Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Redemption of a Slave Trader: Captain George Cannon and Edwin Q. Cannon, Jr.

[Adapted from a talk I gave on Pioneer Day in the LDS Church]  

George Cannon was born in 1766 in Peel, Isle of Man, a small sea-faring island located in the North Irish Sea between Ireland, England and Scotland. Most of the residents of Peel were involved in sailing: many of them harvested herring and many of them also got involved in smuggling goods into England to help English merchants avoid the heavy tariffs that were imposed on imported goods. Some like George got involved in merchant shipping. At the age of 13, George was a seaman on a ten month voyage that took him from Liverpool to Jamaica and back.

At age 14, George entered the Peel Mathematical School and studied for two years to learn the mathematics of sailing: how to use charts and determine latitude, longitude and depth. In 1790, at the age of 23, George was third mate on a slave ship, the Eliza, that left Liverpool with trade goods for Africa. The Eliza sailed to the Gold Coast of Africa, today’s Ghana, and there the Eliza and its crew went to the English trading forts at Anomabu and Cape Coast to barter their English goods to African slave traders in exchange for slaves. 
A depiction of the Gold Coast in the 1790s. Note Cape Coast Castle in the background to the right.
Cape Coast Castle as it looked in the 1990s. 
While in Africa, the first mate and second mate of the Eliza both died, perhaps by drowning in the heavy Cape Coast surf, or as a result of disease, as the English did not have immunities to many of the African diseases.
Canoes crossing the surf in West Africa.
By means of attrition, George became first mate, next in authority to the captain of the ship.
George Cannon is listed fourth on the Eliza muster roll. Note the deaths of the no. 2 and 3 people. 
In 1792 the Eliza landed in Falmouth, Jamaica with a cargo of 117 slaves, including 11 boys, 7 girls, 40 women and 61 men. After a visit to New York, the Eliza sailed back to the Gold Coast of Africa for more slaves. In May 1793, the Eliza delivered 167 more slaves to Kingston, Jamaica, including 55 women and 112 men.

After three years at sea, George married Leonora Callister, who grew up near him in Peel. The following year, George was back out to sea, on another slaver, from Liverpool to Africa, to Grenada, and then back home. His first child, a son, his name-sake George, was born while he was on the voyage.

We have the ship logbook for two voyages taken by George on the ship Iris.
The Iris Logbook
Cover page of the logbook. The writing toward the bottom was written later by one of George Cannon's descendants. 
In 1798, the Iris left Liverpool and sailed to Bonny, in an area called the Bight of Biafra, in today’s Nigeria. 

Nigeria is just east of Ghana, where the Gold Coast is located. In Bonny, the captain, John Spencer, drowned, and George became captain of the Iris. 
Muster roll of the Iris. Note the death of Captain John Spencer. 
After obtaining slaves, the logbook keeps meticulous notes of the number of yams that are used to feed the slaves and occasionally mentions how the slaves are doing. On October 6th, a female slave died and was thrown overboard. Two days later the logbook notes that several slaves were complaining of the “gripes.” On October 11th a male slave died and his body was thrown overboard.
Logbook page for October 29, 1798
On October 29th, it says “Slaves all in Good Spirrits – there Eyes Nearly Better”.
Slaves were transported in the holds of ships under horrid conditions: naked,  crammed together  and chained. 
In November, 1798, the Iris arrived in Kingston, Jamaica with 414 slaves.

After less than three months at home, George was back out at sea again on the Iris, this time as the initial Captain, with a crew of 44 men. 
A letter from the owner of the Iris to Captain Cannon, dated August 12, 1799, care of an agent in St. Vincent.
After a voyage to Angola in Africa, the Iris delivered 409 slaves to Kingston in August 1800.

We are aware of one other slaving trip taken by Captain Cannon. In 1803, as captain of the ship Minerva, George delivered 212 slaves to Nassau, in the Bahamas, that he had obtained in Bonny, on the Nigerian coast.

