The Cannon & Brine Family Plot,
Cambridge Cemetery, Cambridge, MA
- across from the Firefighter's Monument
My 2x great grandmother in my Baker line was Cornelia D. Cannon. Her father was John Cannon, Daguerreotypist & Glass Cutter of Cambridge, MA. According to his death record in Cambridge, MA, he was born Nov 26, 1809 in New York City, son of Michael Cannon & Ann of New York City[i]. He married Cornelia Devine/Divine who according to her death in Somerville, MA was born Aug 30, 1813 in NY, daughter of James Devine & Mary Rice/Ryer of New York. He died on Oct 6, 1863 of consumption and she died June 10, 1903 in Somerville, MA of Bronchitis. Their graves can be found in the Cambridge Cemetery, Cambridge, MA across from the Firefighters Memorial.
John & Cornelia’s marriage record has not been found and therefore the date & place are unknown, but it was probably about or before 1831 since their oldest known child, Jeheil/Jekeil was born about Mar 12 1832. A record for the birth of this child has not been found, we know only from his death & burial in November 1834that he was their son & this is the earliest evidence of them being in Boston. My best guess would have to be that they arrived in the Boston area between 1832 - Nov 1834, but it may have been earlier. Apparently they were attending the Episcopal Christ Church in 1834-37, as that is where two of their children’s deaths are noted as originating from there in the 1850 Vital statistics. However, the Episcopal Church Records available at Houghton Library, Harvard do not show any reference at all to any Cannons from 1830-1845.
The first known record of John as a Glass Cutter is in 1839 at the age of 30 when he purchases property outline below. It seems likely he would have been quite skilled by then perhaps apprenticed in New York City between the years of 1825-1830 when he would have been 15-21 years of age. It is very possible John was of Irish descent and learned the trade of glass cutting that way, but it is unknown. Not much can be ascertained about his parents or siblings except one record, John’s death which shows Michael and Ann of New York City as his parents. (Another blog post will follow in Dec 21 2013 detailing hints for them.)
Probably the most famous cut glass has long been known as Waterford Crystal which was named after its home town of Waterford, Ireland. More information on Waterford Crystal can be found here: http://www.waterfordvisitorcentre.com/Press/Fact_Sheets/History_of_Waterford_Crystal
New York City has had a long history of glass making back to 1640, but glass cutting was another thing entirely. We are looking for a much later time frame than the American Brilliant Period cut glass which was much later in the century. The time period we are looking for is from about 1820, or the end of the “Early Period” of cut glass through the first half of the “Middle Period” which begins in 1830. From what I have found there are at least a few possibilities where John may have trained as a cutter in NYC from 1825-1830. The New York Glass Works which was on 47th St 1820-1840 was co-founded by John L. Gilliland who left in 1823 to start the Brooklyn Flint Glass Works. Other glass companies in NYC include Jackson & Baggott, and J.Stouvenel & Company, but I have not really been able to pin down an establishment date for either of them.
I further suspect but cannot prove that John worked for the New England Glass Company, founded in 1818 by Amos Binney, Edmund Munroe, Daniel Hastings, and Deming Jarves upon arriving in Cambridge. It was definitely the most prominent glass works in the local area in 1830-34. An excellent book on the subject is Cambridge Glass 1818-1888, The Story of The New England Glass Company by Lura Woodside Watkins. [c1851] Cambridge Glass 1818-1888, The Story of The New England Glass Company
by Lura Woodside Watkins, p. 24-25 states “The cutting room was 270 feet in length
and contained eighty frames for cutting, polishing, and engraving glass. This
department gave employment to about ninety men.”
The author also reports that in 1823, between the “glass house, cutting house & other departments, 140 workmen were constantly employed. Every week more than ten tons of glassware, much of it beautifully cut, was sent to Boston and other places” [p. 14]. In 1837 “the statistical tables for this year show that the two glass factories in East Cambridge (presumably the New England & the New England Glass Bottle Co.) were making glass to the amount of $453,076 annually. The capital invested was 450,000 and 290 hands were employed.” [p. 16]. By 1851 “It was said to be the largest glass manufactory in the world” and 450 workmen were employed by the company. The list of workmen known to have worked at the New England Glass Company prior to 1855 on pages 173-4 unfortunately does not name John Cannon, but it is not a very complete list at all and only contains 37 names.
John must have been doing ok for himself when he entered into a partnership to own land with George C. Perry in 1839, but it seems it only lasted a few months as John quitclaimed out of it a few short months later. Perhaps it had been a temporary arrangement in the first place. We will likely never know. I also have no idea what the connection, if any other than partners in property, was between these two men. I could not find any definitive records for Perry.
Property #1: Corner of Thorndike & Third St., Lechmere Point, Cambridge, Middlesex, MA:
John Cannon & George C. Perry, both Glass Cutters of Cambridge, Apr 1 1839 by Redford Morse, Pump & Blockmaker, 1300.00 Deed# 382-7 “A certain lot of land with the buildings thereon, situated at Lechmere Point, in Cambridge” “Beginning at a point on the southerly side of Thorndike street, three hundred feet easterly of South Third street, and running westerly on said Thorndike street thirty feet, thence turning at right angles and running southerly to land on which my shop is situated sixty one feet, and six inches, to the point of the beginning; together with the privileges and appurtenances thereunto belonging.”
John Cannon & al to R. Morse Apr 12 1839 Deed# 383-40 Mortgage – 1100.00 – 1/5 in one year; 1/5 in two years; 1/5 in 3 yrs; 1/5 in four years & the remaining 1/5 in five yrs with interest. Signed by George C. Perry & his wife Margaret Perry as well as John Cannon & his wife Cornelia Cannon. Apr 1 1839. Mortgage cancelled & discharged Feb 13 1851 by a conveyance from George C Perry to said Redford Morse, recorded book 391-22. Rhoda Morse Executrix & grantee under the will of Redford Morse.
John Cannon to G.C Perry July 15 1839 Deed# 385-286 Quitclaim 200.00 –all my right & interest gained through deed 382-7– same description. Cornelia also agrees.
Lechmere Point in Cambridge is not only where the New England Glass Company was located, but also where the British landed Apr 19 1775 - http://cambridgehistory.org/discover/Cambridge-Revolution/Lechmere%20Point.html
John is not recorded in the Boston Directories from 1831-41, and it does seems there is a Cambridge directory for that time period, but they are on the census in Cambridge in 1840. Cornelia Devine’s mother, Mary Devine is presumably with them. Mary can be found noted in the records as being accepted as a Second Baptist Church Member in 1841. (http://dunhamwilcox.net/ma/cambridg_ma_2bapt_ch.htm) The church was established in 1837 and still stands on the corner of Cambridge St & Sciarappa St. but is now named St. Francis. It is on the same block where John Cannon’s later home stood between Third & & 4th (now Scairappa St.) on Cambridge St. Her sister Catherine is also noted as becoming a member of the church in 1842, no Cannons are listed. Catherine is shown living with them as early as 1855, but not 1850. The death of their mother occurs Sept 15 1853 of Dysentery in Cambridge 63y8m17d and is record there as well. It also states she was a widow, b. NY, no parents or maiden name listed. She is buried in the family plot in Cambridge as well.
John is listed as a glass cutter on his daughter Mary Emma’s birth record in 1844, but in the 1845 Boston Directory he is listed as having daguerreotype rooms, Court c. Sudbury. The 1846 Boston Directory lists him at 190 Washington & the 1874 Atlas Plate G & I shows it near Ordway Place. The building doesn’t seem to be there anymore & is replaced with a huge parking garage; it was at the corner of Washington & Franklin. The 1847 & 1848 Boston Directories list 139 Washington. The 1874 Atlas Plate G shows that address across from the Old South Church. It is no longer there & was recently or is now the location of a Borders Bookstore & next to the Bank of America ATM. The 1848 Cambridge Directory lists him as a “daguerreotypist, house. Cambridge St.” A Daguerreotype was an early photograph, first developed by Daguerre in Jan 1839. For more information on Daguerrotypes vist this link : http://daguerre.org/resource/history/history.html
Three Frames of Daguerreotypes by John Cannon of Boston were exhibited in The Fifth Exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, at Faneuil and Quincy Halls, in the City of Boston, September, 1847. He is shown in the Photographs Exhibition Catalogs, 1876 Art Exhibition Catalogue Index, Boston: Published by Dutton and Wentworth, for the Association Control number: AECI 03640070, entry no. 1027 Secondrate. [P. 28.], available via the Smithsonian
In addition, the following earlier listing for Keene and Cannon, may or may not be our John with Peter Keene in Salem, MA. It could just as well be Marsena Cannon, one of John’s competitors in the Boston area until he removed to Utah c1850. Not much is known of Peter Keene except in the 1842 Directory of Salem, MA it lists Peter E. Keene, Photographic Institute, 150 Essex, h. 10 River, and previous to that he appears to have been in Danvers during the 1840 US Census.
