Angus M. Cannon

Pioneer, President, Patriarch

Donald Q. Cannon

Donald Q. Cannon, “Angus M. Cannon: Pioneer, President, Patriarch,” in Supporting Saints: Life Stories of Nineteenth-Century Mormons, ed. Donald Q. Cannon and David J. Whittaker (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, Religious Studies Center, 1985), 369–401.

Donald Q. Cannon was a professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University when this was published. He received his BA and MA from the University of Utah and his PhD from Clark University. He has published several books, articles, and book reviews, including the Far West Record. A great-grandson of Angus M. Cannon, he has spent considerable time studying Angus’s papers and journals.

Angus Cannon often came to visit his son, Jesse F. Cannon. After dinner on one visit Angus went out in his fine Prince Albert coat and hat and tried to flag down the trolley. Unknown to Angus, the trolley company had recently changed that route to an express line, so the train failed to stop. Immediately, Angus went inside and called the president of the Utah Traction Company and told him to make sure all trains stopped for him. After all, he was President Angus M. Cannon! From then on the trolley did stop for Angus, wherever and whenever he flagged it down. [1] This incident, indicative of Angus Cannon’s aggressiveness and ability to command the respect of others, was related by his grandson, T. Quentin Cannon. Quayle Cannon, Jr., another grandson, recalls his impressions of Angus. He remembers that Angus was fastidious in his dress, rather stern, and religious in manner. [2]

What was Angus M. Cannon really like? What impact did he have on nineteenth-century Utah? What does the life of this pioneer, president, and patriarch tell us about Utah and the Latter-day Saints? In order to answer these questions a brief survey of his life will be presented, followed by an in-depth analysis of Angus as churchman, specifically as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [3]

Biographical Sketch

Angus M. Cannon, the second son and fourth child of George Cannon and Ann Quayle, was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England, 17 May 1834. [4] The Apostle John Taylor, who had married Leonora, sister of Angus’s father, converted and baptized the Cannons on 11 February 1840. [5]

In September 1842 the family took passage to America with a company of Saints on the ship Sidney. After six weeks of serious illness, Angus’s mother died and was buried at sea. A voyage of eight weeks’ duration brought the Cannons to New Orleans, and then they proceeded up the Mississippi to St. Louis, where they spent the winter.

In the spring of 1843 they arrived in Nauvoo. Because of the change of climate, Angus and his brothers and sisters became seriously ill with fever and chills. Fearful that he would die not having been baptized, Angus requested baptism, but his desire was not realized until the next year when he had recovered. Meanwhile his father had died, and his sister Mary Alice and her husband Charles Lambert became guardians of the orphaned children.

With the remnant of the Nauvoo Saints, Angus and his family took refuge across the Mississippi River in Iowa Territory. There, in the fall of 1846, exhausted and suffering from hunger, these pioneers experienced the “miracle of the quail,” when thousands of quail came into camp, providing badly needed sustenance. While crossing Iowa, Angus worked for supplies, and at Winter Quarters he helped build a house for the winter. After what must have seemed an endless delay, they departed for the Great Basin in the spring of 1849, arriving in Salt Lake in October 1849.

Angus spent the next year farming and cutting wood, after which he went with George A. Smith’s company to Iron County. After helping to establish Parowan, Angus returned to Salt Lake in the spring of 1851.

In the fall of 1854 Angus received a call to serve a mission in the eastern United States, in company with Elder John Taylor. In New York City, he assisted Elder Taylor in publishing The Mormon. Following his labors in New York, Elder Cannon preached in Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, baptizing several people.

As a consequence of the Utah War, Angus returned to Salt Lake City, arriving on 21 June 1858. Later that summer he married two sisters whom he had met in the mission field—Ann Amanda and Sarah Maria Mousley. After establishing a home for his family, Angus started a pottery business.

His roots had scarcely begun to take hold when Church leaders interrupted his life with another call to serve. Predictably, Angus M. Cannon responded in the affirmative. Angus and his family had been called to the “cotton mission,” which meant moving to southern Utah to assist in colonization. In company with Erastus Snow and Jacob Gates, Angus helped select the site for St. George. In the newly created community Angus served in several responsible positions, including mayor, city marshal, county prosecuting attorney, and major in the militia. In December 1864, he went south with a military and exploratory expedition which established Call’s Landing on the Colorado River.

In consequence of Angus’s feeble health, he and his family returned to Salt Lake City in 1867. Getting reestablished, Angus worked at various jobs. He managed a lumber mill, took a freight wagon team to Montana, and worked in the coal business. During the last quarter of the century, he earned a living from a variety of occupations, including business manager of the Deseret News, farmer, stock raiser, and miner.

Meanwhile, his church service continued unabated. He filled a second mission to the eastern states from 1869 to 1870. He was ordained a high priest and set apart as a high councilor in the Salt Lake Stake on 9 May 1873. Then in April 1876 President Brigham Young called Angus and set him apart as stake president of the Salt Lake Stake. During his twenty-eight-year term as stake president, Angus M. Cannon presided over the largest stake in the Church, and he and his counselors and high council established many important precedents in Church government.

As he served in the Church and earned a living, his family responsibilities increased substantially. He had married the Mousley sisters in 1858, and he subsequently added four additional wives to his family: on 16 June 1876 he married the widow of William Mason, Clarissa Cordelia Moses Mason, and during the 1880s he married Martha Hughes, Maria Bennion, and Johanna Cristina Danielson. His six wives bore him twenty-seven children, and with the five Clarissa brought to their marriage, he had thirty-two children to rear.

During the anti-polygamy crusade, President Cannon came under scrutiny of the law, and in January 1885 he was arrested on charges of unlawful cohabitation. His trial in April resulted in a guilty verdict, and in May Judge Charles Zane sentenced him to six months in the penitentiary and fined him three hundred dollars. He served his sentence as well as some extra time in order to allow for an appeal and was released on 14 December 1885.

In 1904 Angus began serving as stake patriarch in the Salt Lake Stake, following his release as stake president. He also spent much of his time performing temple work and doing genealogical research. In 1906 he made a lengthy visit to his ancestral home, the Isle of Man, where he gathered genealogical records and tried to convert his relatives. He died 7 June 1915, and his funeral services were held in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, 11 June 1915. Concerning his death, a Deseret News editorial expresses: “The death of President Angus M. Cannon . . . removes from mortality one of the most valiant, useful and prominent men of the intermountain country.” [6]


Although he engaged in a multiplicity of activities, Angus M. Cannon was first and foremost a churchman. This Utah pioneer served as a missionary, high councilor, stake president, and stake patriarch.

