Darlington County Commissioner Clayton Cannon: The Honorable Clayton Cannon was born on June 5, 1843 to William Henry Cannon and Biddie James Cannon in Darlington District as a slave.  On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, as the nation approached its third year of a bloody civil war. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward, shall be free".  This seismic event occurred just six months short of young Clayton Cannon’s 20th birthday.

 

 

Darlington County Commissioner  The Honorable Clayton Cannon.

Courtesy of Cannon Family, Brown Family,

The Darlington County Museum of Ethnic Culture,

and The Remembrance Project©

The Reconstruction Period Begins in S.C.  Willie Henry Cannon, his beloved wife Biddie, and siblings were free from the clutches of slavery until the civil war came to an abrupt end in 1865.  Freedom, however, would be short-lived for the Cannon family and other freedmen. The Presidential Reconstruction Act, created by the late President Abraham Lincoln, and enforced by President Andrew Johnson sought to forgive the rebellious order for the purpose of quick reconciliation, and in doing so, forsook the newly freedmen with no protection and scarcity of resources, to the ill-will of their former masters.  In essence, the election of 1865 throughout the South, made those of African-descent slaves, if not with chains, circumstance once again, infuriating Radical Republicans in Congress, prompting the Congressional Reconstruction Act of 1868, which sought to enact and enforce by law both human, social, and civil rights, what the Presidential Reconstruction Act of 1865, failed to do.

 

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S. C. Constitution Convention of 1868 and its aftermath.  The 1868 Constitution Convention held in Charleston, S.C. was attended by Isaac P. Brockenton, Jordan Lang, Richard Humbert, and Benjamin F. Whittemore, from Darlington County leaving a constitution that reflected the saying.. of the people, for the people, and by the people providing the foundation in which future generations could build upon.  In likeness, the 1868’ Constitution of the State of South Carolina sought to provide a God-breathed document that touched or included every subject – man, woman, white, black, poor, and rich.  This document sought to address the ills of the past in areas of citizenship, civil rights, right of self-determination, compulsory and higher education, and social equality. The foundation of education was lauded by all, both republican and democrats, as previously being anemic requiring undergirding by the state of S.C. Government being set firmly on a solid foundation - the Constitution.  Article X Section 1 of the constitution established the Superintendent of Education Office.  He shall be  duly elected by qualified electors of the State in such manner and at such time to be selected as the other officers are elected, his powers; duties, term of office, and compensation shall be defined by the General Assembly. Article X Section 2, there shall be elected biennially, in each County, by the qualified voters thereof, one School Commission, said Commissioners to constitute a State Board of  Education of which the Superintendent of Education shall by virtue of his office, be Chairman; the powers, duties, and compensation of the said Board shall be determined by law.

The 1868 Constitution of the State of South Carolina..

Courtesy of Internet Community

 

 

 

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Public Servant.  The life of the Honorable Clayton Cannon after slavery was destined to be one of public service within the county, community, and state beginning in the field of Education within the Darlington County School District, however shortlived, it may have been.

The fight for SC Public Education begins.  The author of the education provisions within the Constitution was none other than Senator Justus K. Jillson (below). He was one of many Northern educators which included Benjamin Franklin Whittemore from Massachusetts, employed by the freedmen’s Bureau to educate black children.  As a Republican, he was elected as the first State Superintendent of Education with tenure from 1868 - 1876.

 

 

Superintendent of Education Justus K. Jillson.

Courtesy of sites.rootsweb.com/~blenderman/Blenderman/fg01/fg01_135.html

Darlington County School Commissioner. Able-bodied men, shortly thereafter, began to throw their hat into the political arena of public service to engage in this new venture called democracy.  As a public servant, Clayton Cannon was elected during the October 1870' timeframe by qualified voters as Darlington County School Commissioner.  As a County School Commissioner, he was also a Board Member, along with John G. Gatlin and Francis D. Smith, which comprised the Darlington County School Board.  As Darlington County School Commissioner, Clayton Cannon along with Board Members, ensured the county would provide funded and staffed schools for compulsory education.  Attendance would either be public or private settings of all children between the ages of six and sixteen, not physically or mentally disabled, for a term equivalent to twenty-four months as dictated by the state of South Carolina Constitution of 1868 Article X Sections 3 and 4.