That catalog entry states:
Four Daguerreotype Miniatures. No. 5, (photograph)
Via Smithsonian- http://collections.si.edu/search/results.htm?q=record_ID:siris_aeci_74063
Artist: Keene and Cannon – Subject: Unidentified Medium:Daguerreotype/miniature
Type: Photographs Miniatures Exhibition Catalogs Date: 1876 [of publication?] Topic: Portrait--Miniature
Control number: AECI 03590071 Notes: Appears in exhibition catalog as entry no. 541
The Third Exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, at Quincy Hall, in the City of Boston, September 20, 1841. Boston: Press of T.R. Marvin, 24 Congress Street. 1841 Artist address: Salem, Massachusetts Data Source: Pre-1877 Art Exhibition Catalogue Index;
John & Cornelia’s son John H. Cannon was born Oct 5 1848 in Cambridge and on that record he is also listed as a daguerreotypist. The 1849 Boston Directory lists J. Cannon, under Daguerreotypists, 99 Court, pg 117, and an advertisement for his business can be found in the Cambridge Chronicle on May 10, 1849 which shows his address as “Blanchard’s Buildings, Court street, A few doors from Hanover street, (up stairs)”. The exact same ad runs again on Jun 28 1849 in the same paper. This location was near the intersection of what once was the intersection of Court St. Hanover St & Sudbury St 1874 Atlas Map H – probably the same location as listed in 1845 as “Court c. Sudbury” – it’s sort of near Boston Common – I think it could be the intersection of what now is Tremont. A Nov 1849 ad places him over Wheeler’s Dry Goods which was located at 98 Cambridge St. East Cambridge & personally he is also listed on Cambridge St. in the Directory. This was very near where the family home purchased in 1847 was. That address being 111 Cambridge St which according to the 1873 Atlas Plate Q. St John's Literacy School is kind of kitty-korner in the back yard.
On a map of today, that block is between 3rd & Sciarappa St. Cambridge Children & Family Services is where the school was & it seems like the house was in the same building where the Courtside Restaurant is now (which is one level & probably not the original bldg, now 294 Cambridge St), or where the Writer's Express is next door (which is also not the original bldg), but I think it's the land where the restaurant is.
The Cambridge Historical Commission states the following on March 14, 2013 about the above property:
“Amylynne - The current buildings spanning 291-299 Cambridge St. were constructed as one-story commercial space and date to the late 1920s. Prior to that, a two-story house dating to 1834 occupied the site. The original owner was Wilder Bennett. As early as the 1850s however, there were three separate buildings in this location and some form of a store operating out of this property. All of that was demolished in 1928 to make way for the construction of the current commercial building.
Best regards, Eiliesh Tuffy, Preservation Administrator, Cambridge Historical Commission, 831 Massachusetts Ave, 2nd Fl, Cambridge, MA 02139, 617-349-4686” http://www2.cambridgema.gov/Historic/
Property #2: 111 Cambridge St. East Cambridge, Middlesex County, MA
Jun 11 1847 - John Cannon, “Daguerrean Artist” from George Mallard of Brewster, Wheelwright, 1400 Deed# 520-401 Jun 11 1847, land & dwelling house in east Cambridge containing 2500 superficial feet” As follows: Southerly on Cambridge St 25’ Westerly by land of one Binney? One hundred feet- Northerly by land formerly of Joseph Green twenty five feet and easterly by land of now or late of one Binney, one hundred feet. The premises are the same conveyed to me by James Leuke Apr 26 1838 by deed 281-246. – No mortgage found.
