National Eisteddfod of Wales, Sir Conwy 2019
Event Date:9th August
Come to hear Wil Aaron trace the remarkable story of this pioneering woman. There will be an opportunity too to discuss and support a memorial to her in Llandudno.
Societies’ Tent 1, Friday 9 August at 1 o’clock
Simultaneous translation available
Women’s Archive Wales at the Conwy County National Eisteddfod
Our annual session at the National Eisteddfod was held in the Societies’ Unit on Friday 9th August. A large audience of 80 came to hear Wil Aaron, television editor and producer, discussing the colourful life and career of Martha Hughes Cannon (1857-1932) from Llandudno. He explained her family background and the decision they made to emigrate to America to join the Welsh Mormons in Salt Lake City in Utah. Dramatic pictures of the journey to the west were shown and Martha’s early years and education were traced. She decided to qualify as a doctor, but her career was constantly thwarted by her Mormonism and her love for Arthur M Cannon, a prominent Mormon. She became his fourth wife, during a period when polygamy was becoming increasingly unacceptable in the United States. She ran away to Europe to avoid bearing witness against her husband in court.
After returning to America she practised as a doctor and promoted public health and sanitation and women’s health. She also campaigned for women’s suffrage and was instrumental in enshrining these rights in Utah’s constitution. She was elected a state senator in Utah in 1896 - the first woman to be elected as a senator it the USA’s history. She was also nominated for the Senate in Washington.
Betty Williams, the former MP and the first (and last) female to represent Conwy, the President of the ‘Martha’s Stone’ campaign discussed the attempt to raise a memorial to Martha in Llandudno. The aim would be to unveil the memorial during the summer of 2020 when a statue in her memory is to be unveiled in Washington, to complement the memorials to her in Salt Lake City, Utah. She explained that the plans were well in advance but that the campaign had failed to secure Lottery funding. The aim is to re-apply. If this is not successful a fundraising-campaign will be launched to ensure that ‘Martha’s Stone’ would be unveiled in August 2020.
Thanks to Wil and Betty for a very interesting session.