The slave trade was abolished in England in 1807 and we don’t know a lot about what Captain Cannon was doing. We jump forward to July 19, 1811. Captain Cannon died on a mutiny on his own ship. I assume he was probably killed by his own sailors. We don’t know where on the globe it happened, or what kind of a ship he was on.

Now I will jump forward four generations.

My Uncle, Edwin Q. Cannon, Jr., known as Ted, served as Mission President of the Switzerland Zurich Mission for three years and while he was there, was responsible for a number of areas of the church that were not covered by regular missions or stakes. Places like Greece, Turkey, Israel, Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Poland. While he was serving, the church organized the International Mission and Ted was informed that when he was released, the supervision for those areas he covered outside of Switzerland would be handed over to the International Mission.

After Ted was released, he was called by the International Mission President, Grant Bangerter, to work on a committee and later as one of his counselors. When James E. Faust succeeded Elder Bangerter, as president, he called Ted as his first counselor.

As first counselor, Ted became aware of a considerable amount of correspondence to the Church coming from Ghana and Nigeria in West Africa, more than any other part of the International Mission. Many of the requests were for missionaries, but because the priesthood was withheld from the blacks, the church did not engage in missionary activity there. One morning, President Faust told his counselors that he was going to meet with the First Presidency and he was taking with him a bundle of letters from West Africa. Ted had just received a letter from a schoolboy in Ghana that he handed to President Faust to include with the bundle. During the meeting, President Spencer W. Kimball asked about the bundle of letters and asked that a sample be read to him. Elder Faust picked the letter Ted had given to him that read, in part:

“I am filled with happiness as it comes into my mind to write you today. I am a member of the Latter-day Saints Church in Ghana…I have been told much about how this great restored Church was founded by our great prophet, Joseph Smith, and still I am anxious to know more about it through the reading of books about it. I have heard of the Book of Mormon, which was…revealed and given to Joseph on the Mount Cumorah. I will be very happy if a Book of Mormon is sent to me in order to read more about words which the Lord gave to mankind through the Prophet Joseph Smith…Actually I wish to become a pure Mormon and so I want to know more about Mormonism…I always become happy when songs and hymns like Come! Come! Ye Saints and Come O Thou King of Kings and some songs of Zion are sung in the church services…”

President Faust reported later that he noticed tears on the cheeks of the First Presidency as the letter was read.

On another occasion, Ted went with President Faust to BYU to meet with members of the faculty who had experience in the areas of the world served by the mission. One of the faculty was Merrill Bateman, later a general authority and President of BYU, but at that time head of the School of Business. Brother Bateman spoke of his experience teaching at the University of Accra in Ghana. He had visited an organized group of Ghanaians who called themselves members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints even though they had not been officially baptized. Brother Bateman had also been in Ghana as an official of Mars, corporation, buying cocoa for their chocolate candy products.

On June 9, 1978, the First Presidency issued a press release that announced that every worthy man, regardless of race or color, may receive the priesthood. After that, discussions by the International Mission Presidency about taking the full gospel to Ghana and Nigeria took on high priority. More information was needed about the thinking and activities of the groups calling themselves members. It was determined that someone should visit and try to locate the various groups and their members. In one discussion, Merrill Batemen was suggested as a likely person because of his experience in West Africa. Brother Bateman was invited to meet with President Faust, David M. Kennedy, who was the church Ambassador, and Ted. After a preliminary meeting, President Faust asked Brother Bateman if he would accept an assignment to go to Ghana and Nigeria, meet with the leaders and return with recommendations. He agreed. Then, with no previous warning, President Faust turned to Ted and said that Brother Bateman and Brother Cannon should leave as soon as possible on the fact-finding tour.