At the impressionable age of six, Angus, with his mother and father, and six brothers and sisters, joined the Church. Before long, they turned their attention to gathering to Zion and in September 1842 embarked for America. These early experiences, coupled with loss of his mother—a virtual sacrifice of her life for the Church—strengthened his spiritual resolve and testimony. [7]

Although less than ten years of age, Angus was impressed by Nauvoo and by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Writing about the Prophet, he recalls, “He was one of the grandest examples of manhood that I ever saw walk or ride at the head of a legion of men.” [8]

Both his baptism and rebaptism constitute impressive evidence of the spiritual stature of young Angus Cannon. Having lost both parents, Angus had not been baptized, even though he was ten years of age. Consequently, in the fall of 1844, Angus took it upon himself to request baptism and was baptized in the Mississippi River by Lyman O. Littlefield. [9] Some years later, after having emigrated to the Salt lake Valley, Angus decided to request rebaptism, as was customary for early Church members. [10] Before applying for rebaptism, however, Angus believed it was both desirable and necessary to have his own testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He perceived that it would no longer be possible to rely on the testimonies of others. Thus, he determined to fast and pray for his own witness. At the end of the third day of his fast, a Sunday, he decided to attend church with some friends and to break his fast, feeling that God would not answer him. During the sacrament meeting held in the Sixth Ward, he received his answer. As the patriarch, Jesse West, bore his testimony, young Angus felt a power take hold of him—a power which shook the bench and all those seated upon it. As he later recalled, “The heavenly power I experienced when under the influence of that occasion I can never forget.” [11] Having received his answer and his own testimony, Angus was rebaptized, at age seventeen.

At age twenty he received a mission call to serve in the eastern United States. During his mission, lasting from September 1854 until June 1858, Angus served in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. [12] Part of his time as a missionary he spent in New York City, where he helped his uncle, Elder John Taylor, publish an important Church newspaper called The Mormon. After laboring in this capacity for one year, Angus had planned to enter West Point but was dissuaded from this goal by his uncle, who believed Angus should continue his missionary labors. [13]

An examination of his missionary journals suggests that Angus M. Cannon served effectively as a representative of the Church. This young elder was privileged to baptize several people during his mission. Even when he traveled by railroad, he seized every opportunity to preach the gospel. The favorable impression he made is evident in the following excerpt from the Public Medium of Wilamantic, Connecticut: “A young man all the way from Great Salt Lake City, seemingly not more than 20 years of age, preached in the Universalist Church last Sunday morning and afternoon. . . . He bears the appearance in his face of good moral character, and high tone of mind, accompanied with rather superior intelligence.” [14] Parley P. Pratt, who worked for a time with Angus as his missionary companion, recorded this favorable observation in his autobiography: “We sang and prayed, feasted and rejoiced, and taught them as we were led by the Spirit. Elder Angus M. Cannon being with me in this and nearly all my visitings and meetings in this city [Philadelphia]. A happier companion is seldom found.” [15]

As was typical of nineteenth-century missionary work, Angus encountered opposition. Once, while he was attempting to perform a baptism, a large crowd assembled and forced the elders to find another location where they could perform the ordinance. [16] His mission experiences also included spiritual experiences, both as an individual and as a member of a group. One such personal spiritual experience was a dream Angus had—a dream of the spirit world. He wrote that he learned from this experience that he should trust in God and do his bidding. [17]

During the excitement of the Utah War, the Church leaders called Angus home from his mission. He arrived in Salt Lake on 21 June 1858. Following his mission and, indeed, throughout his life, Angus Cannon held many positions of trust in the Church. In April 1876 President Brigham Young set him apart as president of the Salt Lake Stake, a position he held for twenty-eight years. [18] The Salt Lake Stake, at that time, included a very large territory. It encompassed not only Salt Lake County but also the counties of Tooele, Davis, Morgan, Summit, and Wasatch. One indication of the size of the stake is the number of patriarchs. In 1887 the Salt Lake Stake had twelve patriarchs. Ward membership figures ran from a low of 58 members at Mountain Dell in Parley’s Canyon to a high of 1165 members in the Eleventh Ward in the City. [19]

His responsibilities as stake president included visiting wards, installing ward and stake officers, holding courts, conducting temple recommend interviews, holding stake meetings such as high council meetings, and conducting weekly meetings in the Salt Lake Tabernacle for the Saints throughout the Valley. Frequently these meetings featured General Authorities as speakers, even though they came under the jurisdiction of the Salt Lake Stake president, who presided at the meetings. In addition to those who spoke, others from among the General Authorities attended this meeting and other stake meetings. At the stake priesthood meeting, for example, held on 15 September 1877, John Taylor, Erastus Snow, George Q. Cannon, and Brigham Young, Jr., were in attendance. [20]

Sometimes the Brethren invited Angus to speak in general conference, even though he was not a General Authority. He spoke, for example, at April conference in 1903. In his remarks he reminisced about his long term as stake president, during which time five different men had presided over the Church—Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, and Joseph F. Smith. The fact that he participated in such meetings underscores the significance of his position as president of the Salt Lake Stake. [21]

When Angus M. Cannon visited the wards in his stake, he was not just a routine visitor. The members of the Herriman Ward found out that he meant business. Arthur W. Crane, a lifelong resident of that ward recalls one incident vividly. When President Cannon came to visit, he released the bishop and presented the name of James S. Crane as the new bishop. Because of factions in the ward, a majority voted against Brother Crane. Angus M. Cannon then disfellowshipped all who had so voted and set apart another man to act as presiding elder until such time as the majority of the ward should repent. Three months passed, the people repented, President Cannon returned, and the ward sustained James S. Crane as bishop. In time, most ward members thought Bishop Crane was one of the best bishops who ever served in Herriman. [22]

Stake presidents in nineteenth-century Utah had many responsibilities which would not be associated with stake presidencies of today. In his role as stake president, for example, Angus Cannon had major responsibilities for the education of his people. Early in his term of office he had responsibility for the Salt Lake Stake Academy. Later, this responsibility shifted to the LDS College. In this capacity President Cannon had responsibilities that would today be assumed by the board of trustees. Frequently Angus attended meetings with other Church leaders who had responsibility for education in the Salt Lake Valley. Sometimes he met with the stake board of education. At other times he met as a member of the board of trustees. Most often their meetings were routine, as is the case of one meeting in which they ordered chairs for Barrett Hall at LDS College. [23] Sometimes, however, their meetings dealt with crises, such as the time when the entire business faculty at LDS College resigned in protest of administration policies. On that occasion, and in a number of subsequent meetings, the board worked closely with the president of the college, Joshua H. Paul, to hire the necessary replacements. [24]

An analysis of the extensive diaries of Angus M. Cannon indicates that much of his time as stake president was devoted to Church courts. Although Angus was careful not to recall the nature of the charges against the accused or the details of the court proceedings, his journals do contain frequent references to court sessions over which he presided.

Some of the court procedures were decidedly different than those of later periods. For example, today a stake presidency generally retires to an adjoining room and makes a decision which is announced to the court, after which a vote of the council is called for. This procedure usually takes place within hours or even minutes after the high council has finished its consideration of the case. In contrast, in the days when he presided over courts, Angus would take time to write a decision—somewhat in the fashion of today’s United States Supreme Court. The written decision would then be considered by the council. [25] Another practice which seems foreign in the modern Church is the public confession of one’s sins. In the case of the Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, John Q. Cannon, son of George Q. Cannon and a nephew of Angus, John was called upon to make a public confession before the congregation in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Following this public confession, Angus as stake president proposed that John be cut off from the Church. The vote was taken, and John Cannon was excommunicated. [26]

For his work in Church law, Angus M. Cannon has received ample praise. A grandson, Quayle Cannon Jr., recalls hearing Elder Levi Edgar Young say that Angus was without equal in the field of Church law. According to Marion Bennion Cannon, Levi Edgar Young said Angus M. Cannon “was one of the most just men he had ever known, speaking of his administration as president of the Salt Lake Stake in the days when that meant being both civil and religious judge in the whole county.” [27] Perhaps these feelings of praise came because of Angus’s charity and compassion in Church courts. Angus writes: “Better let 99 guilty ones go uncondemned than condemn one innocent one.” [28]

The Church courts over which he presided often dealt with matters of a purely secular nature—something rarely done in the Church in the twentieth century. One such court involved a case of a woman accused of stealing drugs from a hospital. After hearing the evidence President Cannon and the court decided that the charges against the woman could not be sustained. [29] Furthermore, the Salt Lake Stake high council frequently considered cases involving Gentiles. Thus, non-Mormons came by choice to a Church court to consider purely secular matters.

