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Cannon, John Robert

Submitted by Julie Russell

Here's what I've come up with so far for the Cannon families of Neshoba County. I have more information which I will try to share soon. Also photos of several of the players.

This Cannon family was one of the early families in Neshoba County, Mississippi. My Great grandmother, Mary Ann Delilah Cannon, married Milford Raymond Jones, March 1916, in Neshoba County. Milford was born in Philadelphia and Delilah in the Coldwater Community on the edge of Philadelphia. Delilah was the daughter of John Robert Cannon and Margot Retha Magnolia Martha Tullos. John Robert (Robert or J.R.) was born in Coldwater Community and Retha in Philadelphia. The Tullos family is another of Neshoba's first families. I will discuss them in another chapter. J.R. was the son of Columbus Washington Cannon, born in Philadelphia, and his first wife, Mary Ann Delilah Pool, born in Kemper County, Mississippi. Columbus, called "Uncle Bum," was the son of Sterling Francis Cannon and Arraminta D. Earnest, from Alabama. Both died in Philadelphia. That is where the story of Neshoba Cannons begins. The Cannon family moved to Neshoba County probably ten or so years after the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. There are several theories about how the Cannons got from Ireland to Mississippi by way of the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama, or Kentucky, but for this discussion, I will just start with the Alabama to Mississippi move.

Many of the mysteries surrounding how the Cannons came to be in Neshoba County have been researched and mulled over many times. My cousin, Dr. Harvey W. Cannon, Jr., whom I met when I was about sixteen years old, told me of the document he had placed in the Neshoba Library and challenged me to take up where he left off and try to solve some of those mysteries. I'm still working on that challenge but it has taken me great places and I've met some wonderful relatives. Besides cousin Harvey, I am also indebted to Tim Croswell, for sharing with me his research. Imagene Conro, in Texas, has also done some great research and published in a hard bound book her findings. This is just a brief overview of what all of us have shared, researched, and is by no means finished. In family lore, it is said many of the Cannons stood over six feet tall and had sandy or reddish hair. This certainly holds true today with several of those family members still holding the Cannon name.
There is much speculation that Stirling was half Choctaw. Some believe his fathers name was William Cannon; his mother's Selah, likely a Choctaw. (Maiden name unknown) Others think these people were his aunt and uncle. Still searching for answers. There is in possession of a family member a small tin-type photo of Stirling with three daughters in which he is wearing obvious Choctaw garb.

Stirling was a farmer in Kemper County, next to his in-laws, Isham and Elizabeth Earnest. Interestingly, Isham was a hatter, and late in his life was listed as "insane" with Elizabeth listed as head of house. By this time all of them had moved their farms to Neshoba County. By 1850, Stirling and Ara had a fairly good farm as listed in the agricultural census. They had 100 acres, 25 of which was improved. They listed 100 pigs, cows, and crops including sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, beans and corn. In 1860, it is shown they added sheep, but only had 20 pigs. They also were producing wool and cotton, and had four oxen.

In 1862, Stirling joined the Neshoba Dixies; or Company E of the 25th Mississippi Infantry, headquarters in Columbus. He got sick that winter and was back and forth between duty and home; usually listed as absent-sick when gone, but listed absent-without leave when he died in August 1863. Other Cannon cousins were listed as deserted near Kemper County. Guess home had a great pull. Shortly before he died in August 1863, Sterling sold his 80 acres for $225 to a John J. Nordin, on June 4, 1863 (or April 6, 1863). This was the northern half of the northwest quarter of section 14, township 10, range 11 in Neshoba County. This land is due north of the present day fairgrounds.

Three sons all served with the CSA: Wiley Jackson (CSA, Perrin's 11th Volunteer Regiment, MS State Cavalry), John Jay (CSA, Company C, 8th MS Cavalry), and Columbus Washington. Columbus changed his birth date to make himself two years older and joined the same regiment as his brother Wiley.

Not much is known about Stirlings' daughter Mary, born in 1840 in Kemper County. His second daughter, Louisa, however, was born in 1842 in Neshoba County. She later married Robert Bell Harrison, about whom another chapter will need to be written. See the great history written by cousin Jim Harrison on the website. Of note here is a book written by Steven Stubbs called Duty, Honor, Valor: The Story of the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. It is an excellent history. Robert and his brothers Hiram Perry and Wayne Crockett are included as well as Ara Earnest's brother, John with interesting information about what they did and where they served. For example Robert had his arm shattered by a minie' ball and it was later amputated. There is a physical description of John. It is a great book.