Brother Batemen obtained passports and visas with the help of Mars, Co., which had good connections. Ted went through the correspondence from West Africa and selected the most impressive letters and wrote to those individuals, about 50, giving them proposed arrival schedules, hotels and itineraries. All they had were post office boxes for addresses. They departed on August 12, 1978, not realizing that they would arrive before the letters, as letters took more than a month. When they arrived in Accra, Ghana, the only person there to meet them was a representative of Mars, Co.

After a nights rest, they arose on Sunday morning and hired a taxi to look for the local group calling themselves “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” with whom Brother Bateman had previously met. After several frustrating hours of searching, they had no success. Then Ted remembered a crude sign he had noticed along the way: “Church of Jesus.” Obeying a strong impulse, he told the taxi driver to turn around and go back to the road marked by that sign. They noticed a humble little building with several men in front. Among them Brother Bateman recognized Matthew Koomson, who had previously been active in the group he’d met with. He had left that group and started his own Church of Jesus but was still in touch with the groups Ted and Brother Bateman were looking for. He agreed to lead them to the heads of those groups in Cape Coast and Sekondi-Takoradi. This was the same Cape Coast where Captain George Cannon obtained African slaves 185 years earlier.

The next morning Ted and Brother Bateman drove to Cape Coast in a taxi, only to find that the leader there, Joseph (Billy) Johnson was visiting Lagos, Nigeria. But his landlady greeted them, saying proudly, “Well, I am a Mormon” and gave Ted an address where he could be reached. They then went to the rented building where Johnson’s congregation held their meetings.
Rented hall in Cape Coast. James Ewudzie is standing to the left.
The interior decoration included a life-size statue of the Angel Moroni with a trumpet, as shown on the cover of the paperback Book of Mormon, a painting of Joseph Smith in the sacred grove and pictures of the Savior. On the front of the pulpit were pictures of a black Bible and blue Book of Mormon and a blackboard listed the Sunday hymns, including “Come, Come, Ye Saints.”
Interior of Cape Coast hall. James Ewudzie stands to the right.
In Secondi-Takoradi, the founder-leader and owner of the meeting house was the Prophetess Rebecca Mould. She made a good impression on the visitors. The man responsible for the initial founding of nearly all the groups in Ghana was Dr. R.A.F. Mensah, who was in Accra. He first heard of the church through correspondence with a Lillian Clark in England. In 1962, Lillian had received six lessons from LDS missionaries and sent the tracts to Dr. Mensah, although she was never baptized. The tracts converted Dr. Mensah, and his friend, Clement Osekre, and they began to preach the gospel to others. They converted strong leaders like Joseph Billy Johnson, Rebecca Mould and Matthew Koomson, who organized their own groups in other towns and continued to spread the gospel message, despite persecution. Ted and Brother Bateman met with Dr. Mensah and Osekre, gave what encouragement they could, and moved on to Nigeria. 

In Nigeria they found a greater variety of groups, more individuals with a history of contacts with the church and a few more member families. In Calabar, which was near Bonny, where Captain Cannon had obtained slaves on several occasions, Ted and Brother Bateman prayed together in their hotel room that they might find the leaders they were seeking. They went to the hotel lobby and asked the desk clerk about the names. No recognition. So they spoke in a loud voice and read the list of names they were seeking, asking if anyone knew them. A man who had just come in to the lobby to buy a paper spoke up, “I know Ime Eduok [one of the names on the list]. I’m his boss. He’s probably locking up his office right now.” The man took them outside and put them in a taxicab, telling the driver where to take them. They found Ime leaving his office as they pulled up. Ime and his wife were among the very few native Nigerians already members of the church. They had been baptized in Los Angeles seven years previously while attending school there. He was employed by the Cross River Lines ferryboat company and knew many of the groups in that area calling themselves by the name of the Church. He took them to the Cross River State and introduced them to many of the leaders they were seeking.