Studying his work as stake president, one quickly realizes that not only Church law but also customs and practices of a later era. Even ordinances as basic as baptism assumed a different character in that time. Angus writes, for example, of baptizing his son Eugene in the Logan Temple for his health. [30] On another occasion Angus writes: “At 2 p.m. I baptized little Catherine Lynch Cannon in the bath tub, I getting into the tub with her. She is 8 years old today.” [31] Obviously, baptisms were held wherever it was convenient, not just in places provided for that purpose.

Information from the diaries of Angus M. Cannon indicates that the Saints administered to the sick more often than is done today. Angus not only administered to his large family but also to members of the Church under his jurisdiction. An entry from his journal shows his faith in this practice: “I was called from my breakfast at 7 and went with George and Brother Jesse A. Fox and administered to the daughter of Brother Wm. C. Morris—she is affected with heart disease. In administering to her I said she should live.” Three days later, he writes cryptically that she was better. [32]

Angus M. Cannon sternly enforced provision of the Word of Wisdom. When his son, Angus, Jr., developed a drinking habit, he came under severe condemnation from his father. His journals also show that Angus thoroughly disapproved of smoking. His belief in this important principle and practice surfaced often in his discourses and public testimonies. During one fast and testimony meeting Angus spoke on the Word of Wisdom “as a revelation of God to the people.”[33]

While he energetically decried violations of the Word of Wisdom, Angus reserved his heaviest ammunition for the war against round dancing. By mid-nineteenth century, round dancing had nearly replaced square and line dancing in America. In round dancing the gentleman and his partner held each other in close proximity and circled together around the hall. Waltzes and foxtrots were among the most popular round dances. [34] Church leaders at all levels lost little time in vigorously condemning the sin of round dancing. At a stake leadership meeting, President Cannon said: “The young should be restrained in their excesses in round dancing.” Excesses of round dancing should also be restricted so that “older persons may join in the dance with them, without having to sit and look on more than half the time or of being entrapped onto the floor by the evasive titles given to round dances.” He further warned that the youth of Zion sought to evade justice and cloak their sins by using “evasive titles” for dances that were obviously round dances. [35] At a high priest quorum meeting held almost twenty years later, he was still preaching against round dancing. [36] President Cannon, however, was not alone in decrying this form of evil. In an official statement issued by the First Presidency in 1912, members were instructed “to avoid ‘dances that require or permit the close embrace.’” [37]

President Cannon agreed with the General Authorities on such issues, and he supported them with complete energy and devotion. This agreement was facilitated and enhanced by his close personal relationship with the leaders of the Church. In part, this intimate association stemmed from his kinship with some of the Brethren, His older brother, George Q. Cannon, served as counselor in the First Presidency during most of Angus’s twenty-eight years as stake president. During the 1880s his uncle, John Taylor, served as President of the Church. Thus, Angus M. Cannon had, by virtue of family times, easy access to the highest councils of the Church. In fact, many of the General Authorities were blood relatives. [38]

The familial tie which created the most intimate bond to the Church hierarchy was his relationship with his renowned brother, George Q. Cannon. Their voluminous correspondence bears eloquent testimony to their firm personal relationship and to their common interest in Church affairs. While George represented Utah Territory in Washington, D.C., the brothers frequently exchanged letters. Writing, for example, in 1880, George Q. sent forty dollars for the building fund for the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, commenting: “I wish it was ten times the amount; but I am cramped, and it is all I can afford at present.” [39] Always a careful and prescient observer of the political scene, the older brother commented during the explosive Congressional debates concerning polygamy: “Both sides are ready to join hands upon any measure which will be likely to strike down plural marriage.” [40] When George was in Salt Lake City, of course, his position in the First Presidency provided Angus with ready access to the President of the Church.

At one point during his presidency, Angus was closely related to two of the three members of the First Presidency—John Taylor and George Q. Cannon. Angus felt a special affinity for his uncle, John Taylor, having served with him in the mission field in the 1850s. This affinity drew them into frequent contact during President Taylor’s administration. Contact between Angus and President John Taylor occurred largely through correspondence since those years were marked by harassment over polygamy and the two were often forced into hiding. Angus wrote to and received advice from President Taylor on such matters as Church court procedure, [41] temple recommend problems, [42] Church education, [43] stake office needs, [44] and organizational changes.[45] His respect and concern for President Taylor is evident. For example, he wrote: “Praying God to preserve you from all evil and endow you with strength to maintain his rule upon the earth.” [46]

Although his association with Church leaders was facilitated by his kinship, Angus Cannon’s relationship to Church leaders was not restricted to kinsmen. He enjoyed, for example, an intimate association with President Wilford Woodruff. In fact, his journals are replete with references to Wilford Woodruff. For example, he visited Wilford Woodruff and said he looked well; [47] he attended a special serenade by the Tabernacle Choir for President Woodruff; [48] he heard Wilford Woodruff bear testimony “of the Lord and the Keys of the Priesthood”; [49] President Woodruff asked Angus to sell some of his property to the Church, and Angus replied, “I will do anything you wish with any of my property, that it may be of good to the Church”; [50] he visited President Woodruff, who was ill, and gave him some medicine and advice on his health; [51] he asked President Woodruff if the veil should be up or down on a deceased woman, and the President responded, “put it down.” [52] After attending the laying of the capstone on the Salt Lake Temple, Angus referred to Wilford W. Woodruff as “the greatest man living.” [53] Obviously these men enjoyed a meaningful personal relationship.

With each of the Presidents of the Church from Brigham Young to Joseph F. Smith, President Cannon experienced a close personal association. In those relationships Angus respected both the office and the man who occupied it. Respect, however, did not mean bowing and scraping to please the Brethren. If he had a difference of opinion on an important issue, he freely and candidly expressed his point of view. As a consequence, there were some stormy moments. In conversation with President Lorenzo Snow, Angus stood his ground when President Snow reprimanded him for being too harsh with one of his members. Said Angus, “I believe you would be quite as impatient as I am.” President Snow replied, “I might be worse than you.” [54] Occasionally his frankness and tenacity caused some bitterness in his association with the Brethren. Such was the case in his relationship with one of the Apostles, Heber J. Grant. Following a meeting, he ran into Heber J. Grant, who said: “I do not think you are fit to preside over a stake until you make an apology.” Angus replied, “I do not think you fit to be an Apostle to talk out as you do!” [55] To the credit of both men, they resolved their differences and enjoyed a cordial companionship in later years.

