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Brigham Young correspondence with Church leaders, 1858-1871

 Sub-Series — Box: 15
Identifier: Vault MSS 792 Series 3 Sub-Series 7 Sub-Series 3

Scope and Contents

Contains correspondence between Brigham Young and George Q. Cannon, George A. Smith, and Daniel H. Wells. Letters include discussion of the Army's presence in Utah, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and other matters. Materials date between 1858 and 1871.


  • Majority of material found within 1858-1871


Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Kane family papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical History

George Q. Cannon (1827-1901) worked as the Utah Territory Delegate to the United States House of Representative for several years. He also served as a missionary, mission president, and apostle for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

George Q. Cannon was born in Liverpool, England, on January 11, 1827. He was the oldest child of George and Ann Quayle Cannon. The Cannon family sailed to the United States in 1842 after being converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and baptized by John Taylor, the husband of George's aunt, Leonora Cannon. Shortly after arriving in Nauvoo, Illinois, George Cannon lost both of his parents. He was raised in John and Leonora Taylor's home and worked as a printer's apprentice.

George Cannon moved west to Utah with the Taylor family, arriving in 1847. Soon after their arrival, George served a mission first in California, and then to the Sandwich Islands, where he mastered the Hawaiian language. He later served as mission president over the California/Oregon, Eastern States, and European missions. He was also commissioned by the church to do work on several different newspapers. In addition, George Cannon was ordained an apostle for the Church in 1859.

In 1862, George Cannon was elected to represent the Utah Territory in the United States Congress. He only served one term in this capacity but in 1872 returned to Washington, D.C., as the Utah Delegate to Congress. He remained a prominent figure in Utah's plea for statehood and as a representative for the church to the federal government for ten years. He left his seat in Congress following the Edmunds Act, which limited the rights of Utah's polygamists. George Cannon was forced into seclusion until 1888 when he surrendered himself and consequently served nearly six months imprisonment in the Utah State Penitentiary for cohabitation.

George Cannon's first (and only legal) marriage was to Elizabeth Hoagland Cannon just following his first mission for the church. She bore him eleven children, six of whom reached adulthood. In 1858, George Cannon took his second wife, Sarah Jane Jenne Cannon, who raised seven children, one of which was adopted. His third wife, Eliza L. Tenney Cannon, had three sons. George Cannon married Martha Telle Cannon in 1868, and eventually nine children came of their union. George Cannon's fifth wife, Emily Hoagland Little Cannon, was sister to Elizabeth Hoagland Cannon. Emily was a widow, and Elizabeth encouraged the match due to concern over her sister's welfare. George Cannon and Emily Hoagland had no children together. Caroline Young Croxall Cannon became George Cannon's sixth and last wife nearly three years after Elizabeth's death. She was a daughter of Brigham Young, and George Cannon's only legal wife during the time they were married. George Cannon adopted her five children from a previous marriage, and together they raised four more children. In all, George Cannon reared thirty-five children (seven of which were adopted), but forty-three are sealed to him eternally.

In 1880, George Cannon became the first counselor in the first presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints under John Taylor. He also served as first counselor under the presidencies of Wilford Woodruff and Lorenzo Snow before his death in 1901, at age seventy-four.

Biographical History

George A. Smith (1817-1875) was an early leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and later the First Presidency, as well as Church Historian.

George Albert Smith (commonly known as George A. Smith to avoid confusion with his grandson of the same name) was born in Potsdam, New York on June 26, 1817 to John Smith and Clarissa Lyman. He was a member of Zions Camp, a group intended to bring aid to suffering members of the Church in Missouri, in 1834. Smith was ordained a Seventy on March 1, 1835 by Joseph Smith, Jr. He was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 26, 1839 at the age of 21. Smith married Bathsheba Wilson Bigler on July 25, 1841. He led a company to establish a colony near the Little Salt Lake in Iron County, arriving on January 13, 1851. In 1868, Smith was called as First Counselor in the First Presidency. He served in this position until his death in Salt Lake City on September 1, 1875.

Biographical History

Daniel H. Wells (1814-1891) was an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a politician, best know as the third mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Daniel Hanmer Wells was born in Trenton, New York on October 27, 1814 to Daniel Wells and Catherine Chapin. After his father's death in 1826, he moved with his mother and younger sister, Catherine C. Wells, to Commerce (later Nauvoo), Illinios. He married Eliza Rebecca Robison on March 9, 1837. Wells was always friendly towards the Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo, though he was not baptized until August 9, 1846. He migrated to Salt Lake City in 1848, a member of the Brigham Young poineer company. He became the attorney general for the provisional state of Deseret in 1849, and in 1851, a member of the legislative council. Wells was ordained an apostle and appointed second counselor in the First Presidency by Brigham Young on January 4, 1857. Wells served twice as president of the European Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, first from 1864 to 1865, and again from 1884-1887. He passed away on March 24, 1891 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Biographical History

Brigham Young (1801-1877) was a Mormon ecclesiastical leader and politician in Utah.

Brigham Young was born on June 1, 1801 in Witingham, Vermont. He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1832, and moved to Kirtland, Ohio. He followed the migration of the church from Ohio to Missouri to Nauvoo, Illinois. In February 1846 he led the Mormon exodus to the West, and was sustained as the second president of the Church on December 27, 1847. Arriving in Utah he settled in Salt Lake City, and in 1849 was appointed as governor of Utah Territory. Young passed away on August 29, 1877 in Salt Lake City, Utah.


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