They met Newton Miller Aganyemi in Lagos. He and his wife, Shade, had joined the church while he was a student at the University of Utah. At an impromptu meeting by the hotel pool, Ted asked Newton what he would recommend for future church action in Nigeria. He mentioned he had been patiently waiting until the church could come to start an organization and hoped to receive more teaching materials in the interim until that time came. The next morning, Ted recorded in his journal:

“Early in the morning before arising, I had very heart-warming thoughts about the experiences we had had thus far…The tears came to my eyes to the point of having a moist pillow as I thought of Newton Miller Aganyemi and his sweet spirit and the fact that the barrier had been removed for so many of God’s children…Again as I was mouth in our morning prayers, I felt the warmth of the Spirit in such abundance that I could hardly speak for shedding tears of gratitude and joy.”

After two weeks in West Africa, Ted and Brother Bateman agreed that their recommendation to the First Presidency would be to send missionaries and go forward, with caution. In early September, Ted presented a report to the First Presidency, in a meeting that included Brother Bateman.

About two weeks later, Ted got a call from President Kimball asking him to write up something about his findings in Africa that could be used in a talk. His response became part of President Kimball’s talk at the pre-Conference seminar for Regional Representatives. As a counselor in the general Relief Society presidency, Ted’s wife, Janath, was present and heard President Kimball’s memorable words: “What did the Lord mean when he stood atop the Mount of Olives and said to the twelve, ‘And ye shall be witnesses unto me…unto the uttermost parts of the earth’? These were his last words on earth before he went to his heavenly home.” President Kimball continued: “What about Africa? They have waited so long already. More than one-tenth of the entire population of the world is living on the African continent…Are they not included in the Lord’s invitation to ‘teach all nations.’? Are they not included in ‘the uttermost parts of the earth’?” President Kimball read paragraphs from letters Ted had provided, including one from Joseph Billy Johnson that ended with, “We therefore solemnly declare in the name of Jesus Christ that God has prepared the groups in Ghana for you, for we have nowhere else to go, but look forward to your sending to us missionaries to help us understand the Church better, for it is our burning desire to live by the faith of this Church in order to attain its standards.”

At General Conference, on Saturday, September 30, 1978, the revelation on the priesthood was ratified and President Faust was sustained as the newest member of the Quorum of the Twelve.

The next Monday, Ted and Janath met with Elder Faust and David Kennedy and were asked to spend a year in West Africa. They immediately accepted. The next morning, Ted and Janath, Rendell and Rachel Mabey, Elder Faust and David Kennedy met with the First Presidency. Ted had earlier suggested Brother Mabey for missionary work in Africa. Brother Mabey had been on seven big-game hunting safaris in Africa and had an adventurous spirit. In the meeting, the First Presidency officially called the two couples as representatives of the International Mission. They were cautioned to move slowly, to be wise and careful and to lay a solid foundation. When asked when he would like them to leave, President Kimball replied with a twinkle in his eye, “We would like you to leave yesterday.”

They arrived in Lagos, Nigeria and Ted contacted several people he had met on his previous visit. On November 18th they set off in a cab to find Anthony Obinna. The taxi driver was unable to find the address and was soon lost. Ted was impressed to inquire about Obinna from a man with a withered arm. The man knew Obinna and got in the cab and took them directly to Obinna’s village.

Obinna was converted to the Church in 1965. He was visited three times in a dream by “a tall person carrying a walking stick in his right hand”. The personage took him to “a most beautiful building” and showed him everything in it. During the Nigerian civil war, when he was confined to his house, Obinna picked up an old September 1958 copy of the Reader’s Digest and was surprised to find on page 34 a picture of that same building, with the heading “The March of the Mormons” The picture was of their temple in Salt Lake City. Because he recognized the building as the one in his dream, he read the entire article and found it was about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “I knew I had found the truth.” Anthony wrote letters to Church headquarters, and LaMar Williams, in the Missionary Department, was impressed. Although he could not send missionaries or promise official recognition, he sent Obinna the standard tracts, manuals and Books of Mormon, the monthly Ensign, New Era, Children’s Friend and the weekly Church News. He also sent Obinna a program to follow for Sunday church services. After Lamar Williams was called to preside over the Gulf States Mission, Obinna’s church contacts languished, yet he persisted, despite ridicule from his villagers. On September 19, 1978, Obinna wrote the International Mission, “I am surprised for not hearing from you for quite a long time and my letters to you are no longer replied to. Should I believe that the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not for Nigerians?…LeMar S. Williams did all he could to help us know more about the church. Since he left for the Gulf State, every thing appears as dead as a dodo.”