In the main, Angus’s relationship with the General Authorities was close and friendly. He went to them with questions, conferred with them on policy, and enjoyed a pleasant social interaction with them and their wives and families. This close relationship stemmed in part from kinship, but also from the fact that the Church was much smaller and more intimate in the early days than it is now. From this condition Angus benefited, as did the members of the Salt Lake Stake.

One program which General Authorities encouraged Angus to implement was the home missionary program. While some of its features are found among various twentieth-century Church programs, the home missionary program per se is not found in today’s Church. In the nineteenth century, each stake in the Church had its own corps of home missionaries—missionaries used for a variety of purposes, as determined by each stake president. In general, home missionaries stressed temple building, repentance, and economic stability. According to a regularly scheduled plan, these home missionaries visited each of the wards in the stake. As envisaged by Church leaders, the home missionaries were to improve the quality of the ward sacrament meetings by giving better than average talks. Indeed, instructions for home missionaries given in their home missionary meetings constantly stressed that they improve their speaking ability and strive to make their talks more stimulating and interesting. [56] The home missionaries were counseled on how to teach. They were instructed “to teach doctrines rather than incidents of their personal experience and to warn the people to repent and reform.” [57]

President Cannon called several home missionaries in October 1877 and also inaugurated monthly home missionary meetings, held in the Council House. The home missionaries of the Salt Lake Stake visited the wards on a regular basis, carrying the messages which they had been assigned. Some home missionaries served for as long as twenty years, preaching sermons almost every week. Eventually, as many as one hundred fifty home missionaries served at one time in the Salt Lake Stake. [58]

In home missionary meetings, stake priesthood meetings, and other meetings, Angus M. Cannon gave hundreds of speeches during his lengthy term as stake president. The subjects of these talks give some insight into the matters which he considered important for the members of the Salt Lake Stake to hear. One of the subjects Angus most frequently spoke on was the responsibility of parents for their children. In home missionary meetings as well as at stake conferences, he urged parents to teach their children the gospel. [59]

Sometimes the pronouncements of President Cannon received quasi-General Authority status. His talks on women and the priesthood are a case in point. At the stake conference held in October 1878 he spoke on this subject, and his remarks were subsequently reported in the Woman’s Exponent. [60] Other subjects frequently discussed by Angus included tithing, priesthood, Church courts, backbiting, and judging others. [61] Concerning the matter of judging others, Angus taught about “the danger of judging the actions of our brethren without understanding their motives.” [62] In a word, an examination of his speeches convinces one that Angus M. Cannon cared deeply about teaching the Saints their duties.

The information presented thus far concerning Angus M. Cannon’s experiences and activities as president of the Salt Lake Stake make it possible to draw certain conclusions. When this information is compared with research on the history of stakes in the Church even more meaningful conclusions may be reached. Although considerable work has been done on the organizational and institutional features of Mormonism in general, unfortunately this is not true of the stake. [63]

One conclusion which is quite apparent is that Angus M. Cannon served as stake president during a time of transition—transition not only for the Salt Lake Stake but also for all stakes in the Church. Prior to 1877 Salt Lake Stake had enjoyed a position of superiority in relation to other stakes. The stake presidency of the Salt Lake Stake even approved personnel called to serve in other stakes. In 1877 such a position of superiority came to an end as a part of the priesthood reorganization of 1877. Salt Lake Stake no longer held any authority over other stakes, and all stakes were declared equal and independent of each other. [64]

The size of the stake was changed during this transition period. As noted previously, when Brigham Young set Angus apart in 1876, Salt Lake Stake included not only all of Salt Lake County but also the counties of Tooele, Davis, Morgan, Summit, and Wasatch. One year later, it was reduced in size to include only Salt Lake County. Each of the other counties was organized as a separate stake. Even after losing such a huge amount of territory, Salt Lake Stake still had 19,798 members in 1877. [65]

The transition associated with the priesthood reorganization of 1877 introduced several changes in the priesthood quorums. High priests were to be organized in one stake quorum with unlimited numbers. Seventies were to meet together only for missionary purposes; their regular priesthood meetings would be held jointly with high priests or elders quorums. All priesthood quorums were to have minimum numbers of members established by modern revelation. Consequently, no less than ninety-six elders, forty-eight priests, twenty-four teachers, and twelve deacons were necessary. [66]

Significant changes also occurred in the relationship between the stake leaders and the General Authorities and in the role of jurisdiction of the stake presidency. Beginning in 1877 all stakes were to hold regular quarterly conferences at which General Authorities would visit. Stake presidencies and high councilors were to visit wards frequently and systematically. Furthermore, stakes were to hold monthly priesthood meetings. To accommodate these priesthood meetings and other meetings, stake tabernacles were to be built. Since the Salt Lake Stake could hold its conferences in the Tabernacle on Temple Square, they needed a smaller building for priesthood meetings. This requirement resulted in the construction of the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. [67]

Although one of the goals of Brigham Young’s reorganization of 1877 was to standardize the stakes and make them equal and autonomous, as far as the Salt Lake Stake was concerned, this goal was only partially realized. In the minds of Angus M. Cannon and other leaders of the Salt Lake Stake, it remained “the stake.” To make their point, these men could call attention to the weekly general sacrament meeting for all of Salt Lake Valley. This meeting, held in the Tabernacle and involving many General Authorities, was under the jurisdiction of the Salt Lake Stake. Furthermore, they could point out that Salt Lake Stake was by far the largest stake in the entire Church, even when five new stakes were created within its original boundaries.

Much of the time Angus served as stake president he shared an office with the Presidency of the Church. This sharing of physical facilities included not only the office space, desks, and other equipment, but it also included the use of the carriage and horses that were provided for the First Presidency. [68] This close proximity and identification with the top leaders of the Church made it possible for Angus M. Cannon and other leaders of the Salt Lake Stake to feel that their stake enjoyed a special status, a status apart from other stakes.

Another factor which might have influenced Angus and his associates to regard the Salt Lake Stake as paramount was the responsibility which they had for some Church matters outside the confines of their own stake. One such responsibility concerned temples and temple work. Angus M. Cannon had responsibility and authority for matters concerning the Logan Temple. He was directly and influentially involved in matters of policy concerning the operation of that temple. This role, of course, ceased once the Salt Lake Temple was completed in the 1890s. Clearly the role which Angus Cannon played concerning the Logan Temple made him feel that his position and his stake were in some ways superior to other stakes in the Church. [69] Although the general direction and tenor of the Church had changed, Angus M. Cannon continued to think this way about the Salt Lake Stake until he was released.

When Angus Cannon was replaced as Salt Lake Stake president, after serving for twenty-eight years, he found his release an unpleasant and trying experience. The circumstances of that release bear repeating. In the weeks and months immediately preceding his release, President Cannon had a premonition that a change was imminent. He wrote in his journal that the General Authorities had been heaping praise on him to make it “easier on me.” As they consulted with him on the proposed division of the Salt Lake Stake, his feelings about being released became more intense. Feeling especially depressed, he wrote: “In these thoughts I find comfort, knowing He has always been my true friend.” [70] Implicit in this statements is the belief that while the Savior had remained his true friend, the Church leaders had not. The experience of Angus shows not only the difficulty of being released after a long period of service but also the hurt which often results when leaders are seen as insensitive. By 1 April 1904, the Salt Lake Stake had been divided into four stakes—Salt Lake, Liberty, Pioneer, and Ensign—with four new presidents; Nephi L. Morris, Hugh J. Cannon, William McLachlin, and Richard W. Young. Angus was sustained as patriarch in the new Salt Lake Stake.” [71] Angus felt like a man without a country. Some weeks later he told President Joseph F. Smith that he felt all used up and of no more value to the Church. [72] President Smith tried to console him, and eventually the wound healed and Angus M. Cannon’s Church career took a new course.

