Sylvester Quayle was born June 10, 1877, in Salt
Lake City, Utah, a son of George Q. Cannon
and Elizabeth Hoagland. He was the youngest of eleven children born
to this couple. When an infant he was taken by his parents to Washington,
D. C., where his father was in Congress as a delegate from Utah. His childhood
was spent on the Cannon Farm southwest of Salt Lake City, where he attended
a private school maintained by his father. From 1889 to 1892 he attended
the Latter-day Saints College, and, having qualified in stenography, he
accompanied his father as secretary on a trip to the Eastern States and
England. In 1894-1895 he pursued special studies at the University of Utah.
Prior to his first mission, in 1899, Elder Cannon graduated with the degree
of Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering after pursuing a four-year
course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Boston.
He was baptized June 10, 1885, by his father, who
also ordained him a Seventy, Sept. 1, 1899. On the latter date he was set
apart for his first mission to the Netherlands and arrived in Rotterdam
Sept. 28, 1899. Having studied French and German quite extensively, he
was, in three months, placed in charge of the Seraing-Ougree Branch, Belgium.
He labored in the Liege conference till August, 1900, when he was appointed
to succeed mission president Alfred L. Fartell and had to learn the Dutch
language. In February, 1902, he was called by Pres. Francis
M. Lyman to visit with him the Turkish Mission as "guide and interpreter".
On that three-months journey he visited Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Turkey,
Greece, Italy and France and prepared a series of articles in reference
to the trip for the "Millennial Star." On Oct. 8, of the same year, he
was succeeded in the mission presidency by his brother Willard T. Cannon.
After an absence of three years, Elder Cannon returned home and was engaged
professionally by the State of Utah in a survey of irrigated lands and
water from the Weber River.
In March, 1904, at the organization of the Pioneer
Stake, he was appointed first counselor in the stake presidency. On June
15, 1904, he married Winnifred Saville in the Salt Lake Temple. Four sons
and three daughters were born of this union.
On May 19, 1907, he arrived in Rotterdam for a second
mission, accompanied by his wife and two children, Julian and Elinor. This
time Elder Cannon succeeded Alex Nibley as president of the mission. He
was also assigned to supervise the publication of the Doctrine and Covenants
in the Dutch language. He also published a new and improved edition of
the Book of Mormon in the Netherlands, and new editions of the French and
Dutch hymn books, with many additions and improvements.
He presided over the Pioneer Stake in 1917-1925,
and on June 4, 1925, was chosen to succeed Chas. W. Nibley as Presiding
Bishop of the Church, (See also Improvement Era, Vol. 28, p. 887.) being
set apart and ordained by President Heber
J. Grant. As Presiding Bishop he had general supervision of the following
activities: Presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood, the temporal affairs
of the various wards with the ward bishoprics; receiving and accounting
for the tithes, offerings, and other donations; preparation of all financial
and statistical reports; the Church relief work and the design and construction
of all Church buildings. In 1930-1931 he was appointed chairman of the
Governor's State Flood Commission and in 1931-32 he acted as chairman of
the State Advisory Council for Unemployment.
Elder Cannon served as Presiding Bishop until 1938.
On April 6, 1938 he was sustained as an Associate to the Council of the
Twelve Apostles and was ordained an Apostle eight days later on April 14
by President Heber J. Grant. He served
as an Associate to the Twelve until October 6, 1939 when he was sustained
as a member of that quorum, succeeding Elder Melvin
J. Ballard, who had died. Elder Cannon served with the Twelve until
his own death May 29, 1943 at Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of sixty-five.
For greater insight into the life of this remarkable man, the gentlereader is referred to the The Official Sylvester Q. Cannon & Winnifred Irene Saville Family History Collection. This site contains photographs, documents, PAF Pedigree files, and news and information on current family events.