After meeting with Obinna and being impressed, Ted and Brother Mabey agreed that a baptism would be in order on a return trip. Three days later, on October 21, 1978, the first official group baptism and organization of an all-black branch of the church occurred in West Africa. 
Obinna group baptism. 
The baptisms took place in a secluded, tree shaded pool of the Ekeonumiri River, where the surrounding bushes served as dressing rooms. Four handmade white robes were passed on to waiting candidates as the baptisms proceeded. Lacking any official forms, Janath recorded in her journal the names of those being baptized and confirmed. Of the 19 people baptized that day, 16 had the last name “Obinna.”
The first baptism: Anthony Obinna. 
The Aboh Branch was organized and Brother Obinna was set apart as branch president, his brothers as counselors, and his wife as president of the Relief Society.

Joseph Billy Johnson, whom Ted had met on his first trip, was the key to success in Ghana. 
Ted Cannon and Joseph Billy Johnson. 
As mentioned earlier, Johnson had received tracts from Dr. Mensah and had been converted. During “a month of continuous reading” he had read and believed the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Articles of Faith and some pamphlets. He had a profound spiritual experience he wrote about as follows: “One early morning of March 1964, while I was about to get up to prepare for my daily chores, the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me and my spiritual insight was enhanced…I heard a voice from heaven speaking to me saying, ‘Johnson, if you will take up my word as I will command you to your people, I will bless you and bless your land.’ Trembling with fear, I replied, in tears saying, ‘Lord by thy own help I will do whatsoever thou would command me.’ From that day onwards, the Spirit of the Lord constrained me to propagate the Restored Gospel to my people.” After that, Brother Johnson traveled about spreading the gospel and establishing branches of the church.

After arriving in Accra, Ghana, the Cannons and Mabeys spent two days frustrated by government red tape and difficulty in finding Ted’s contacts. After a scenic trip on a government transport bus, Joseph Billy Johnson was waiting for them in Cape Coast. Ted had also found Dr. Mensah and Clement Osekre to bring along for the first official baptism in Ghana. Ted did most of the interviewing of the 89 candidates for baptism. The baptism of 89 people took place on December 9, 1978 at a beach just east of Cape Coast. Some large offshore rocks broke the force of the waves and other rocks on the beach provided some privacy for clothes-changing. 
At the first baptism in Ghana, just east of Cape Coast. The young baby is now James Ewudzie's bishop in Cape Coast.
The first baptism in Ghana, just east of Cape Coast.
Ted baptized R.A.F. Mensah first, as “the first one in Ghana, so far as we know, to develop an interest in the Church.” This may have been ground Captain George Cannon walked as a slave trader. Ted was also pleased to baptize ten year old Brigham Young Johnson, whose name  “seemed to exemplify the long, patient wait of Brother Johnson.” Ted recorded, “The water was warm and pleasant, but it was not always as deep as we would have liked it, especially when we had tall men and big women whose feet and knees wanted to come out when their heads went in.” Confirmations took place at water’s edge. The confirmations continued into the night, under the glow of the moon.

