University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Benjamin Bartlett Cannon Journal and Family History, 1838-1846, 1924, 1999 [bulk 1846]

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Cannon, Benjamin Bartlett, 1801-1859.
Title: Cannon, Benjamin Bartlett, Journal and Family History
Dates: 1838-1846, 1924, 1999 [bulk 1846].
Abstract: This collection contains transcripts of Benjamin Bartlett Cannon's travel journal, as well as family history and correspondence.
Accession No.: 2000-007
Extent: 1/4 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Benjamin Bartlett Cannon was born in Jefferson County, Tennessee, on March 13, 1801. The son of Zachariah and Elizabeth Edgar Cannon, Cannon was educated as a lawyer in Knox County. On April 3, 1828, Cannon married Eliza Tunnell, the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Johnson Tunnell. The couple settled in Dallas, Tennessee, located in Hamilton County, where Cannon worked as an attorney, and as the Surveyor of the County from 1830 to 1837, and Clerk of the Circuit Court from 1838 to 1847.

From 1836 to 1837, Cannon served as Captain of a Company of the Tennessee Mounted Militia during the Sabine and Cherokee wars. He also served under General Nathaniel Smith as a Captain and U.S. Commissioner during the “Trail of Tears,” the forcible relocation of many Native American nations.

Shortly after Texas entered statehood, Cannon traveled to Texas to find arable land he could purchase. A year later, he, his wife, and eight children left for Rusk, Cherokee County, Texas. Embarking by boat in April 1847, they arrived approximately two months later. Cannon’s wife, Eliza, died on June 9, shortly after their arrival. On December 13, 1848, Cannon married his second wife, Charlotte Miller.

Cannon once again became involved in the socio-political conflicts in the region and began organizing a regiment to fight in the Mexican War. He was elected to serve in the Fourth and Fifth Texas legislatures representing Cherokee County. Although he still practiced law, he also operated a ferryboat on the Neches River and surveyed the land around Rusk.

As a member of Texas Masons, Cannon was appointed Grand Master of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of Texas. He continued to be involved in the Texas Masons until his death on September 8, 1859. He is buried alongside Eliza Tunnell Cannon in Rusk.


Handbook of Texas Online, s.v."Cannon, Benjamin Bartlett," (accessed October 8, 2010).

Armstrong, Zella. The History of Hamilton County and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Chattanooga: Lookout Pub. Co., 1940.

Scope and Contents

A 1999 transcript of a journal, family history, and correspondence comprises the Benjamin Bartlett Cannon Journal and Family History, 1838-1846, 1924, 1999 [bulk 1846]. The transcript of Cannon’s 1846 journal documents his journey by riverboat from Hamilton County, Tennessee, to Rusk, Cherokee County, Texas. Cannon describes his interactions with his travel companions, weather conditions, cultivatable land, and the prices of various food items. Furthermore, he discusses visiting Shreveport, Louisiana, and Dallas, Texas. A detailed family history, an index of people mentioned in the journal, and transcripts of correspondence between Cannon family members dating to 1838 and 1924 are included.


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Cannon, Benjamin Bartlett, 1801-1859--Archives
Cannon Family--Archives
Cherokee County (Tex.)
Dallas (Tex.)
Hamilton County (Tenn.)
Rusk (Tex.)
Shreveport (La.)--Description and travel--19th Century
Tennessee River
Texas--Description and travel--19th century
Trinity River (Tex.)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Benjamin Barlett Cannon Journal and Family History, 1838-1846, 1924, 1999 [bulk 1846], Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection contains unprocessed materials.

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.

Detailed Description of the Papers



2D91 Journal, Family History, and Correspondence, 1838-1846, 1924, 1999 [bulk 1846].