Editors Note: This review was written by Almon Cannon's grandson Mike Shoffner Cannon Sr. in the late 1960's, 67-69.
Since Almon Cannon was born in 1812 and died in 1896 and I was born in 1891 - He was 79 years old when I was born. This left me only five years to live with him before his death. My grandmother Ellender Cannon who also lived with our family until her death in 1899, is much clearer in my memory since I was eight years old when she died.
Some of the very early experiences which I had with my grandfather were not in my memory, but were later told to me by others. This story was told to me by Mrs J.E. (Beulah) Reeves, who lived, at that time only about one half mile, across Beach Creek from our home.
She said it was August, 1894, when her first child was born, a baby girl. My grandfather brought me down to her home to see the baby. As she and grandfather Cannon were looking at the baby, she said I spoke up and said "I want to see the baby". They realized then that the cradle was alittle too high for me to see into without being held up or tip toeing. So my grandfather partly lifted me up and I tip toed to look over into the cradle to see the baby. I was three years old at that time. No one would have ever suspected at that time, that I was viewing the baby girl, who was to become my wife twenty three years later - and thus the mother of my children.
My mother told me that, I seemed to be a favorite with my grandfather Almon who was my constant companion. He was retired from heavy farm work at that time, and did the chores such as feeding the hogs, shucking the corn for the mules and horses - working in the garden and cultivating a small tobacco patch, which he used for pipe tobacco. She said he taught me to do all of the things he was doing, except the heavy work.
My brother Everett was four years older than I, so my grandfather Almon had taught him to make bows and string them - also make arrows. He also taught him to make slings to throw rocks a much longer distance than you could throw one with the use of your arm only. These were the kind of slings that David must have used to kill the giant soldier Galiah. He also taught us to make sling shots using a forked staff and heavy rubber bands. Later on I became an expert in the use of the sling in throwing rocks at far distances from the top of the hills. They also came in handy in throwing rocks into the tops of high chestnut trees, when the burrows were open and the chestnuts were ready to fall out. There were many tall chestnut trees on the farm. When the land was cleared for crops, grandfather Almon and my father Taylor Cannon left many of these finest trees. The other chestnut trees were cut into 10 foot lengths, and spilt into rails for building rail fences. Chestnut rails would last many years without deteriotating or rotting away.
However, I do remember a few things about my grandfather Cannon. I remember that he wore a beard and whiskers - such as many men are beginning to make the custom and style today. I remember that he was a gentle man, a kind man, devoted to us children and he never got impatient with us. I remember that he took an interest in me and he was my pal. He taught me to work with him. He even taught me how to find the large green worms on his tobacco plants and help him to kill them. I helped him feed pumpkins to the hogs. I remember his death, which was a sad day for me, and for all the family. I remember going to the country church for his funeral with our family. I remember the day quite well. It was winter and cold and the snow and sleet was coming down, as they carried him from the church to the grave. Even at my young age, I knew that I had suffered a great loss and I would never see him again.
My grandmother, Ellender Cannon, was a great help to my mother in caring for her children. Especially while they were babies and until they learned to care for themselves. She took the place of a trained nurse, and often acted as a doctor. I remember my father Taylor Cannon telling me that my grandmother saved my life shortly after I was born. When I asked him how this happened, this is what he told me. "Your mother wanted you, her baby, to be born at her mothers home, at the old Moore's home, across the river about five miles from our home. I had been over to see you and your mother on Sunday, the day after you were born, but I didn't think either of you looked too well, so when I finished my work at about 6pm Tuesday, something told me that I ought to go back to the Moore's home and see how you and your mother were getting along. When I arrived there I found your mother somewhat better, but they told me that the baby had "Bold Hives"; too sick to cry and would not eat. I told your mother that if I left you there you might not make it through the night, and that I was going to wrap you in a warm blanket and take you home with me so my mother could doctor you. When I arrived home with you, my mother saw that she would have to work fast to keep you alive. She ordered me to heat a pot of water and she put you in a warm bath, as hot as a baby could stand and kept you there for almost an hour. Then she took you out, dried you off, and rubbed your chest and body in a rubbing ointment she had used on her children. Then she wrapped you up again in warm blankets. Before midnight you were kicking around and trying to cry, and my mother fixed some baby food and fed you small bits of it with a spoon. By morning you seemed out of danger and I do believe that my mother saved your life".
I do give my grandmother, Ellender Cannon full credit for her part in helping to save my life, but I also give my father full credit for the part he played in getting me to his mother in time for her to do her work in bringing me back to good health. This is why I say that my grandmother Cannon was a great help to my mother in the health and care of her children. We all loved her.
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Earliest Cannon History-The Family Of William Cannon
Memoirs of Mike Shoffner Cannon Sr. recounting the life of his father Taylor Cannon. Very interesting piece for anyone interested in history during the Civil War and family life during that era. Just added info on Mary S. Cannon and life in the early 1900's.
(New) Memoirs of Mike Shoffner Cannon Jr. recounting his recollections of his grandfathers Zachary Taylor Cannon and J. Edna Reaves.firstname.lastname@example.org