In his later years Angus divided his Church-related activities between genealogical research, temple work, and his duties as patriarch. He made a lengthy trip to the Isle of Man in 1906 in search of his ancestors, successfully gathering many family records. He spent as much as four days as week in the performance of ordinances and as a temple worker at the Salt Lake Temple until his death in 1915. He also faithfully gave patriarchal blessings to members of the stake who had a desire to receive them.

In earlier years Angus had received four patriarchal blessings of his own: John Smith gave him a patriarchal blessing in 1853 and another in 1867; William G. Perkins gave him a blessing in 1874; and he received a blessing under the hands of Zebedee Coltrin in 1886. His blessings were beautiful and meaningful, and they reveal significant insights concerning his life and his relationship to the Church. One passage from the patriarchal blessing given by Zebedee Coltin reads: “Thou wast called and chosen of the Lord before the foundations of the earth was laid to come forth in this dispensation to assist in building up an holy city unto the Lord.” [73]

In discharging his duties as patriarch, Angus M. Cannon earnestly sought the Spirit of the Lord and hoped to be his mouthpiece. He also responded to the needs of the members. One journal entry reads: “I met brother Merlin Jones Bartholomew going on a mission to the Middle States, who desired a Patriarchal blessing, as he was going away this evening. I took him to my office and blessed him while Quayle wrote it.” [74] His experiences as patriarch also indicate that Church customs regarding these blessings have changed over the years. Evidently the patriarch charged a small fee for his services and for the purpose of paying the recorder of the blessing. Thus, he writes: “Gave 7 Patriarchal blessings for which each gave $1. . . . Ann wrote them for me and I gave Ann $3.00 for writing them for us.” [75] From the records available, it would seem that he gave most of his patriarchal blessings on Sunday. His journal entries indicate that he was conscientious in attending to his patriarchal duties, and he also derived a sense of spiritual satisfaction from this challenging and spiritually demanding activity.

One of the most important aspects of Angus M. Cannon’s relationship to the Church is his practice of plural marriage. He entered voluntarily into the practice of polygamy because of his conviction that Church leaders represented the will of God when they instructed him to do so. Based on that conviction, he married and lived with six women: Sarah Maria Mousley, Ann Amanda Mousley, Clarissa Cordelia Moses Mason, Martha Hughes, Maria Bennion, and Johanna Christina Danielson.

The story of his first marriage is a classic in the annals of Mormon polygamy. During his days as a missionary in Delaware, Angus had become acquainted with the Titus Mousley family of Wilmington, Delaware. He was especially fond of Amanda, one of the Mosley daughters, and after the family immigrated to Utah he continued this relationship by courting her. Desiring to marry her, he consulted with Church leaders, who recommended that he marry not only Ann Amanda but her sister Sarah Maria, as well. So it was, on the morning of 18 July 1858, Angus M. Cannon, Ann Amanda Mousley, and her sister Sarah Maria Mousley arrived at President Brigham Young’s office in the Beehive House for the purpose of being united in marriage. Being the sweetheart of Angus, Amanda fully expected to become the first wife. Brigham Young, however, relying perhaps on biblical precedent, decided that Sarah, being the eldest, should become the first wife. Obviously upset by such a development, Amanda consented to become the second wife only upon Angus’s solemn promise that he would honor her with the privileges normally reserved for the first wife in a polygamous marriage. Thus, they were married by President Brigham Young, and all three set out on their honeymoon. [76]

True to his promise, Angus treated Amanda as his first wife. While he carefully divided his time among his six wives, he spent more time with Amanda than any other of his wives. She served as hostess for most of his social functions as stake president. While she fulfilled her role as hostess with grace and dignity, she preferred the privacy of her home. Indeed, Amanda was an intensely private person, devoted to rearing her children and attending to her husband’s needs. She bore Angus ten children, more than any other of his wives. [77]

According to his journal entries Angus enjoyed his best husband-wife relationship with Amanda. They had fewer quarrels and certainly fewer displays of anger. Because Amanda’s health was somewhat frail, Angus conscientiously administered to her and purchased medicine for her. [78] His love and concern for Amanda are shown in this entry: “Arose at 6:45 and made a fire, fearful the room was too cold for Amanda. I prayed at Amanda’s bed side, for the church Amanda and myself and all God has intrusted to me.” [79] Each Monday he gave her the week’s financial allowance, and his journals prove that he never missed this payment. Unlike some forgetful husbands, Angus always remembered Amanda’s birthday. [80] She returned his thoughtfulness by keeping his clothing in good order and preparing delicious meals. When Angus was in prison as a convicted polygamist, she visited him regularly, thus easing the pain of that experience. [81] All in all, Angus and Amanda enjoyed an excellent relationship.

Amanda also enjoyed a harmonious relationship with her sister Sarah. Although technically the first wife, Sarah assumed a role similar to that of his other wives and seemed not to be offended by her secondary status. Whether homesteading at her Bluffdale farm or comfortably housed in Salt Lake, Sarah earned a reputation as an excellent homemaker. She always kept her home attractive and pleasant. Though only ninety pounds in weight, this diminutive woman never shirked hard work. Sarah Maria bore Angus six children. [82]

The marriage of Angus M. Cannon and Clarissa Cordelia Moses Mason Cannon on 16 June 1875 attests to the humanitarian nature of Mormon polygamy. Clara’s husband had died, leaving her with five children. Clearly the welfare of her and her children was a major consideration when Angus decided to take her as his third wife. This gracious, bilingual woman had come around Cape Horn with Sam Brannan on the Brooklyn. Settling in San Francisco, she became fluent in Spanish through association with Spanish-speaking playmates. She brought five children into the marriage, and bore Angus three additional children. [83]

By far the most famous and unquestionably the most difficult of all of his wives, Martha Hughes Cannon became his fourth wife in a secret ceremony conducted in the Endowment House of 6 October 1884. While working as a medical doctor at Deseret Hospital, Mattie met and married Angus, who served as a member of the hospital board of directors. Although Mattie was twenty-three years younger than her husband, she felt herself drawn to his “deep spirituality” [84] and considered him “handsome and magnetic.” [85]

During the 1890s she added political ambitions to her interest in medicine. In 1893 she spoke in Chicago on women’s rights and in 1895 became involved in the Utah Constitutional Convention. In the 1896 election, Utah’s first election as a state, she made history by being elected the first woman state senator in the United States and by defeating her husband in that political contest. Technically, Martha and Angus did not oppose each other directly. Each party nominated five candidates for a total slate of ten. Actually, both Angus and Mattie could have won or both could have lost the election, since she ran on the Democratic slate and he on the Republican slate. As it turned out, Mattie won and Angus lost. Mattie’s victory and Angus’s defeat, of course, caused the stake president considerable embarrassment. However, too much should not be made of his so-called humiliation. In a letter to a prominent acquaintance in New York, shortly after the election, Angus wrote: “My wife aspired to be a State Senator and it looks as if she will get here while I planned to get there but failed. Notwithstanding this I am not going to separate from my wife but will try and keep as near as I can and be happy. [86]

