Sunday, May 23, 2010

Captain John Cannon: Captain George Cannon's Brother?

John Cannon, the second of eight children of Hugh and Eleanor (Nell) Addy Cannon, was christened on June 5, 1768 in the parish of Kirk German, Peel, Isle of Man. He was just two years younger than his older brother, George.

John Cannons abound in the Isle of Man which makes tracing them very difficult. Hugh Cannon’s father was John Cannon, who owned Cooilshellagh in the parish of Kirk Michael. In addition to Hugh, he had a son nine years older, named John, christened February 4, 1728. Hugh, of course, had a son, John, the subject of this blog post, the younger brother of Captain George Cannon. Then Captain George Cannon had a son, John, christened April 21, 1802. I am sure that many other Cannon family members also had John Cannons which all add to the complication in tracing and identifying them.

Captain George Cannon attended the Peel Mathematical School for two years, from April 4, 1781 to August 5, 1783. Just four months later, on December 4, 1783, a John Cannon entered the school. Is this George’s brother, John? He was two years younger than George and he would be following in his brother’s footsteps. There was another John Cannon who attended the Peel Mathematical School for three months in 1774, but he would have been quite a bit older than George.

There are a number of records of a seaman and Captain John Cannon. They may all relate to one John Cannon, or they may relate to several John Cannons.

A John Cannon was ranked 5th (perhaps second mate) out of a crew of 37 on the King Pepple, a 342 ton ship owned by William Boats, Thomas Seaman and James Percival. The King Pepple left Liverpool on May 1, 1790, with Thomas Briscoe as captain, headed for Bonny for slaves. After obtaining slaves, it went first to Dominica, then to Montego Bay, Jamaica, where 444 slaves were delivered on December 29, 1790 and John Cannon was discharged.[1] The King Pepple returned to Liverpool, arriving on March 20, 1791.[2]

A John Cannon is listed as a seaman on the ship Sarah in 1803, with Thomas Cannel as captain [Frances Wilkins, 2,000 Manx Mariners (Wyre Forest Press, Kidderminster: 2000), p. 61].

Lloyd’s List, dated November 3, 1809, indicates that Captain Cannon and the ship Henry arrived in Liverpool from Quebec on November 1, 1809.
Lloyd’s Register – Shipowners, for 1810, lists the brig Henry at 140 tons, owned by Captain J. Cannon, with a projected ship route from Liverpool to Quebec.
Lloyd’s List, dated August 21, 1810, confirms that Captain Cannon arrived in Liverpool on August 16, 1810, from Montreal, Quebec.
On February 9, 1811, Captain John Cannon arrived in Lisbon from Limerick, Ireland, on the ship Henry. [Lloyd’s Listed, dated February 19, 1811] Less than two months later, on March 29, 1811, the Henry, with Captain Cannon, arrived back in Limerick. [Lloyd’s List, dated April 5, 1811] Following this voyage, Captain John Cannon may have made another trip, this time on the ship James, from Dublin, Ireland to Cardiff, Wales and back.[3] Or perhaps this was another Captain John Cannon. In another voyage in 1811, Lloyd’s List, dated November 12, 1811, reported that Captain Cannon and the Henry arrived in New Foundland from Liverpool.[4]

Captain Craik, of the ship James, arrived in Liverpool from Charleston, South Carolina, in July 1815. He reported speaking to Captain John Cannon of the Brig Henry, headed from Liverpool to New York, and that all was well.[5]
Lloyd's Register for 1814 (below). 
The voyages of the ship Henry are of even more interest given the fact that Captain William Cannon and the ship Leander regularly traveled between the same places: Quebec, Ireland and Liverpool.

Finally, we have a probate petition in the parish of Kirk German, Peel, Isle of Man, for Captain John Cannon in 1839. There is a burial record for John Cannon on January 5, 1839 in Kirk German, showing that he was age 77. Captain Cannon’s brother, John, would have been age 70. This John Cannon would have been born in 1761 or 1762, about 7 years older than Captain Cannon’s brother John. So this may perhaps be the other John Cannon that attended the Peel Mathematical School before Captain George Cannon.

