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Benjamin Bartlett Cannon journal and family history

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.01958

Scope and Contents

A 1999 transcript of a journal, family history, and correspondence comprises the Benjamin Bartlett Cannon Journal and Family History, 1838-1846, 1924, 1999 [bulk 1846]. The transcript of Cannon’s 1846 journal documents his journey by riverboat from Hamilton County, Tennessee, to Rusk, Cherokee County, Texas. Cannon describes his interactions with his travel companions, weather conditions, cultivatable land, and the prices of various food items. Furthermore, he discusses visiting Shreveport, Louisiana, and Dallas, Texas. A detailed family history, an index of people mentioned in the journal, and transcripts of correspondence between Cannon family members dating to 1838 and 1924 are included.


  • Creation: 1838 - 1846
  • Creation: 1924
  • Creation: 1999
  • Creation: Majority of material found within [ 1946]


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no use restrictions on this collection. Publisher is responsible for complying with copyright law.

Biographical Note

Benjamin Bartlett Cannon was born in Jefferson County, Tennessee, on March 13, 1801. The son of Zachariah and Elizabeth Edgar Cannon, Cannon was educated as a lawyer in Knox County. On April 3, 1828, Cannon married Eliza Tunnell, the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Johnson Tunnell. The couple settled in Dallas, Tennessee, located in Hamilton County, where Cannon worked as an attorney, and as the Surveyor of the County from 1830 to 1837, and Clerk of the Circuit Court from 1838 to 1847.

From 1836 to 1837, Cannon served as Captain of a Company of the Tennessee Mounted Militia during the Sabine and Cherokee wars. He also served under General Nathaniel Smith as a Captain and U.S. Commissioner during the “Trail of Tears,” the forcible relocation of many Native American nations.

Shortly after Texas entered statehood, Cannon traveled to Texas to find arable land he could purchase. A year later, he, his wife, and eight children left for Rusk, Cherokee County, Texas. Embarking by boat in April 1847, they arrived approximately two months later. Cannon’s wife, Eliza, died on June 9, shortly after their arrival. On December 13, 1848, Cannon married his second wife, Charlotte Miller.

Cannon once again became involved in the socio-political conflicts in the region and began organizing a regiment to fight in the Mexican War. He was elected to serve in the Fourth and Fifth Texas legislatures representing Cherokee County. Although he still practiced law, he also operated a ferryboat on the Neches River and surveyed the land around Rusk.

As a member of Texas Masons, Cannon was appointed Grand Master of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of Texas. He continued to be involved in the Texas Masons until his death on September 8, 1859. He is buried alongside Eliza Tunnell Cannon in Rusk.


Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. Cannon, Benjamin Bartlett, (accessed October 8, 2010).

Armstrong, Zella. The History of Hamilton County and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Chattanooga: Lookout Pub. Co., 1940.


0.25 inches

Language of Materials



This collection contains transcripts of Benjamin Bartlett Cannon's travel journal, as well as family history and correspondence.

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Processing Information

This collection contains unprocessed materials.

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.

Benjamin Bartlett Cannon Journal and Family History, 1838-1846, 1924, 1999 [bulk 1846]
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Part of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History Repository

2300 Red River Street
Austin TX 78712