Obviously, Martha Hughes Cannon desired fulfillment through a dual career as homemaker and career woman. Her pursuit of fulfillment through a public career in medicine and politics made her the most challenging of Angus’s wives. That Mattie and Angus loved each other is evident, but equally manifest were their disputes. Indeed, theirs was a bittersweet relationship. Love letters and valentines [87] were interspersed with complaints about neglect and threats of divorce. [88] Ultimately, Martha elected to separate, at least geographically, from Angus, living the last years of her life in Los Angeles near her three children. She outlived Angus by seventeen years, dying on 10 July 1932. [89]

Like Martha, Maria Bennion Cannon was twenty-three years younger than her husband. The daughter of John and Esther Bennion, she was born in Taylorsville, Utah, 5 August 1857. She married Angus on 11 March 1886, following his prison term for cohabitation. Her years in hiding because of persecution over polygamy were spent in Logan, Utah. After about 1910 she lived in Salt Lake County. Fond of music and talented, she served as ward organist in many places. She bore Angus four children. [90]

Angus married his sixth wife, Johanna Christine Danielson, 21 March 1887. She was born 2 October 1850, in Carlshaven, Sweden. She bore Angus one child. [91] According to his journal, she lived on a farm in Sandy, Utah. Although little information is available concerning Johanna, it is obvious from his personal records that he visited her frequently and cared for her when she was ill. [92]

Being the husband of six polygamous wives brought two penalties to Angus—harassment by federal officials and imprisonment in the state penitentiary. All during the 1880s Angus lived “on the underground” and suffered frequent harassment at the hands of federal marshals. On 26 August 1886, for example, he records: “Dep. Marshals surrounded my Bluff-Dale Farm house and searched it for Mr. Cannon.” [93] The following day he learned that ten federal marshals had warrants for his arrest. In November he began carrying a pistol for protection. In fact, when marshals did try to arrest him, they were amused by his arsenal—one needle, gun, one Colt automatic, one Winchester rifle. [94] Feeling pressure as his hearing approached, he appealed to the Lord. “I went before the Lord in prayer and dedicated myself and all I had to Him and said I was ready to go to prison unto death if it was his will. . . . I was comforted of the Spirit.” [95]

Angus’s apprehension about going to prison was intensified, no doubt, by his earlier prison experience. He had already served a term in the Utah State prison for unlawful cohabitation. Indeed, Angus Cannon was one of the first to be tried and convicted of unlawful cohabitation when legal prosecutions began for violation of the Edmunds law. Seeking to conform to the letter of the law, Angus, by providing separate living quarters for each of his wives and actually not living with them and avoiding normal husband-wife relationships, sought to avoid conviction for unlawful cohabitation. The judge, however, thought differently. Chief Justice Charles S. Zane convicted Angus and sentenced him to six months in prison and fined him three hundred dollars. [96]

Fortunately, Angus continued writing in his journal while he served his prison term. Consequently, we are in a better position to understand his experience there. On the eve of his imprisonment a “farewell testimonial” was held in the Fourteenth Ward assembly hall in his honor. [97] On 9 May 1885, his first day in prison, he writes: “I ate a little bread and water for supper and slept in a hammock placed in a small prison house, where there were between thirty and forty criminals, charged with every crime, and of every color.” [98] Angus thought he received fair treatment and especially looked forward to regular visits from family members, who brought fruit, baked goods, and flowers. In order to pass the long, monotonous hours, he played croquet, pitched quoits, and read. Some of the books and newspapers he read include Parley P. Pratt, Key to Theology; Highways to Literature; Draper’s Intellectual Development of Europe; History and Philosophy of Marriage; Herbert Spencer, Education, Intellectual and Moral; Leonard Schmitz, A Manual of Ancient History; Harper’s Weekly; Juvenile Instructor; St. Louis Globe Democrat; Provo Enquirer; Deseret News; Salt Lake Herald; and Salt Lake Tribune. [99]

His spirits varied, but for the most part he remained optimistic about his prison experience. On at least one occasion the prisoners received a letter of encouragement from President Joseph F. Smith. [100] Sometimes Angus had to renew his determination and resolve to endure to the end. Once he wrote his resolve in capital letters: “I AM HAPPY AND CAN ENDURE WITH THE HELP OF GOD AS MANY YEAR’S IMPRISONMENT AS I HAVE DONE WEEKS.” [101]

As it turned out, Angus remained in prison almost two months longer than his original sentence while his lawyers tested the constitutionality of the legal concept of unlawful cohabitation. Finally, the government decided that the concept was constitutional, but Angus was then released. Of his release, he writes:

It is with anxiety I await news from Washington relating to my case of appeal. I was in line at 3 bells come into supper when I was called by Warden Dow and told to change my dress as I was to be discharged from prison. It was only the work of a few minutes and I bade a due to my brethren and fellow prisoners. All of whom gathered around me; the former reminding me of some little message to friends and all joining and wishing that I might not have to return to their midst. [102]

As one surveys his activities as a churchman, two areas, previously unmentioned, loom prominently on the horizon: First, his experience in 1888 with David Whitmer, and second, his visit with Joseph Smith III in 1905. In January 1888, while on a business trip to the East, Angus stopped in Richmond, Missouri, to pay a visit to David Whitmer, the last survivor of the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon. While in Richmond, Angus heard David Whitmer bear solemn testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Within the month, David Whitmer died. Having a premonition that he would be the last of the Latter-day Saints to hear the testimony of David Whitmer, Angus had written: “I feel I should be the last stranger to hear it.” [103]

A little more than a year after his release as stake president, Angus had a most interesting visit with Joseph Smith III, the son of the Prophet. Angus and Joseph III were nearly the same age and had attended school together in the Red Brick Store in Nauvoo. Thus, their relationship spanned a lifetime. While on a visit to Salt Lake in 1906, Joseph Smith III requested to see Angus, who gladly consented to spend some time with his friend. During the course of their visit, they both addressed each other as “Brother” and had a lively discussion about their respective churches, and especially about polygamy. Interestingly, Angus also told Joseph about his being the last elder of the Church to hear the testimony of David Whitmer. Throughout their lengthy conversation, Angus M. Cannon vigorously defended the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and frequently bore testimony of the truth. [104]

Much of his life, Angus bore witness of the truth as he understood it, in word and deed. His testimony he regarded as a sacred possession, and he had received many remarkable spiritual manifestations which definitely strengthened his personal conviction of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. During his first mission in the 1850s he had a special manifestation which fortified his nascent testimony. Later in life he experienced a truly astonishing vision which put the finishing touches on his now mature testimony. While visiting in the British Isles in 1906, Angus responded to a request by President Heber J. Grant to bear his testimony by relating the following experience:

I have been introduced as having seen the Prophet Joseph Smith, but I now wish to say I not only have seen him but I have seen the Lord, Jesus, himself.

