Dr. Martha Cannon of Utah
Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon was no hands-on-the-plow pioneer. She was no stereotypical polygamous wife. Nor was she a prim lady who blushed at the word "legs." Victorian Mormons were proud to lead the way in empowering women. "Verily the world progresseth," exclaimed the Deseret Evening News on March 17, 1869, celebrating a Congressional bill to give Utah women the vote. But the federal intention to have female suffrage in Utah destroy polygamy failed. The 1882 Edmunds Act made "cohabitation" a felony. To protect her polygamous husband, she fled to England with their infant daughter. Upon her return, she reestablished her medical practice and opened Utah's first training school for nurses. Nominated by local Democrats, Mattie ran against her husband for state senate in 1896 - beating him by four thousand votes. Author Joan Jacobson chronicles an extraordinary life remarkably relevant for today.