The next day, December 10, 1978, the first branch of the Church in Ghana was organized at Cape Coast, with Joseph Billy Johnson as president. 31 men were ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood. 
The ordination record kept by Janath Cannon: EQC is Edwin Q. Cannon.
Two days after the first baptism, another baptism was held for 36 people from Moree, who had walked six miles to Cape Coast. Their leader was the prophetess Martha Mills. Her group was added to the membership of the Cape Coast Branch until it later became a separate branch. Two days later, the prophetess Rebecca Mould, of Sekondi, was baptized along with 124 from her congregation. Already called “Mother Mould,” she became known as “Mother President of the Relief Society” in the Sekondi Branch. 
A Relief Society Presidency.
Relief Society Sisters.
Back in Nigeria, at Ikot Ekong, near Bonney, where Captain Cannon had obtained slaves, they interviewed and baptized 182 people, confirmed them, and organized them into four branches, all in one day. 
A large baptism: unknown area.
There, Patient Ime was the first black man in West Africa to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.

After returning to Cape Coast, Ghana, on January 28, 1979, all thirteen baptisms were performed by black priesthood holders: President Johnson and John Cobbinah. This was followed by the first standard sacrament meeting in Ghana. Ted explained the order of the sacrament and the various priesthood offices. President Johnson brought boiled water and bread for the sacrament. At the end of the meeting, President Johnson and five other men became the first natives of Ghana to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.

The next day, at Assin Foso, the best available place for baptism was a small running stream too shallow for complete immersion. After finding some men with shovels and buckets, Ted helped them dig out boulders, a tree limb and 20 buckets of sand to create a shallow trench in the bottom of the stream. There the baptism candidates were told to sit, then be laid back, while another helper held down the feet, thus immersing the whole body. Kneeling in the rocky stream bed, Ted baptized all but two of the 79 baptized that day. The next day Ted baptized the boy whose letter had so touched President Kimball.

President and Sister Faust arrived in Nigeria on February 17, 1979. The next day, they visited the Aboh Branch. 
Ted Cannon, James E. Faust, Rendell Mabey and Aboh Branch Priesthool leaders.
President Faust spoke of his testimony of Christ and promised them that a temple would be built in Africa some day. As a footnote, a temple was dedicated in Nigeria in 2005, 26 years later, and a temple was dedicated in Ghana in 2004, 25 years later. That afternoon Elder Faust baptized five people.
James E. Faust and his first baptism. 
Ultimately, the Cannons and Mabeys had visa problems and had to leave Ghana and spent the rest of their time in Nigeria. In the meantime, several other missionary couples had been called to Africa and Ted spent most of his time training new leaders. By the time they left Africa, the Cannons and Mabeys had baptized 1,725 people, organized 35 branches and 5 districts.

I find it personally significant that the first area where Captain George Cannon obtained slaves in Africa was Cape Coast, which is also the area where his great great grandson, Ted, performed the first baptisms in Ghana, gave the priesthood for the first time in Ghana, and established the first branch of the Church in Ghana.  That the area where Captain Cannon first became captain of a slave ship, the area he last visited for slaves, and obtained more slaves than any other, Bonny, was very near the area where Ted organized the second through fifth branches of the Church in Nigeria, and first gave the Melchizedek priesthood  to a black man in West Africa.

I know that the scripture talking about the fathers being drawn to their children and the children to their fathers does not exactly apply in this circumstance, but to me there is something almost redemptive about a descendant of a slave trader, who enslaved many black people and took them away from their homes and families to a new land, being the first person to bring the restored gospel to the descendants of those enslaved peoples, to give them the keys for eternal life and eternal families, and to tell them to stay at home and build up the Church and to ultimately be free. To me, this is made more significant by the fact that during his lifetime, Ted knew that Captain George Cannon was a slave ship captain, but he had no detailed knowledge about where Captain Cannon had been or that they shared common ground in Africa. This is all information that has come to light recently.

Update: August 27, 2013.