As near as I can tell it was in the days of President Taylor’s Presidency and after I came out of prison. Brother Abraham Hatch said to me one day: I hear you have seen the Lord, why do you not publish it? I replied—I have seen him but not to be glorified in doing so. I took it to be rather a rebuke. I did hear a voice which said—Angus, it is your privilege to appear before the Lord and I immediately looked and beheld him, apparently about 30 rods distant. I was crouching down at the time but was as wide awake as it was possible for me to be, but I saw his profile down to his waist.

He looked to me more like James Townsend, whom I worked with, in St. Joseph than any man I remember seeing, before Brother Townsend turned grey. I undertook to arise and go to him but dared not approach him, and said: ‘My God! Who can appear before Him.’ I imagined he would say: How have you used my name and what use have you made of my Priesthood? When I thought of my many light speeches and the manner in which I had striven to embelish my remarks, in addressing people as His servant, circumlocuting around the truths given of Him, as witness his sermon on the mount, I was unable to go to him. [105]

Such experiences are witnessed by relatively few people. Certainly such a vision must have caused Angus to feel that he had indeed been “called and chosen” before the foundations of the world. One thing is certain: whatever else this pioneer, president, and patriarch did, whatever else he aspired to, Angus M. Cannon was first and foremost a churchman.


[1] Interview with T. Quentin Cannon, 12 November 1980, Salt Lake City.

[2] Interview with Quayle Cannon Jr., 10 September 1980, Bountiful, Utah.

[3] Sources constitute the building blocks of history. In the case of Angus M. Cannon more than sufficient building blocks are available. Major sources on Angus include primarily the Angus Munn Cannon Papers located at the Library-Archives, Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah; hereafter cited as LDS Church Archives. This massive collection contains such items as seventy-two volumes of his journals, letterbooks, business papers, and miscellaneous items. The material in the LDS Church Archives fills twelve reels of microfilm. In addition to the collection held by the Church, family members still have some journals and letters. Seven volumes in the possession of T. Quentin Cannon were recently loaned to the Church Historical Department for microfilming. Brigham Young University has three volumes of his journals—essentially his prison diaries, written while he served a term for polygamy. From this wealth of material one can gain insight into many facets of nineteenth-century Utah. The Angus M. Cannon Papers reveal much about the Church, polygamy, agriculture, business, politics, and human relations. In a real sense, the source material almost demands a topical approach to the life of Angus M. Cannon.

[4] The other children, named in order of age, were George Q., Mary Alice, Ann, John Q., David H., and Leonora.

[5] There are several good biographical sketches of Angus M. Cannon. My biographical essay has been drawn essentially from the following: Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson Historical Co., 1901–36), 1:292–95; Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: George Q. Cannon & Sons, 1892–1904), 4:373–76; Edward W. Tullidge, The History of Salt Lake City and Its Founders (Salt Lake City: Edward Tullidge, 1886), 107–110; Frank Esshom, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah (Salt Lake City: Utah Pioneers Book Publishing Company, 1913), 188, 793; Thomas C. Romney, The Gospel In Action (Salt Lake City: Deseret Sunday School Union Board, 1949), 30–34; Beatrice Cannon Evans, “Angus Munn Cannon,” Cannon Family Historical Treasury, eds. Beatrice Cannon Evans and Janath Russell Cannon (Salt Lake City: George Cannon Family Association, 1967), 189–216 (hereafter cited as Treasury). Inasmuch as the remainder of my biographical sketch has been drawn from a composite of the above-mentioned sources, no further footnote citations will be made for the sketch.

[6] Deseret News, 7 June 1915, 4.

[7] Treasury, 34–50.

[8] Young Woman’s Journal 17 (December 1906): 546.

[9] Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, 292.

[10] For a meaningful account of the practice of rebaptism, see D. Michael Quinn, “The Practice of Rebaptism at Nauvoo,” BYU Studies 18 (Winter 1978): 226–32.

[11] Treasury, 194.

[12] Whitney, History of Utah, 4:374.

[13] Romney, Gospel in Action, 32.

[14] “The Public Medium,” 5 May 1855, in Romney, Gospel in Action.

[15] Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, ed. Parley P. Pratt Jr., reprint (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976), 439.

[16] Journal of Angus M. Cannon, 16 June 1856, Angus Munn Cannon Papers, LDS Church Archives; the Angus M. Cannon Journals at the LDS Church Archives will be cited hereafter as Journal, with a date for each entry. Journals in other locations will be duly cited with reference to their exact location.

[17] Journal, 25 November 1855.

[18] The newspapers and biographies make such a fuss over Angus M. Cannon’s twenty-eight-year term as stake president that I assumed he must have served longer than any other stake president. My research assistant, Steven P. Knowles, determined, however, that Angus did not hold the record. Lewis W. Shurtliff served as president of the Weber Stake from 21 January 1883 until his death 2 May 1922, a total of thirty-nine years.

[19] Andrew Jenson, Historical Record, Church Encyclopedia, Book 1 (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson, 1886), 273–74. Note that the Salt Lake Stake was reduced in size in 1877, when Tooele, Davis, Morgan, Summit, and Wasatch stakes were created (Andrew Jenson, Historical Record, 281).

[20] Salt Lake Stake Minutes, Historical Record Book, 15 September 1877, LDS Church Archives.

[21] Conference Report (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1903), 58–60. See article by Kenneth W. Godfrey, “150 years of General Conference,” Ensign, 1981, 66–74. See also, Jay R. Lowe, “A Study of the General Conferences of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1901” (PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 1972).

[22] Taped interview with Arthur W. Crane, 10 April 1980, Herriman, Utah. See also Journal, 8 August 1897.

[23] Journal, 3 March 1902.

[24] Journal, 2 February 1900. See also Deseret Evening News, 3 February 1900, 11. For additional information concerning the formation and early history of LDS College, see Ernest L. Wilkinson, ed., Brigham Young University: The First One Hundred Years, 4 vols. (Provo, UT: BYU Press, 1975), 1:222–25.

[25] See, for example, Journal, 11–12 August 1886.

[26] Journal, 5 September 1886. John Q. Cannon was serving as a General Authority at the time of his excommunication. He was second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric.

[27] Marion Cannon Bennion, “Where the Cannon Family Came From,” talk given at the Angus M. Cannon Family Reunion, Salt Lake City, 12 July 1957.

[28] Angus M. Cannon to Orin P. Miller, 4 April 1895, Letterbooks, Angus M. Cannon Papers, LDS Church Archives; hereafter cited as Letterbooks.

[29] John Taylor, 20 February 1884, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854–1886): 26:361–63.

[30] Journal, 10 July 1892. On baptism for health, see Quinn, “Rebaptism,” 229–31.

[31] Journal, 17 July 1901. That such a practice was not unusual is evident from the fact that Spencer W. Kimball was baptized in a washtub and later in a canal (see Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball, Jr., Spencer W. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1977], 33).

[32] Journal, 10 January 1889 and 13 January 1889. That they also tried to teach priesthood order in administering to the sick is shown in Angus’s refusal to ask President Lorenzo Snow to administer to someone; he told those making the request that President Snow should not indulge in an activity that “thousands of strong Elders are able to do” (Journal, 25 November 1900).

