June 30th, 2020
Better Days 2020 has more information about this incredible woman written by Rebekah Clark.
Dr. Martha Maria "Mattie" Hughes Cannon (July 1, 1857 – July 10, 1932)
Dr. Cannon was a Utah State Senator, physician, Utah women's rights advocate suffragist, polygamous wife, and a Welsh-born immigrant to the United States. Her family immigrated to the United States as converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and traveled West to settle in Utah territory with other Saints.
She started working at the age of fourteen. At sixteen she enrolled in the University of Deseret, now called the University of Utah, receiving a Bachelors in Chemistry. From there she attended the University of Michigan and received her MD.
She became the fourth of six wives in a polygamous marriage to Angus M. Cannon, a prominent Latter-day Saint leader during the anti-polygamy crusade. Cannon exiled herself to Europe so she wouldn't have to testify against her husband.
Upon returning to Utah, Cannon worked as a doctor and fought for women's rights. She helped put women enfranchisement into Utah's constitution when it was granted statehood in 1896. On November 3, 1896 Cannon became the first female State Senator elected in the United States, defeating her own husband, who was also on the ballot.
Martha Hughes Cannon was the author of Utah sanitation laws and was a founder and member of Utah's first State Board of Health.: