Cannon, George Henry, 1826-

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Surveyor from Macomb County, Michigan.

From the description of George Henry Cannon journal, 1846. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34422835

George Cannon was born on December 30, 1826, in Day, New York, to Pearl and Mary Cannon. In 1833, the family moved to Michigan, first to Saline, in Washtenaw County, and then to Bruce, in Macomb County. As a young man, Cannon worked mornings and nights for his board, and, at the end of school-terms, for his teachers, to pay tuition. During the summer of 1846, he was part of an exploring party searching for minerals (primarily copper) in the Lake Superior region of the Upper Peninsula. In the summer of 1847 he explored the Ontonagon Range. After he returned from the Upper Peninsula in 1847, he attended the Academy at Rochester, in Oakland County, for two years, after which he spent four years teaching in the area.

Cannon had developed an interest in exploration, and especially surveying while in the mineral region, and it continued throughout his life. In the spring of 1849, he was employed by Judge W.A. Burt, who had been Dr. Douglass Houghton's assistant, and later took over the task of completing Houghton's survey of the State. During 1849, Cannon surveyed the sub-divisional lines of ten townships. In August of 1849, he was appointed U.S. Deputy Surveyor, and completed nine contracts in that capacity, including the Grand Traverse region, many towns in the Cheboygan area, and the islands of Saginaw Bay. He also worked in the Upper Peninsula, and was appointed to examine the surveys in the relatively unexplored territory between Lakes Superior and Michigan, and the area between the Pictured Rocks and the meridian line. He also surveyed the township lines on the north shore of Lake Superior, near Pigeon River, in Minnesota. In 1852, he made surveys in the Grand Traverse region between Higgins Lake and Elk Rapids. During the winter of 1852-53 he surveyed the islands of Saginaw Bay. He then began a survey of public lands of the Upper Peninsula from the meridian at the "Soo" to the west for 108 miles.

His final survey, in 1856, was the laying out of an extensive Indian reservation in Minnesota. Public survey work was discontinued the following year, and Cannon began his work examining and selecting pine and farmlands in Michigan and Wisconsin. He resided in Macomb County in the city of Washington, and held extensive lands in several areas of the State.

In the 1890s, Cannon was active in both the Macomb County Historical Society and the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society. One of his interests was the history of the disputed boundary line between Michigan and Wisconsin because of a surveying error.

From the guide to the George Henry Cannon papers, 1833-1915, (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Cannon, George Henry, b. 1826. George Henry Cannon journal, 1846. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf George Henry Cannon papers, 1833-1915 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
Superior, Lake.
United States
Superior, Lake
Upper Peninsula (Mich.)
Macomb County (Mich.)
Upper Peninsula (Mich.)
Indians of North America--Michigan
Indians of North America


Birth 1826



Ark ID: w65n02xv

SNAC ID: 67540680