[33] Journal, 2 June 1892. For information on changing attitudes toward the Word of Wisdom, see Paul H. Peterson, “An Historical Analysis of the Word of Wisdom” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1972).

[34] Davis Bitton, “These Licentious Days: Dancing among the Mormons,” Sunstone 2 (Spring 1977): 18–19.

[35] Salt Lake Historical Record Book, 1876–1880, 26 March, 1879, 240. LDS Church Archives.

[36] Journal, 24 February 1894.

[37] Bitton, “Licentious Days,” 17.

[38] For excellent information on kinship in the Church, see D. Michael Quinn, “The Mormon Hierarchy, 1832–1932: An American Elite” (Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 1976).

[39] George Q. Cannon to Angus M. Cannon, 15 December 1880, Letterbooks.

[40] George Q. Cannon to Angus M. Cannon, 21 January 1882, Letterbooks.

[41] Journal, 10 July 1886.

[42] Angus M. Cannon to John Taylor, 25 May 1887, Letterbooks.

[43] Cannon to Taylor, 17 February 1887, Letterbooks.

[44] Cannon to Taylor, 29 March 1887, Letterbooks.

[45] Cannon to Taylor, 3 May 1887, Letterbooks.

[46] Cannon to Taylor, 3 June 1887, Letterbooks.

[47] Journal, 21 February 1889.

[48] Journal, 22 February 1889.

[49] Journal, 2 June 1889.

[50] Journal, 17 April 1890.

[51] Journal, 11 May 1891.

[52] Journal, 1 October 1891.

[53] Journal, 6 April 1892.

[54] Journal, 15 February 1899.

[55] Journal, 19 February 1899.

[56] A. Glen Humphreys, “Missionaries to the Saints,” BYU Studies 17 (Autumn 1976): 88–100.

[57] Home Missionary Meeting, 28 August 1878, 189.

[58] Humphreys, “Missionaries to the Saints,” 88–100. Salt Lake Stake Minutes, 1876–1880, 8 October 1877, 88, LDS Church Archives; hereafter referred to as SLS Minutes, 1876–1880.

[59] SLS Minutes, 1876–1880, 92, 181, 226, 232.

[60] Woman’s Exponent, 1 November 1878. For more information on women and the priesthood as well as administering to the sick, see Linda K. Newell, “A Gift Given, A Gift Taken: Washing, Anointing and Blessing the Sick among Mormon Women,” Sunstone 6 (Sept.–Oct. 1981): 16–25.

[61] SLS Minutes, 1876–1880, 138, 181, 194, 202, 263, 282.

[62] SLS Minutes, Home Missionary Meeting, 29 October 1879.

[63] Several members of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History at Brigham Young University have completed excellent studies on various aspects of LDS institutional history. Under the skilled direction of Leonard J. Arrington, many fine studies on priesthood quorums, the office of bishop, etc., have been completed. Most useful in connection with this study is the work of William G. Hartley. Although his work today has been only indirectly related to the stake in the Church, much of his work us of value on this subject. Of special worth are the following studies by Hartley:

“An Historical Look at the Relationship between Melchizedek Priesthood Quorums and Wards and Stakes,” unpublished paper.

“The Priesthood Reorganization of 1877: Brigham Young’s Last Achievement,” BYU Studies 20 (Fall 1979): 3–36.

William Hartley is currently engaged in a study of stakes in the period of Angus Cannon’s administration. His projected title is “When Stakes Reached Their Full Flower, 1877–1904.”

[64] Hartley, “Priesthood Reorganization,” 5.

[65] Hartley, “Priesthood Reorganization,” 27.

[66] Hartley, “Priesthood Reorganization,” 20–21.

[67] Hartley, “Priesthood Reorganization,” 21–22.

[68] Angus M. Cannon to John Taylor, 29 March 1887, Letterbooks.

[69] Cannon to Taylor, 31 May 1887; Angus M. Cannon to George Q. Cannon, 15 July 1887, Letterbooks.

[70] Journal, 8 February 1904.

[71] Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, LDS Church Archives, 2 April 1904, 10–11; Joseph Fielding Smith, Essentials in Church History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1963), 713; Salt Lake Herald, 29 March 1904.

[72] Journal, 19 May 1904.

[73] Copy of patriarchal blessing in possession of author. Original is in LDS Church Archives.

[74] Journal, 5 December 1906.

[75] Journal, 14 August 1910.

[76] Treasury, 224–25. While it was not unusual to marry sisters, marrying two at once, the first time around was indeed unusual.

[77] Treasury, 226.

[78] Journal, 6 December 1901.

[79] Journal, 1 November 1903.

[80] Journal, 10 June 1904.

[81] Journal, 4 June 1885. His “prison” journals are located in Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Hereafter such journals will be referred to as Journal, BYU.

[82] Treasury, 220–23.

[83] Treasury, 227–29.

[84] Barbara Hayward, “The Election of Martha Hughes Cannon,” paper submitted to Dr. Eugene E. Campbell, November 1977, Brigham Young University, 4. Copy in possession of author.

[85] The statement that Mattie considered Angus as “handsome, magnetic, with a gift for language,” was made by their daughter Jean Bickmore White, “Martha H. Cannon,” Sister Saints, ed. Vicki Burgess-Olson (Provo, UT: BYU Press, 1978), 293–388. It should be noted that Martha was one of the first LDS women medical doctors. For additional information on early LDS women in medicine, see also articles in Sister Saints on Dr. Romania Pratt Penrose and Dr. Ellis Reynolds Shipp.

[86] Angus M. Cannon to Judge H. McNalley, 19 December 1896, Letterbooks.

[87] Journal, 14 February 1889.

[88] Journal, 7 February 1902.

[89] White, “Martha Cannon,” 392–95.

[90] Treasury, 234–36.

[91] Treasury, 237.

[92] Journal, 23 February 1907.

[93] Journal, 26 August 1886.

[94] Journal, 24 November 1886.

[95] Journal, 11 December 1886.

[96] Treasury, 210–11. For a more complete account of the trials, see Whitney, History of Utah, 3:334–39, 357–58, 363–72. For an insightful account of Mormons who chose not to go to prison see James B. Allen, “Good Guys vs. Good Guys: Rudger Clawson, John Sharp, and Civil Disobedience in Nineteenth-century Utah,” Utah Historical Quarterly (Spring 1980), 148–74. For an interesting study of prison experiences of Mormon polygamists, see Melvin L. Bashore, “Life behind Bars: Mormon Cohabs of the 1880’s,” Utah Historical Quarterly (Winter 1979), 22–41.

[97] Journal, 8 May 1885, BYU.

[98] Journal, 9 May 1885, BYU.

[99] This list of items read by Angus during his prison term was compiled from a survey of journal entries made while he was in prison.

[100] Journal, 12 August 1885, BYU.

[101] Journal, 6 August 1885, BYU.

[102] Journal, 14 December 1885, BYU.

[103] Journal, 7 January 1888. For more information on this incident, see Donald Q. Cannon, “Angus M. Cannon and David Whitmer: A Comment on History and Historical Method,” BYU Studies 20 (Spring 1980): 297–99.

[104] Journal, 12 October 1905, Angus M. Cannon Papers. Biographical and autobiographical notes, reel 12, box 11, folder 6, LDS Church Archives.

[105] Journal, 16 April 1906.