From a notice dated January 18, 1839, we learn that this Captain John Cannon was a bachelor and died without a will on January 3, 1839. He had three surviving siblings: Charles Cannon of Peel, the administrator, Elizabeth Cannon of Peel and Thomas Cannon, who no longer lived in the Isle of Man. This definitely is not Captain George Cannon’s brother.

There is a long list of personal items inventoried as of January 7, 1839. Some of them are of particular interest, given Captain John Cannon’s vocation:
a lot of buttens & a pair pistols & lead
scale & compiss & looking glass
2 guns & lot of old clothes & charts
stamp spying glass & scales 3 buckels
2 Quadrants lot of Lace & caps
boatswain call 2 pockot knives

On January 23, 1830, there is an account of the sale of the goods and effects of “Captain John Cannon of Peel Late Dec’d”. Purchasers of items included Captain John Cannon’s three siblings and a Betty Cannon. Some particular items of interest sold were a gun to Mat Cowll (0..5..6), a gun to James Cool (0.14..6), a trunk to Charles Cannan (0..5..3), a Bible to Charles Cannan (0..4..0), a spying glass to Wm Pickle, lots of buckels to Mick smith (0..0..4), a Sword to Mr Crellin merchant (0..0..9), Pistols to John McCoy (0..3..0), Quaderent to Mr Crellin merchant (0..2..6), another Quaderent to James Cool (0..6..6), a looking glass (0..1..5), a chest to Wm Farragher (0..1..7), table and Charts to John Morrison (0..2..6), and a Free Masons arms and box to Charles Cannan (0..6..0).

There was a charge of £6.0 for “washing and laying out Capn. Cannon” It also appears there was a payment of a charge incurred by Captain Cannon for 3 ½ pints of rum. He had a “covered coffin with plate and handles complete.”

We know that two John Cannons in Peel attended Peel Mathematical School. We know that one Captain John Cannon was not Captain George Cannon’s brother. Was this Captain John Cannon the owner of the ship Henry? Or could that have been George Cannon’s brother? The brothers George Cannon and William Cannon of Peel were both captains and both died at sea within less than a year of each other. We don’t have a record for the death of their sibling John. Could he have been a captain? Could he also have died at sea? Someday it would be fun to have all of the pieces and complete the puzzle. We will keep looking for more information to come to light.


[1]  Lloyd’s List, dated February 1, 1791, states that “K. Pepple, Brisoe” arrived in Dominica from Africa. Lloyd’s List, dated February 18, 1791, states that the “King Pepple, Briscoe” arrived in Jamaica from Africa.

[2]  Behrendt Letter (PRO, BT 98/51, No. 127, Liverpool muster roll 1791; Family History Library, Film 870304); Lloyd’s Register 1791, Lloyd’s List February 1, 1791 and February 18, 1791; Cornwall Chronicle (Montego Bay), January 1, 1791, January 29, 1791 and February 5, 1791; Colonial Office 137/91, 60; House of Lords Records Office, MP, HL, 94.03.22; Parliamentary Papers 1792 (768), XXXV, (766-7), XXXV; Treasury 64/286, 21; and craig, 80.

[3]  Lloyd’s Register, Underwriters, 1811, reports that “J. Cannon” was captain of the ship James, from Dublin to Cardiff.

[4]  Lloyd’s Register, Shipowners, 1811, reports that “J. Canon” was captain of the Brig Henry, headed from Liverpool to Quebec.

[5]  Lloyd’s List, dated July 21, 1815 states that the conversation with Captain Cannon took place at latitude 43.54, longitude 46. This was in the middle of the ocean, about due east of Halifax, Nova Scotia and about two-thirds of the way to New York. Lloyd’s Register for 1814 provides the name of the captain of the Henry as “J. Cannon”. The ship was a Snow, of 147 tons, single deck with beams. It was headed to Oporto.

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