2005 my companion (E. Kofford) and I were delivering toys and food enough for a few Christmas meals to a family whose father (a member of the Church) had left for Germany to work for an indefinite period of time, leaving behind a wife and three kids and no contact information. We labaled all the presents for the kids as "From: Santa" and left it on their doorstep, waiting to make sure they brought it in then leaving.

    Later Christmas day we enjoyed fine home-style Polish cuisine with a spirited member named Jadwiga and her boyfriend. All in all it was a very good day. The city we were in, Zabrze, was an old coal-mining town. Although the mines had long been shut down the people still burned coal for heat. We had a black Christmas therefore, as ash fell gently from the sky like snow, coating everything in solemn gray. Even our boogers would be black when blowing into a handkerchief. It was the first and last "Black Christmas" I have had.

  3. Hello cousin,

    I was hoping that you could tell me where you got the information of George Cannon's presence on the ships Eliza, Rawlinson, and James. I only have accounts of him being on the Iris twice, and the Minerva once.


  4. Lelie,

    The George Q. Cannon website ( has a letter from Steve Behrendt, an expert on the slave trade (labeled Cannon Maritime History Document on the website)which sets forth all of the voyages he found George Cannon to have been on while he searched the shipping records in England. Some basics for those ship voyages are contained in that letter. I have also been doing some additional research on my own which ultimately will show up on this blog.

    Hope things are going well,

  5. I was talking to my cousin, Mary Alice, yesterday and she said she could only find 8 generations, not 9. I think she was missing Hugh Cannon. The 9 generations are: (1) Hugh Cannon (1793 and 1801); (2) Captain George Cannon; (3) George Cannon the Immigrant; (4) George Q. Cannon; (5) Edwin Q. Cannon; (6) William W. Cannon; (7) Robert Cannon; (8) Samuel Cannon; and (9) Savannah Hutchings. Bob