David H. Cannon Story


(The following incident was related by Josephine C. Jones.)

"In 1856, when my father, David Henry Cannon, was eighteen years of age, he was called on a mission to California, to join his brother, George Q. Cannon, and assist him in the publication of the Hawaiian Book of Mormon. He walked almost the entire distance from Salt Lake City to San Francisco, following a blazed trail. It took sixty days to make the trip.

"When the publication of the Book of Mormon was completed and word reached them that Johnston's Army was coming to Utah, father was released to return home. Through the efforts of his brother, George Q. Cannon he secured a wagon and two span of mules and joined a company who was leaving San Bernardino for Utah. He took with him Aunt Elizabeth Cannon, wife of his brother, George and her baby son, John Q. Cannon.

"One night the little company was camped on the dreary desert. They staked their teams out on the grass and retired for the night. The next morning my father found his mules were gone. He followed their tracks all day long, feeling sure they were being driven away, as they were always out of sight. Just before dark he reached the top of the black hill and looked down into the valley where now stands the St. George Temple, and there he saw an Indian camp. He now knew the mules had been stolen by the Indians. With a prayer in his heart he approached the village where he was met by `Indian Braves' who bound him and placed him in a tepee as a prisoner. In the morning he asked to see the chief, as he wanted his mules. They denied having his mules and pretended not to understand his demand to see the chief. Not being daunted by the Indians' behavior, he continued his demands to see the chief and at last was taken before Toshob, the Chief of the Shebits. At this time the Mormon men wore their hair in what we would now call a long bob cut. While in California my father had his hair shingled. He still demanded of Chief Toshob his mules, and told him that he was a Mormon, that he had a squaw and a little boy out on the desert and must take them to their home in Salt Lake City. Chief Toshob said, "You no Mormon." My father insisted that he was a Mormon. The chief said, "No. Mormons wear heap long hair." Father explained he had his hair shingled in California. 

David H. Cannon baptizing the Paiutes

The chief slowly approached and when very near made a movement as quick as lightning and grabbed the front of my father's shirt, ripping it open, exposing his LDS garments. The old chief gave one piercing glance, then closed the shirt and said, "Yes, heap good Mormon. Long time ago my people wear all-a-same clothes. Heap good Mormon." The braves were then addressed and while some of them released the prisoner's hands, others brought his mules. After learning the chief's name and tribe, father returned to the company, and their journey was resumed.

"After some years, missionaries to the Indian tribes in Arizona brought a group of Indian converts to be baptized. Erastus Snow, President of the Dixie Mission, requested my father to do the baptizing. Father went out to meet these Lamanites, as he always called them, and found one of them to be the man who had saved his life--Toshob, Chief of the Shebits. He had grown old and feeble, but remembered well the meeting with my father many years before. Father, having learning the Indian language while on a mission among the Moquis, conversed freely with Toshob. It was a great joy to him to know he was to be baptized by father."




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