My cousin, Russell Cannon, son of Ted and Janath Cannon, is currently serving an LDS mission in Ghana. He has visited with James Ewudzie of Cape Coast who identified himself in several of the pictures above and identified the photos from the first baptism near Cape Coast. James was the fourth person baptized in Ghana, after RAF Mensah, Clement Osekre and Joseph Billy Johnson (and the only one of the four still living). James was first counselor to Billy Johnson in the first branch in Ghana and later first counselor to Billy Johnson in the district presidency. 
James Ewudzie and Russell Cannon (son of Ted Cannon) in Ghana in 2013

The information about Ted Cannon came from Janath Russell Cannon & Edwin Q. Cannon Jr., Together: A Love Story (Desk-top Publishing: Salt Lake City, Utah, 1999). 


  1. Such an amazing story. I know how much research has gone into this. I think it's been worth it--and I'm sure there are yet more details to be discovered.

  2. I love this story. The photos really add to the narrative and help the reader get a feel for the wonderful people of Ghana and Nigeria where this tale takes place. I would love to visit the Isle of Man and the Gold Coast of Africa. Until that day, I will just have to picture these places in my mind as I read your insightful blogs.

  3. And, now Russell Cannon (comment above), son of Ted Cannon, has been called to serve a mission in Ghana, along with his wife. One more generation. . .

    1. I hope to visit Russell while he is in Africa to visit the areas where Captain Cannon did his slave trading and where his father later had such amazing experiences.

  4. I have a question about one of your photos. Can you contact me? Grant Hardy, Dept. of History, Univ. of NC at Asheville. ghardy@unca.edu

  5. Bob,

    I work for the Church History Department and would love to correspond with you about early Church History in Ghana. Would you mind emailing me at james.goldberg@ldschurch.org?

  6. Russell & Myrna Gaye Bateman Our comment and addition to the history still going on.
    My Family St. George, Temple Pres.
    David H. Cannon/Wilhelmina Mousley
    David H. Cannon, Jr./Camilla Mason
    Alma Ross Barton/ Wilhelmina Alice Cannon
    Russell Rulon Bateman/Myrna Gaye Barton
    Youngest Daughter David J Collings/Nesya Lynn Bateman
    Son Jacob J Collings Missionary Accra Gana 2009/2011
    Youngest Son Randall Ross Bateman/Cheryl Jean Jensen
    Youngest Son Ray Marvin Missionary Accra Gana 2013/ Still there.
    We are proud that our family can contribute to the saving of the Africans.

  7. That is certainly another take on it.

  8. I am also sickened by this story and I'm a descendant of Captain Cannon. It makes my heart sink to see what high regard my family has given this man, as if all these black lives didn't matter. I would like to know about the mutiny that took place on his ship.

  9. Captain Cannon was not preaching religion to the Africans, his activity occurred well before the LDS Church was formed. He was doing it to earn a living, a very remunerative one. Another aspect of the slave trade that is not well known is that Africans were enslaving Africans. When the Europeans went to Africa to obtain slaves they were obtaining them from other Africans, for the most part, who had enslaved them. The reason is the Europeans were not enslaving the Africans was because the Africans controlled the land. The Europeans only established the footholds in Africa that the African's in power allowed them to. It was not until the invention of modern guns and weaponry that the Europeans took that advantage into Africa to take control. Unfortunately, whatever humanity is in power tends to treat those out of power badly, whether they are white, black or brown. Our society is full of racism, and the LDS Church has more than its fair share of it, and we are currently living in a very divided country where people don't listen to each other, but just condemn each other without understanding. Captain Cannon lived in a different time. We can learn about our ancestor, or other people in earlier times, to understand them and understand how what they did has helped shape our current world and us. We can condemn him for what he did, but then we also need to look in the mirror and look at our own shortcomings. We currently have a president who is a racist and making decisions that substantially harm many out of power in our country, but the vast majority of people, particularly in his own party, refuse to challenge him because of his power and the abuse he heaps on those that do challenge him. It is easy to be anonymous and demonize. Come forward, state who you are, and then lets have a reasonable discussion about how we should treat and feel about our ancestor. I know that many family members feel conflicted about Captain Cannon.

  10. Thank you SO much for documenting all this! I hope Grant and James were able to get in contact with you.