Mrs. Betty Esch, D.U.P. April 11, 1994
792 South 810 East
St. George, Utah 84770
Since writing to you on April 4th, I have contacted two specialists in California about the cannon telling them the Crosby story and how he acquired the cannon.
One of the men, Kirby Morgan, went to St. George and saw the cannon. The other man saw the pictures. Both agree that this definitely is NOT the Sutter cannon.
References to the cannon, including one from John Sutter, state they were "brass"pieces, small decorated parade cannons. The St. George cannon is iron.
After studying Crosbyís letter of November 20, 1936 and since there is no reference to purchasing the cannon from Sutter, together with the fact that the Napoleonic cannons were brass, we now believe that this is not the cannon the Mormon Battalion took to Utah in 1848.
The fact that it came from California, perhaps even from Sutter since he had cannons in the corners of Sutterís Fort and would not have needed them in 1860, may have given someone the idea that it was Napoleonís cannon.
In view of these facts, I am going to say in my writings at this time that the whereabouts of the two Napoleonic cannons is not known. This does not mean that the St. George cannon is not historic, rather that its glory at this time is from the fact it was used as a pile driver for the temple.
Unless something further turns up to connect Crosby to Sutter to a cannon he purchased from the Russians, I do not believe we can say or identify the St. George cannon as the one brought by the Battalion.
This grieves me deeply to reach this conclusion, but I think it is the only way we can go at present.
Thank you for your assistance in this matter. If you get any additional material, please contact me,
cc: Ben Lofgren, Louise Green,
Michael Landon, Kirby Morgan
Joyce Lund, D. L. Leavitt
GEORGE H. CROSBY, JR.
November 20, 1936
Daughters of the Utah Pioneers
St. George Camp
St. George, Utah
I have a letter from your county president, Hazel Bentley Bradshaw, dated November 12 and I also have a letter from my cousin, Leo A. Snow asking me to send you more details in regard to the cannon. I send this to you and I am making carbon copies of it and sending to various branches of the family.
In the 1860's Erastus Snow, so I have always been told, requested my grandfather, Jesse W. Crosby, to buy a cannon while he was on a trip to California and bring it back to St. George and said that he would be paid for it out of the militia funds when the territorial legislature appropriated money. Grandfather paid for the cannon and hauled it back to from California but the governor of the territory refused to sign a bill appropriating any more money so grandfather didnít get his pay.
I didnít have these details from my grandfather or if I did have them I was too young to remember them but I got them from my uncle, Jesse W. Crosby, Jr. in 1899 when he and I were in the Utah Legislature together.
When grandfather didnít get his pay he had no use for the cannon but he let them go on and use it for an artillery company in St. George. When the territorial militia wasnít meeting in St. George any more grandfather took the cannon back. When the boggy ground was found on the site of the St. George temple they had no pile driver to drive rocks down into the bog so they borrowed grandfatherís cannon. To make it heavier they put lead in it and then it was left down near the temple. Grandfather took me down to see it in February, 1883, and told me that he wanted to sit it on some rocks in a sloping polition and build a fire around it and melt the lead out. He never did so but the people in St. George did and took it up above the town to fire on the 4th of July and other holidays. Finally the St. George people quit using it for saluting purposes and the next thing I knew of it Samuel Judd had it. I saw him at the Erastus Snow "Big House" and asked him about the cannon and told him it was ours. He admitted our ownership as a Jesse W. Crosby family organization but said they didnít know anything better to do with it than to leave it where it was. I didnít and left it there. I never heard anything more of the cannon until I was there for the Dixie Homecoming last September.
I heard Erastus Snow speak of it as grandfatherís cannon and say that grandfather never go his pay for the cannon for the hauling it from California. Brother Snow made that statement in my fatherís house at Leeds. Now if there is anything more that would interest you organization in regard to the cannon I will be pleased to write it to you.
George H. Crosby, Jr.
GHC:aes President, Joshua and Hannah Cann
Crosby Family Association
When it was discovered the site of the St. George Temple was not firm, it became necessary to make a solid foundation on which to build the Temple. After the excavation was completed, it was filled in with black volcanic rock from a long, black ridge West of St. Georg. In order to quarry the rock, a road was made along the volcanic ridge. The rocks were hauled by ox team to the Temple site. The size of the rocks varied from small pieces to boulders weighing several tons. The rocks were pounded into the ground by using a small cannon. Removing the wheels of the cannon, the barrel was filled with lead. William Carter constructed and directed a device for hoisting the hammer. This 800-100 pound pile driver was lifted about 30 feet into the air by horse power, then dropped. In this manner the volcanic rock was driven deep into the soft ground until finally there was a firm foundation for the Temple.
If any evidence is found that connects this cannon to the Mormon Battalion,
Norma B. Ricketts
6209 East McKellips Road, #216
Mesa, Arizona 85215