Letters from Exile
The Correspondence of Martha Hughes Cannon and Angus M. Cannon, 1886-1888
Constance L. Lieber and John Sillito, editors
“Oh dear, Oh dear!! If we ever live through this present strait, I trust we will be ‘wiser and better men’ and women … I grow heartily sick and disgusted with it—polygamy.”
So begins a letter to Angus Munn Cannon from his fourth wife, Martha (“Mattie”) Maria Hughes. Mattie was twenty-seven years old in 1884 when she married the fifty-year-old Angus. At the time she wrote the above letter, Mattie and her five-month-old daughter, Elizabeth Rachel, were hiding from United States federal marshals in Centerville, Utah, making final preparations for a trip into exile in England. Of this time she would later write, “Were it all written or told—(either would be an impossibility)—it would make as thrilling a tale as ever appeared on the pages of fiction.
Through this edition of the letters of Martha Hughes and Angus M. Cannon, we are pleased to present a view of a nineteenth-century Mormon polygamist couple set against a backdrop of the historical forces they confronted. The letters were written while “Mattie” lived on the “underground” in England in order that Angus could escape federal prosecution for his practice of polygamy.