An Apr 1850 ad places his “Daguerreotype Miniature Room” at 17 Hanover St Boston “over Skinner & Sweets Jewelry Store”, and the 1850 Cambridge Directory still lists his home address as Cambridge St.
The 1850 US Census Cambridge, MA shows:
John Cannon a 40 b: NY Daguerratyper; estate: 1800 (indexed as b. Nova Scotia on ancestry)
Cornelia Cannon a37 b: NY
Clinton Cannon a14 b: MA
Hannah S. Cannon 13 b: MA
Cornelia D. Cannon a9 b: MA
Mary E. Cannon a6 b: MA
John Cannon 1 b: MA
Mary Devine a56 b: NY
Nov 21 1850 an ad in the Cambridge Chronicle states “Mr Cannon has removed his Daguerreotype Saloon to the vacant lot on Main Street, opposite Columbia Street, where he will remain a few days. His daguerreotypes are of the first class.” The 1850 & 1851 Cambridge Directories list him at Cambridge St. and the 1852 Boston Directory says 20 Washington St, h. East Cambridge. Mar 2 1851 his youngest child George was born, and the birth was recorded in Cambridge. It lists John as an “artist”, both parents born in New York City.
It seems sometime between 1852-1855 he started referring to himself as a glass cutter again, as that is what he is listed as on the 1855 Massachusetts State Census.
1855 Massachusetts Census in Cambridge, MA:
John b: NY a43 (Glass cutter);
Cornelia b: NY a42;
Clinton b: Ma a 19 (Carver);
Hannah S. b: Ma a17;
Cornelia D. b: MA;
Mary E. b: Ma a11;
John b: Ma a6;
George b: Ma a4;
Catharine Devine b: NY a39
From that it seems he returned to cutting glass, yet still had the daguerreotypist business at their home as shown in the Cambridge & Boston Directories as late as 1861. Unfortunately, nothing seems to indicate what company he worked for. He could have worked at any of 4 glass manufacturers in the local area. The Massachusetts Register for 1856 under Middlesex County Glass Manufacturers pg 141 lists:
Bay State Glass Co (East) Cambridge
Union Glass Co Somerville
NE Glass Co (East) Cambridge
Pierre Frank [fancy] Cambridge
1860 Census Cambridge: Ward 3
John Cannon a49 Glass Cutter B: NY Real Estate 1800; Personal Estate 300;
Cornelia Cannon a 46 b: NY
Clinton a23 Seaman b: MA
Hannah a21 Milliner b: MA
Cornelia a18 b: MA
ME a16 b: MA
John a10 b: MA
George a7 b: MA
Their son Clinton, a carver & seaman, died in Feb 1 1861, no record found for his death, but he was buried in the family plot.
Aug 9 1862, his daughter Cornelia (my 2x great grandmother) married William A Baker. No parents were listed on the record. Three days later William enlisted & served the Union until the following fall.
In the 1863 Directory is John Cannon is listed strictly as a “glass cutter”, and dies within the year on Oct 6. Recorded in Cambridge is states 53y10m10d; married; Consumption; Glass Cutter; B: NY F: Michael: M: Ann Doesn’t say parents birthplaces.; buried in Cambridge Cemetery. NEHGS Vol.166: Pg.59. His Middlesex Probate Court Record# 28763-vol 309-427;392-222;393-232 microfilm MA Archives Boston, sadly, does not have much to share. Cornelia was granted everything in his will, and no other family members were mentioned. William Alson Baker, my 2x great grandfather, witnesses her papers to be Executrix. There isn't an inventory of his estate, and it seems the good news is, he didn't owe anyone any money.
To be continued - See Part II on Dec 14, 2013 for information on Cornelia (Devine) Cannon's life after John's death as a Magnetic Physician, as well as information on many of their descendants.
Sources are embedded with the exception of this one. For further question on sourcing please contact me at Info@NHGenealogist.com
[i] John Cannon Death - NEHGS - Oct 6 1863, Recorded in Cambridge is states 53y10m10d; married; Consumption; Glass Cutter; B: NY F: Michael: M: Ann Doesn’t say parents birthplaces.; buried in Cambridge Cemetery.
Copyright 2013, Amylynne Baker-Santagate, NHGenealogist.com
Amylynne (Baker) Murphy