(The following article shows how David H. Cannon and his family handled
I'm not sure that most of us would have been as successful.)
OUR OTHER MOTHERS
--written by Eva Cannon Webb
(daughter of "Aunt Rhoda")
We were more fortunate than most families because in place of one mother we had three, any one of whom would give her all for any child in the family, and no sacrifice was too great for them to make for each other.
In 1859, father (David H. Cannon) married "Aunt Willie," his first wife, eight years after this, in 1867, with her consent, he married "Aunt Joe," and took her to share the home with him and his first wife. For ten years they lived together as sisters, never a cross word between them.
In 1877, "Aunt Rhoda," the third wife, was brought to this home. She was welcomed by the other wives and introduced to the children as another mother who had come to live with them. This attitude was kept during all our lives, and we learned through all the years that they were indeed mothers to us all. Once "Aunt Joe" and "Aunt Rhoda" had babies so near the same age, the latter nursed both babies, the former had to feed hers artificially.
By 1880 the family had increased in numbers until it was necessary to have more room, so father bought another place and "Aunt Joe" and "Aunt Rhoda" were moved into the new home. Here they lived, until again the family needed larger quarters, then the third home was provided. Each did the part of the work she liked best to do. "Aunt Joe," always milked the cow and did other outside work, while "Aunt Rhoda" did the dishwashing and other house work. Washing, ironing, and sewing they did together. The older children helped whichever mother needed them.
We went from one home to the other freely and were always welcomed by the mother.
There were quarrels between us children, but no different than those between other brothers and sisters. This was largely due to the justice of our father. He was so absolutely just in his treatment of our mothers and their children, there was never a tinge of jealousy in the family. A more just man never embraced the principle of plurality of wives.
When he went on a trip the mother who went with him left her children at home knowing they would be cared for as if she were there.
I well remember when Walter was eight years of age he had to undergo a major operation. "Aunt Rhoda," his mother, was not able to go to the hospital with him [because of her son, Douglas's impending birth], so "Aunt Willie" left her children at home and took him to Salt Lake and stayed those weeks until he was able to come home, just as devoted as if he were her own.
When Raymond was a small boy he had to have a serious operation on his leg. His mother took him to the doctor at Cedar City and stayed as long as necessary. But after her return they had to take him back for treatment. If "Aunt Joe" could not go with him, "Aunt Rhoda" did, and his mother knew he would be taken just as good care of as if she were there.
When the last call came to "Aunt Joe," her only wish was that they send for "Aunt Rhoda," who was living in Hurricane. As long as she was conscious she kept asking how long before "Aunt Rhoda" would be there. So you see the friendship of their youth maintained through all the years. These two wives were at the bedside of "Aunt Willie" when the final summons came to her, and they sincerely mourned her passing as she had been a true and unselfish friend to them to the very last.
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