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In this week’s edition, I started researching various McKenzie families. Through books, online searches and The McKenzie Banner archives I ran across the Cannon’s, the family-owned J.P. …
In this week’s edition, I started researching various McKenzie families. Through books, online searches and The McKenzie Banner archives I ran across the Cannons, the family-owned J.P. Cannon and Sons Drug Store, which was one of McKenzie’s earliest continually ran businesses until 1959. As usual, I came across a few interesting tidbits that I plan on sharing.
The story of Cannon’s Drug Store goes back to 1843 with the birth of Jabez Pugh Cannon in Gravelly Springs, Ala. At the age of 18, J.P. enlisted in the Confederate Army in November 1861, serving in the 27th Alabama Infantry. He was discharged at the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865.
During his time in the Confederacy, he kept a diary, written in pencil in notebooks he carried with him. His dairy was later published under the title of “Inside of Rebeldom: The Daily Life of a private in the Confederate Army.”
The following is an excerpt from “Inside of Rebeldom”:
I enlisted in Co. C. 27th Ala., in the fall of 1861. Companies from other counties that were required to complete the regiment were slow and it was not until the latter part of December that we were ready for organization. As the eventful day approached we began to tell friends and sweethearts goodbye. Every young fellow who went to the war got a kiss from his ‘best girl’, and as it was the first that many of us had ever enjoyed, it is not surprising that the last farewell was repeated over and over again before we actually took our departure.
Our patriotism ebbed and flowed, we being anxious to get off, yet loath to leave home and friends who we might never see again. It was trying time when the 24th day of December, 1861, came, the day, set for us to meet in Florence and be “mustered in.” One other company from our county and eight other counties in North Alabama met us at the appointed time, and as each numbered about 100, we had a full regiment, and were sworn into service of the Confederate States for 12 months “unless sooner discharged.”
If you Yankees could have seen that array of 1,000 long Bowie-knives-not keen, bright blades, as the story writers would say, for many of these bore the marks of the unskilled blacksmith’s hammer, and the rust of years will clung to them, untouched by the stone which ground them to a sharp edge. Perhaps you would tremblingly folded your tents and marched back to your Northern Homes and left the Confederacy ‘one of the nations of the earth’; but you did not see it, and the war went on, battles were planned and preparations for a movement up the Tennessee River were continued just the same as the 27th Ala., had not come into existence.
After the war, J.P. studied medicine (1866-1869) at the University of Louisville. He returned to his home in Lauderdale County, Ala. and practiced medicine there until 1874. It was in 1874, J.P. established Cannon’s Drug Store in McKenzie. He retired in 1913 and succeeded the operator to his sons Lloyd and Turner.
It was noted that J.P. was a kind, gentle man, whose goal in life was to serve his fellowman. One of his best companions was his dog, Don, and one was seldom seen without the other.
Lloyd and Turner took over the family business with the father’s retirement. Both sons were born in McKenzie, Lloyd in December 1877 and Turner August 1885, and were educated in McTyeire School and before entering into pharmacy school.
The brothers worked and apprenticed for their father before taking over for the elder Cannon. In the 1920s, when Sunday newspapers came to the store to be sold, Lloyd drove out to the country on Sunday afternoon and gave the unsold papers to people who didn’t get to town often. He couldn’t bear for a child not get the funnies (comic strips).
Lloyd sold his interest in the company to his brother in 1943 as the tensions and demands of World War II increased, but still reported to work six days a week working seven-hour days. Turner was married to Ruth Burns whose father, James T. Burns, along Benjamin P. Moore opened the Moore and Burns Dry Goods Store in 1882.
In 1947, Turner oversaw the pharmacy’s move from the corner of Lee and Broad (the building used by Cannon’s for 45 years) to what was the McDade Building on Broadway closer to the intersection near Cedar. The Cannon’s Drug Store was a mecca for former McTyeire student returning to visit McKenzie. Many tall tales were originated and enlarged at the pharmacy next to the old potbellied stove. Those that gathered around the stove area became the “fireside council.” Turner’s home was often a gathering place for friends and relatives returning to visit McKenzie.
In 1959, Cannon’s Drug Store was sold to a family from Birmingham, Ala. the Lindseys. J.T. and Robye Lindsey picked up where the Cannon family left often and became an intricate part of McKenzie.
Jason R. Martin
B.S. • M.A.Ed • MLS
Councilman, Ward II
Executive Chairman, McKenzie 150th Celebration
E: email@example.com P: 731.352.3323
Jason Martin is a life-long resident of McKenzie. He graduated from McKenzie High School in 2000; earned a Bachelor of Science in History from Bethel College in 2004; a Masters in Education from Bethel University in 2009 and a Masters in History and Humanities from Fort Hays State University in 2011.