The Cannon Album

A Collection of Cannon/Rea Family Photos

By Gary Rea

My mother, Mary Alice (Cannon) Rea was born October 12, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri to Elmer Vandegrift Cannon and Irma Allene (Grotjan) Cannon. Genealogical data on my Cannon line can be found at the Rea Genealogy website. Mary was married to Russell Allen Rea of Tracy, Minnesota on September 1, 1950 and afterward they moved from St. Louis to Oklahoma City in the same year. I was born there a couple of years later, followed by my sister Cynthia in 1956 and my brother Bruce in 1957. This album is comprised of photos of our ancestors and immediate family. To see the photos, just click on the links below.

Joseph Cannon was my great-great-great-great-grandfather, born about 1760 in North Carolina. He brought the Cannons to Tennessee, Kentucky and, ultimately, to St. Charles County, Missouri in 1811.

Joseph Cannon's Home as it appeared in 1923

Joseph Cannon's Grave

George Moore Cannon was my great-great-grandfather, born in St. Charles County, Missouri on November 30, 1830. He was a farmer and stock raiser near Forsitell, Missouri and Deacon of the Olivet Presbyterian Church (abt 1877).

George Moore Cannon in 1902 (from photo below)

1902 Cannon Family Reunion at George Moore Cannon's home near Foristell, Missouri

George Richard Cannon was my great-grandfather, born in St, Charles County, Missouri on October 29, 1868. When he was of age, his father gave him the choice of having land and becoming a farmer, or $600 cash and going to college. George took the money and went to the University of Missouri at Columbia in 1889. George was always mechanically inclined and had a great desire to run a threshing engine or a sawmill. His next goal was to become a locomotive engineer. In 1900, he left home and became a fireman on the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railway in Danville, Illinois. In 1902, he was a fireman on the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railway in De Soto, Missouri. In 1903, he became partners in the ownership of a sawmill and cotton gin in Hickory Plains, Arkansas. In 1906, after my grandfather, Elmer V. Cannon was born, George sold his interest in the sawmill and cotton gin and moved the family to Moberly, Missouri, where he was employed as a fireman, and later as a engineer on the Wabash Railway. He retired from the Wabash in 1938.

George Richard Cannon as a young man

George Richard Cannon

Children of George Richard Cannon, left to right, back row: Ethel & Harvey. Front: George, Elmer & Jesse

Elmer Vandegrift Cannon, my grandfather, was born at Hickory plains, Arkansas on January 3, 1906. Elmer graduated from Moberly High School in Moberly, Missouri in 1924. He worked for Kroger Grocery Store in Moberly in 1925 and was promoted to manager of the store in Salisbury, Missouri. This store closed ten months later and Elmer returned to the main store in Moberly, where he worked as a clerk until September 1926. He then went to St. Louis to work for Stix Baer & Fuller in the Clothing department. He made weekend trips to Moberly and met an old school friend who told him there was a vacany in the Passenger Department of the Wabash Railroad in St. Louis. Upon his return to St. Louis, Elmer applied for the job and was accepted as a clerk on September 15, 1926. On August 1, 1928 he was promoted to Secretary to the General Baggage Agent in St. Louis. In this position, Elmer became familiar with mail and express handling and in March of 1929, he was promoted to Supervisor of Mail, Baggage and Express Traffic for the Wabash System. When the Wabash merged with the Norfolk & Western Railway, October 1, 1964, Elmer's title was changed to Manager of Mail, Baggage and Express Traffic, Western Region. He was transferred to Roanoke, Virginia February 1, 1968. He retired December 31, 1970 after forty-four years of service. At this point, he and Irma moved back to St. Louis, where he lived out the remainder of his life. Elmer's hobbies included oil painting and photography, and, of course, he was a Cardinals fan.

Elmer Vandegrift Cannon as a young man

Irma Allene (Grotjan) Cannon, my grandmother, was born on her family's farm at Dalton, Missouri October 4, 1906, a daughter of George Gustave Grotjan and Rosa Sibyl Freisz. Irma was a devoted wife and mother who loved to cook for family and friends. She lived to be 92 years old.

Irma Allene (Grotjan) Cannon as a young woman

Irma Allene (Grotjan) Cannon with grandchildren Gary, Cynthia & Bruce Rea, 1962

Mary Alice (Cannon) Rea, my mother, was born in St. Louis, Missouri October 12, 1928. She was a secretary, as a young woman, and became a homemaker after marrying Russell Allen Rea in St. Louis in 1950. She and Russell moved to Oklahoma City immediately afterward. Mary sang in the choir at United Covenant Presbyterian Church, located on Ridgeview Drive in the Village (in Oklahoma City). One of her hobbies was oil painting, and she had a delightful sense of humor.

Mary Alice (Cannon) Rea at age 18

Mary Alice (Cannon) Rea with first child, gary in 1953

Russell Allen Rea, my father, was born to Noel Bates Rea and Luella L. (Larson ) Rea in Tracy, Minnesota on December 31, 1924. After completing his B.S. in civil engineering at the University of Minnesota in the 1940s, he worked, briefly, for the Minnesota State Highway Dept. June 28 in probably 1944 or 1945, he graduated from Advanced Bombardier School while in the U.S. Army Air Forces at Big Spring, Texas. His graduation photo was taken at Iowa City, Iowa. He next wound up in St. Louis, Missouri in a similar capacity, and this is where a friend and co-worker introduced him to Mary Alice Cannon. The two were married and moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1950. There, Russell worked, first, for Guy Treat at Treat Engineering Company, which has long since been defunct. In May 1956, he began working for Benham Engineering Company (today known as The Benham Group), from which he retired in 1986. In between, from October 1963 to March 1968, he worked for Glendening & Associates, another Oklahoma City engineering firm which has long since gone out of business. It was in March of 1968 that he returned to work at Benham Engineering Company, which, by then, had changed its named to Benham-Blair & Affiliates. Dad had our first house built in the then-new Village of Oklahoma City, at 9521 Ridgeview Drive. The house was completed in February of 1954 and on March 7, 1954, we moved in, Mom, Dad and myself, age 17 months. Among Russell's several interests was model railroading and photographing and cataloging actual deisel locomotives. This was a life-long interest of his, precipitated by his boyhood in Tracy, Minnesota, a town which grew up around a railroad. Russell also had an intense interest in history and had many books dealing with American history, in particular, WWII. During the war, his college days were interrupted by a breif period of service in the Army Air Corps, in which he was first trained as a bombardier, then changed to meteorology, just as the war was coming to a close.

Russell Allen Rea Iowa City, Iowa, 1944, Advanced Bombardier School, US Army Air Force

Russell Allen Rea and Mary Alice Cannon, wedding, September 1, 1950 in St. Louis, Missouri

Russell Allen Rea with first son, Gary, October 1954 at the new house in The Village (Oklahoma City)

Russell Allen Rea, about age 58

Rea Genealogy

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