Stirling and Ara are buried with native stone markers in the Barrett Crossing Cemetery, on the bank of the Pearl River, surrounded by the Choctaw Reservation. Near here, about 80 acres was deeded to Ara in 1870.

Stirling and Ara's other children were: Sarah Amanda, Neal Brooks, Charles Henry, and Amanda F. I have not yet found an explanation to the similarities in the girls names. It appears one would have died at a young age and the next was given the name Amanda. I am still searching.

Columbus married Delilah Poole in December 1865. She died at age 42 and after this he married Vira Woodward, and later Mattie Alford. All three ladies were from Philadelphia. Columbus, Delilah, and Mattie are all buried at Good Hope Baptist Church Cemetery. Vira is buried at Cedarlawn Cemetery.

The Neshoba Democrat ran an obituary for Columbus which stated he was one of the last surviving members of General Forrest's cavalry. This has yet to be confirmed as fact. We have found record that he enlisted with his brother, Wiley, in Perrin's battalion, the 11th, of the Mississippi State Cavalry.

Columbus and Delilah had eight children: William Francis, who married Augusta Porter (they are buried at Bloomfield Cemetery); Charles Washington, who married Tabitha Ann Mason (they are buried at Linwood Cemetery); John Robert; Mary Ann, who married Albert McNeil (they are buried at the McNeil-Martin Cemetery); Julie, who married Martin Arledge (the Arledge family has placed much research at the Neshoba library); Jim L., who married Ida Stroud; George A., who married Claudia DeWeese (Deweese family is another to write a chapter about in Neshoba County); Louise, who married Harrison DeWeese (see above note; also buried at Good Hope). Photos of several of the tombstones are included on the website from one of my research trips.

Columbus and Mattie had three sons, Caraway, who married Alda Trapp; Warren E. who died as an infant; Marshall Threefoot, who married Lucille Hembree. John Robert Cannon lived his life in the Coldwater Community near Philadelphia. He married Retha Tullos, who was the daughter of Francis Marion Tullos and Sarah Ann Matilda DeWeese (called Marion and Tildy). Retha was said to be tall and beautiful and red-headed! Her full name was Margot Retha Magnolia Martha. J.R. was also called Granddaddy Robert. They had eight children. Sylvester Stuart (1895-1961) married Ila Johnson. They had seven children and lived in Mississippi and Louisiana. Verner Zeola (1897-1979) married Jessie Dennis. They had nine children and moved to Texas. Mary Ann Delilah (1900-1973; my great grandmother) married Milford Raymond Jones. They lived between Neshoba County (Philadelphia to Deemer) and Shelby County, Tennessee (Millington). Their eight children were born in alternating places every two or three years. I've heard several possible reasons for this, some better than others. I'm still trying to get the full information from my grandmother and two of her surviving sisters.
Onie Lee (1902-1987) married Charles McCord. They had three children and lived in Mississippi, California and Arizona. Harvey Whittle, Sr. (1904-1972) married Virgie Lee Savell. They had two children, Dr. Harvey Whittle, Jr., and Billy Abb, Sr. Harvey Jr. was one of the main catalysts to my starting to do family history research. Billy made his name as 1959 Heisman Trophy winner at L.S.U.. This family moved to Louisiana.

Robert Bankston (1907-1944) married Rae Baker. They had two children. They lived in Arkansas. Venie Matilda (1931-1986) married John Franklin Keith. They had four children and stayed in Mississippi, in Anguilla. I met these two wonderful people just prior to Frank's death in 1985 at a family reunion in Sardis Lake. Ruby Estelle, the superb organizer of the family reunions, married Macon Douglas Campbell. They also stayed in Mississippi, in Southaven, and had four children.

J. R. married Nancy "Nanny" Ford after Retha died. They had no children. After meeting Harvey Cannon, Jr., I corresponded until his death a short time later. I am still trying to meet his challenge. He wanted the descendants to attempt to add to his work and strengthen family ties even though the family is spread so far apart. One child of J.R. and Retha is buried in Neshoba County, and only two stayed in Mississippi. One granddaughter returned to Neshoba County as well. Harvey wrote: " my first and second cousins, great uncles and their families, or anyone else along these 'blood lines,' is to take this material and expand on it." Hopefully, finally getting this posted to the website will encourage more additions to his work.

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If you have questions or problems with this site, email the County Coordinator. Please do not ask for specfic research on your family. I am unable to do your personal research. I do not live in Neshoba Co., MS and do not have access to additional records.