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Ventura County









            High on the list of California’s honored dead is written the name of Marion Cannon, pioneer rancher of Ventura County and one of the foremost representatives of agricultural interests in his district.  A political leader, he served acceptably as congressman from this state, and as a public official and a private citizen manifested those qualities which win for a man the respect and confidence of his fellows.

            Mr. Cannon was born in Morgantown, Virginia, October 30, 1834, and in that state obtained his elementary instruction, completing his education in the public schools of Pennsylvania.  Leaving the east on March 15, 1853, when but eighteen years of age, he started for California and made the long overland trip in a covered wagon drawn by a team of oxen.  He located in Omega, Nevada County, and while living there was elected county recorder.  He took office in 1869 and served for two years.  On September 2, 1874, he removed to Ventura County, purchasing a quarter section in the vicinity of Saticoy, but later sold the tract.  He also bought a ranch of one hundred and eight-two acres in the Mound, where he made his permanent home, and brought the land to a high state of development.  As the years passed he added many improvements to the place, converting it into one of the model farms of the county.

            Keenly interested in public affairs, Mr. Cannon kept well informed on the vital questions and issues of the day and was a man of strong convictions.  He joined the Famers Alliance of Ventura County in 1890 and became its first president.  In 1891 organized the people’s party in California and in the same year was chosen as a representative to the supreme council, which met at Indianapolis.  He was elected to represent California at the industrial conference which was held at St. Louis in 1892.  In that year he was made temporary chairman of the California delegation to the national convention of the people’s party which met at Omaha in 1892.  He was elected to the fifty-third congress in 1892 and served for two years, supporting all constructive legislation.  He was nominated for this office by the people’s party and endorsed by the democrats.

            On the 29th of April, 1860, Mr. Cannon was married to Miss Lydia Jane Holland, who was born in Clinton County, Missouri, February 19, 1842.  As a child of eight she crossed the plains with her parents in 1850, the father dying before reaching his destination.  Mr. and Mrs. Cannon were the parents of five children.  William Herschel, the first born, became a resident of Texas and remained in that state until his death on October 2, 1927.  Christopher Wren, of Ventura, passed away July 27, 1931.  Lucinda Belle departed this life December 20, 1901.  Clara Etta, who was Mrs. J. L. Argabrite, of Ventura, died May 3, 1923.  Lena Electa, the sole surviving member of the family, is the wife of J. Russell Walker, who was born in Virginia, September 29, 1873, a son of John and Annie Elizabeth (Graves) Walker, both now deceased.  Mr. Walker came to California in 1899 and was the only member of his family to seek the opportunities of the west.  Mr. and Mrs. Walker reside in the old home built by Marion Cannon in 1875.  Substantially constructed, it is much better condition than many buildings erected but a few years ago and remains one of the finest homes in this locality.  Mr. Walker cultivates one hundred acres of the farm, which is situated on Telephone Road, near Ventura, and has a large acreage planted to beans, reserving a portion of the land for the growing of walnuts.  He is a Knight Templar Mason and also belongs to the Order of the Eastern Star and the Lions Club.  With his wife he worships in the Methodist Church and they contribute liberally to its support.  Mrs. Walker is a member of the local chapter of the Eastern Star, the Parent-Teacher Association, and the Wednesday Afternoon Study Club, which was organized in 1894 and is the oldest woman’s club in the county.  Mr. and Mrs. Walker are the parents of a son, Marion Russell, who was graduated from Ventura High School and is a student of Stanford University at Palo Alto, where he is preparing for a medical career.

            The long, upright and useful life of Marion Cannon was brought to a close on August 27, 1920 when he was eight-six years of age.  Of him it has been well said:  “Mr. Cannon was no ordinary man.  He possessed ability of a high order and was willing to use his powers for the advancement of the general good.  He took all public positions to which he was chosen seriously and discharged his duties faithfully.  He gave careful study to all questions which came before him and arrived at sound and well founded conclusions.  He believed sincerely that the principles for which he stood were for the safety of the republic, and he sought constantly by all honorable means to advance those principles; and he was thus respected and trusted by his fellowmen.  But the side of his nature for which he will be best remembered was the beauty of his personal character, his loyalty to his friends, his faithfulness to his ideals, his strict integrity, and, perhaps above all, his kindness of heart and abounding generosity.  No appeal to charity was ever made to him in vain; no good cause failed to receive his support.  At his death a worthy life was closed, a great and good man passed on to higher scenes of action, and the entire community mourned the loss of an able leader, a good citizen, a loving father, a faithful husband, and a loyal and true friend.”  Four years after the death of her husband Mrs. Cannon was called to final rest, passing away on the home place near Ventura on the 6th of October, 1924, at the age of eighty-two years.  She belonged to the Order of the Eastern Star and was long a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  She possessed many admirable traits of character and her death brought deep sorrow to all who were brought within the sphere of her influence.



Transcribed By:  Michele Y. Larsen on April 7, 2012.

Source: California of the South Vol. II,  by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 269-272, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles,  Indianapolis.  1933.

© 2012 Michele Y. Larsen.