The Journal of Mormon History, Spring 2009 (35:2), Part 2

By July 29, 2009

Continued from Part 1.

The next article, “The Tragic Matter of Louie Wells and John Q. Cannon” by Kenneth Cannon discusses a rather messy series of incidents. Louie Wells, the talented daughter of Emmeline B. and Daniel H. Wells was the sister-in-law of John Q. Cannon, son of George Q. Cannon. John was married to Louis’ sister Annie and all three lived under one roof for a time.  After a number of pages of biographical information on Louis and John, Cannon launches into his story.  The Salt Lake Tribune alleged that John and Louis had been married polygamously in 1884 and further alleged that George Q. had sent Louis’ suitor on a mission to clear the way.  Faced with a suit, the Tribune published a weak retraction. This touched off a newspaper fight which led to John Q. assaulting the author of the offending article.  In fact, Louis’ suitor had been recently called on a mission, but there was no evidence of George Q.’s having rigged it or of a plural marriage between John Q. and Louis.  Then, soon after, a bombshell, John Q. confessed being guilty of adultery.  Ken Cannon goes on to discuss how John Q. might have confessed to cover up an embezzlement. He goes through the legal proceedings against John Q. as he is charged with polygamy. Ken chronicles how the tensions between the Wells and Cannon families created a rift in the Quorum of Twelve that may have played a pivotal role in delaying the reogranization of the First Presidency.  Cannon follows Louis to her death in California during John Q.’s trial and through to Cannon’s death years later.

The final article, “Handcarts Going East” by Karen Ann Griggs chronicles the lesser known handcart trek east. In the wake of the Willie and Martin handcart disaster, public sentiment turned against handcarts. In an attempt to convince people that handcarts were a good method of travel, Brigham Young organized a group of outgoing missionaries to go East by handcart. Griggs describes the journey and provides an appendix at the end with the names of those that went on this mission, I counted 71 on the list and many of these names have biographical information.

Book Reviews

Leo Lyman gives a generally positive review of the Massacre at Mountain Meadows book and says that, “This book should stand as a testament to the concerted effort of current Church leaders through some of their best historians to provide a definitive study of the tragic events which have for so long continued to detract from the Church’s generally positive image.”

Andrea Radke-Moss gives a favorable review of Lola Van Wagenen’s dissertation Sister-Wives and Suffragists: Polygamy and the Politics of Woman Suffrage, 1870-1896, published by the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute in 2003.

Michael Paulos calls Matt Godfrey’s Religion, Politics, and Sugar a groundbreaking book and that “any serious student of Mormon history at the turn of the twentieth century and during the Progressive era must have a copy of this book.”

C. Brid Nicholson reviews Dorothy Allred Solomon’s The Sisterhood: Inside the Lives of Mormon Women.

Darrell E. Jones gives a good review to Gregory Franzwa’s The Mormon Trail Revisited.  This handy book helps anyone interested in the Mormon Trail follow the route giving precise directions and distances.

Book Notices

I will gloss over these book notices except for one Guy L. Dorius, Craig K. Manscill, and Craig James Ostler, eds. Ohio and Upper Canada. Vol. 6 in Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History.  I notice it because I believe it’s now out of print. So…so much for the notice…

I’ll be looking forward to the newest issue. Look for a review here at JI soon after it hits the mailbox.


  1. Thanks for the review, Jared. This is helpful.

    Comment by Christopher — July 29, 2009 @ 9:20 am

  2. Thanks Chris, I hope so.

    Comment by Jared T. — July 29, 2009 @ 10:46 am

  3. Indeed, this is helpful. Thanks Jared.

    Comment by David G. — July 29, 2009 @ 10:56 am

  4. In many ways, the Cannon piece was tragic. And while an important look at a previously unpublished aspect of our history, on a human level I found the conclusion quite moving.

    Comment by J. Stapley — July 29, 2009 @ 10:58 am

  5. Very useful. Thanks.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — July 29, 2009 @ 12:19 pm


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