There was a "gathering of the Cannon clan on the Isle of Man" recently to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the introduction of the gospel to their forebears on the tiny island in the Irish Sea.
More than 100 Church members, including Elder George I. Cannon of the Seventy, traveled to the isle in mid-September with an excursion put together by the George Cannon Family Association to dedicate a plaque at Cooilshellagh, the Cannon family farm that dates back to 1689."This was something we had planned for more than three years," explained Russell A. Cannon, family association president and high priest in the Alta View 6th Ward, Sandy Utah Alta View Stake. "I went over three years ago for the Church's sesquicentennial in Great Britain. At that time, we dedicated plaques on the George Cannon and Anne Quayle homes in Peel on the Isle of Man, and donated a bench to Peel from the George Cannon Family Association. We determined then it would be a nice thing to put a plaque at Cooilshellagh and began making arrangements to do so."
It was on Sept. 16, 1840, when Elder John Taylor arrived at Douglas on the Isle of Man with Elder Hiram Clark and William Mitchell. The three traveled from Liverpool, England, after Elder Taylor felt it was time to take the gospel to the Manx people.
Their message was well-received, though much opposition was encountered by the missionaries. By Christmas day 1840 there were about 40 members in Douglas, and a branch was organized there.
Within another two months, the branch had grown to 70 people. Among those early members were the Cowley, Cannon, Callister and Quayle families. George Cannon and his wife, Ann Quayle, with their family subsequently went to North America to be with other Church members in 1842. Their son, George Q. Cannon, later served in the First Presidency as a counselor to four Church presidents.
During the recent trip, Elder George I. Cannon dedicated the plaque at Cooilshellagh during a ceremony that included local Church members and Michael David Cannan, Manx descendant of the family who is a member of the island's House of Keys and former treasury minister.
The Cannan spelling was altered to Cannon by the American branch of the family soon after members arrived in the United States.
"It was a delightful gathering of the Cannon clan on the Isle of Man," quipped Elder Cannon. "It was great to tie it in with the introduction of the gospel to the Isle of man 150 years ago. Many fine people in the Church have come from that - the Callisters, Cowleys, Cannons, Quayles, Kellys, Cains. There were a lot of people in those early years who accepted the gospel."
The Isle of Man is about 12 miles wide by 40 miles long. Its population is roughly 70,000, but swells to 250,000 in the summers with vacationers. During Victorian times, it was one of the most popular places for Britons to vacation. It is now famous for international car and motorcycle rallies. Its government, the Tynwald, was established in 979 A.D. and is said to be the oldest democratic assemblage in the world.