Pioneer, Polygamist, Politician: The Life of Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon

Pioneer, Polygamist, Politician: The Life of Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon

by Mari Grana


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A riveting look at an untold chapter of Western history
Pioneer, Polygamist, Politician tells the fascinating story of Martha Hughes Cannon, the first woman elected to the Utah state senate—in 1896. She was a polygamist wife, a practicing physician, and an astute and pioneering politician. In compelling prose, author Mari Graña traces Cannon’s life from her birth in Wales to her emigration to Utah with her family in 1861, her career as a physician, her marriage, her exile in England, her subsequent return, and her election to the Utah state senate. Her husband was the Republican candidate she, a Democrat, defeated in that historic election.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780762752720
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 09/01/2009
Edition description: First
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.08(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.51(d)

About the Author

Mari Graña is the author of Pioneer Doctor: The Story of a Woman’s Work (TwoDot), a biographical story of her grandmother, pioneering physician Mary Babcock Atwater; and a book about New Mexico regional history, Begoso Cabin, which won the 2000 Willa Cather Award from Women Writing the West.  

Read an Excerpt

From the opening

Tension between Angus Munn Cannon and his polygamous wife, Martha, must have been great on the night of November 3, 1896, as they waited to learn the results of the election for the first legislature of the new state of Utah. By the next morning it was clear that Elder Angus Munn Cannon had suffered an embarrassing loss. Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon was elected the first woman state senator in the United States.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Chapter 1 1

Chapter 2 9

Chapter 3 19

Chapter 4 31

Chapter 5 41

Chapter 6 51

Chapter 7 60

Chapter 8 71

Chapter 9 77

Chapter 10 85

Chapter 11 90

Chapter 12 105

Chapter 13 120

Chapter 14 129

Chronology of Events 145

Notes 148

Bibliography 164

Index 172

About the Author 180

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Pioneer, Polygamist, Politician: The Life of Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Thankyou" relaxes a bit
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What? I wanna join.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looks straight at Blood. "Stop talking about me behind my back. And he's not innocent. No one's innocent." Turns and exits.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Ill go advertise"
RPackham More than 1 year ago
For many who are somewhat familiar with 19th century Utah and the Mormon practice of polygamy during that time, it is easy to fall into a lop-sided view of that strange social phenomenon, whether one is Mormon, non-Mormon or ex-Mormon. One tends to see it as a form of bondage for women, keeping women at home, pregnant, and subservient. This biography opens a window on another side, by portraying the life of a polygamous wife who was a mover and shaker among the Utah Mormons, who was a pioneer in every sense of the word. Author Mari Graña has combed original sources and put together a readable and yet scholarly portrait of this remarkable Utah woman. As an experienced author and authority on Western history, especially the stories of frontier women, she was handicapped somewhat by Martha Cannon's instructions to destroy her papers at her death. Nevertheless, the author puts to good use the materials she had available. Dr. Cannon's personality and independence come forth on almost every page, from her decision to enter into a polygamous marriage, her desire to study medicine, her crucial role in promoting public health in Utah, to her remarkable feat of defeating her own husband in getting elected to the Utah state senate, the first woman in the United States to become a state senator. For those unfamiliar with Mormon or Utah history (which in the 19th century was one and the same) Graña gives a balanced background picture of the society in which Cannon lived, not an easy feat for a non-Mormon author. This excellent biography should be on the shelf of anyone interested in Mormon history, polygamy, Western history, or early feminism.