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Register of the Cannon-Walker Family Collection, 1891-1950
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Cannon-Walker Family Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1891-1950
    Collection number: Mss255
    Creator: Donald B. Walker
    Extent: 3.5 linear ft.
    Repository: University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
    Stockton, CA 95211
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Cannon-Walker Family Collection, Mss255, Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

    Access Points

    personal name

    Cannon, Marion (1834-1920)
    Walker, Marion R. (1915-)
    Bramblett, Ernest K.
    Ushijima, Kinji (1864-1926)
    Chin Lung
    Walker, Donald Burke (1941-)

    corporate name

    People's Party of California
    California State Farmer's Alliance & Industrial Union
    Democratic Party (Calif.)


    Populism -California
    Economics -United States -19th century
    Politics, Practical -California
    Political corruption -California
    Chinese Americans -California -San Joaquin County
    Japanese Americans -California -San Joaquin County
    Filipino Americans -California -San Joaquin County
    Mexican Americans -California -San Joaquin County
    Korean Americans -California -San Joaquin County
    East Indian Americans -California -San Joaquin County
    Agricultural laborers -California -San Joaquin County
    Agriculture -California -San Joaquin County -History
    Crops -California -San Joaquin County
    San Joaquin County (Calif.) -History
    San Joaquin County (Calif.) -Race relations


    The Cannon-Walker family came to California in 1850. The family have been particularly active in mining, agriculture and public affairs. They are represented in this collection by the papers of men from three different generations: Marion Cannon (1834-1920); Marion R. Walker, Cannon's grandson (1915-); and, Donald B. Walker, PhD., Cannon's great grandson, (1941-). Trained in blacksmithing, Marion Cannon practiced that trade near Nevada City, using his earnings to acquire mining claims. By 1857, he owned the Vulcan Mine, the fourth largest hydraulic operation in Nevada County. Cannon gradually became involved in public affairs, being first elected State Grand Steward of the Masonic Order (1860) and subsequently Recorder of Nevada County (1867). In 1873, he purchased land in Ventura County and moved his family there. Cannon farmed barley, beans, apricots, and walnuts for more than a decade before again involving himself in public life. As a farmer, he came to know at first-hand the railroad's strangle-hold on the distribution of farm produce. Although a lifelong Democrat, Cannon saw that neither political party in California was sufficiently free of railroad influence to fight its excesses for the popular good. Thus, he helped to organize farmers, outside the two party system, in opposition to the railroad's power: first, through the Farmers' Alliance, and, later, through the Populist Party. An effective leader, Cannon was chosen first President of the California Farmers' Alliance (1890) and two years later, when the Alliance joined with labor organizations to create the Populist Party, delegates to the State Convention chose Marion Cannon to run for the 6th Congressional District seat, representing the voters of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. He was subsequently nominated by the Democratic Party, as well, and, in November 1892, Cannon was elected to the House of Representatives, where he served one term before being abandoned by the Populist Party as a result of disagreements with other Party leaders over his association with the Democratic Party. Cannon's political views were generally those expressed in the Populist Party platform of 1892. He favored woman suffrage, government ownership of railways and the popular election of senators, but was less committed to the cause of Free Silver.
    Marion R. Walker was born and raised on his grandfather's Ventura ranch. Following his graduation from Stanford University (1936), Walker returned to Ventura and began a career in agriculture. He soon became involved in state-wide efforts to revitalize the Democratic Party through creation of the grass-roots California Democratic Clubs. These efforts led to his being nominated as a candidate for the 11th District Congressional seat (1949). Although Walker ran well, the district had a Republican majority registration and he was defeated by the Republican incumbent. His political views, like those of his grandfather, were liberal. He was pro-labor, pro-civil rights and spoke out against the "witch hunt" tactics of the House Un-American Activities Committee and Senator Joseph McCarthy. In 1959, Governor Edmund G. Brown appointed Walker to the State Water Commission, where he served ten years, participating in the planning and construction of the California Aqueduct.
    Donald B. Walker, Ph.D., great grandson of Marion Cannon, is an Archivist and Historian living in San Joaquin County.

    Scope and Content

    Marion Cannon is largely represented in this collection by correspondence, speeches, newspaper clippings, political pamphlets and biographical materials relevant to his most important years of public life (1890-1895). Also of interest is his diary of a train trip from Emigrant Gap to Wheeling, West Virginia (1872). Marion R. Walker is represented by correspondence, speeches, position papers, clippings, government and party publications, and biographical materials related to his congressional election campaign (1949-50). Donald B. Walker is represented in this collection chiefly by notes he has taken on non-White minorities in San Joaquin county agriculture. Of particular interest are Walker's indexes of minorities and agricultural topics derived from local newspapers and county land records (1900-1925).