Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sarah Cannon, Pioneer Wife

Lena Wallace's friendship quilt has blocks made by twenty-four of Lena's friends.  My plan is to present a little bio of each friend in a blog post one week and the following week to share blocks inspired by the originals.  So, here is Lena's friend Sarah.

Sarah Cannon ~ Cactus Basket

 Sarah Sanders was born in Polk County, Oregon on 31st August 1864.  Sarah was the youngest of six children.  Her parents Erial Sanders and Amanda Goff were originally from Kentucky in the Eastern United States.  Erial and Amanda felt the lure of the west and followed the Oregon Trail, crossing the Rocky Mountains in a covered wagon drawn by oxen.  The journey would have taken the Sanders five to six months and needed to be timed to get through the mountain passes before the winter snows.

The Sanders family didn’t settle in a single location.  The census of 1870 found the family in Montana; in 1880 they had moved to Washington.

In 1884 at the age of nineteen Sarah married Thomas Jackson Cannon.  Thomas was eight years older than Sarah and was an ordained minister with a passion for bringing the Gospel to the sparsely populated frontier.  In 1888 the Cannons with two year old Edward and Baby Ettie moved to the Entiat Valley in Chelan County, Washington. Thomas and Sarah and their children were the first white settlers in Entiat.  Thomas Cannon built a sawmill to support his family and held worship services in the mill building.  He was a key contributor to peaceful relations between the white settlers and the native Indian population.

Sarah Cannon’s third child Dema was the first white child born in the Entiat Valley.  There was no medical doctor to call on for Sarah’s confinement; there was still no doctor when young Edward developed pneumonia and died as a consequence.   Sarah and Thomas had nine children in total; four daughters and two sons lived to adulthood.

After living in Entiat for fifteen years the family moved to California, then returned to Washington and settled in Chelan County.  Thomas worked as a chaplain in the State Penitentiary.  A severe attack of influenza left him in poor health and Thomas Cannon died in 1925 at the age of 65.

Sarah continued to live in the home she now owned in Malaga.  Life was not a bed of roses.  Her son Lee Jackson was killed in a trucking accident while he was working in England in July 1945 leaving a wife and a young daughter.  Sarah’s daughter Nola was widowed at the age of 25 and her daughter Dema was widowed at 30.

Sarah Cannon lived to the age of 72 and died on 11th  December 1936, four months before the quilt was completed.   Lena Wallace moved to Malaga in 1934 so Sarah was probably one of Lena's first friends. This block was possibly one of the first blocks Lena exchanged to make her quilt.


  1. Looking forward to the next block. Thank you.

  2. You are very welcome. I'm looking forward to it too.


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