 

 

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Darlington County School Commissioner - continued.  Darlington County Commissioners were elected during the early fall season of 1870, along with others representatives serving South Carolina, being listed throughout newspapers, within the state. Funding for public education came in the form of annual tax levied by the General Assembly, at each regular session, on all taxable property, through the state for the support of public schools. This tax shall be collected at the same time and by the same agents at the same time as the general state levy, and shall be paid into the Treasury of the State.  There shall be assessed on all taxable polls in the State as an annual tax of one dollar, $1, the proceeds of which tax shall be applied solely to educational purposes. The distribution of the School Tax shall be distributed among the several School Districts of the State in proportion to the number of pupils attending the public schools as noted in Article X, Section 5 of said Constitution.

 

Thu, November 10, 1870’ Darlington County School Commissioners.

Courtesy of The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, S.C.) Newspapers.com

 

 

 

 

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Threats and murder assail from the KKK. Hindrances to the daily functioning democracy came in the form of white terrorism by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in the form of assassinations of both Representatives and Senators.  Orangeburg County Senator Benjamin F. Randolph

(below) was assassinated while changing trains at Hodges' Depot in Hodges, S.C. on October 16, 1868 and Darlington County House of

Representative Member Alfred Rush on May 13, 1876 in Rush Township.

 

 

Orangeburg Senator - Honorable Benjamin F. Randolph.

Courtesy of S.C. Department of Archives and History

and The Remembrance Project©

 

  Why was violence and assassinations necessary during this period as one investigative journalist would state -  because a functioning democracy representing all people was working. 

 

 

 

 

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Threats and murder assail from the KKK - continued.  General Order #14 issued Friday, May 26, 1871 by the KKK HQs. 51st Division demanding the immediate resignation of Clayton Cannon and other Darlington County Elected Officials from office or face the consequences:

Fri. May 26, 1871, KKK 51st Division General Order #14.

Courtesy of The Charleston Daily News (Charleston, SC) Newspaper.com

 

 

 

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Educational Improvements in South Carolina.  In 1874, a summary by Rep. Samuel J. Lee of Aiken County, and first African American Speaker of the House in the state of South Carolina, on the improvements to the state's educational system made under the Republican Leadership during the period was provided:

 

Representative Samuel J. Lee, Speaker of the House.

Courtesy of South Carolina Dept. of Archives & History

 

  "Permit me, now to refer to our increased educational advantages. It is very pleasing, gentlemen, to witness how rapidly the schools are springing up in

 

every portion of our State, and how the number of competent, well-trained teachers are increasing....Our State University has been renovated

 

and made progressive, New Professors, men of unquestionable ability and erudition, now fill the chairs once filled by men who were too aristocratic to

 

instruct colored youths.  A system of scholarships has been established that will, as soon as it practically in operation, bring into the University a very

 

large number of students... The State Normal School is also situated here, and will have a fair attendance of scholars.

 

We have, also, Claflin University, at Orangeburg, which is well attended, and progressing very favorably; and in different cities

 

and large towns of the State, school houses have been built, and  the school master can be found there busily

 

instructing "the young idea how to shoot" [a quotation from poet James Thomson, who uses "shoot" to mean grow" or "advance"]. The effects of

 

education can also be perceived; the people are becoming daily more enlightened;  their minds are expanding, and they have awakened, in a great

 

degree, from the mental darkness that hitherto surrounded them...."

 

 

Excerpt, 1874 South Carolina Final Report, Journal of the House of Representatives,

of the State of South Carolina, for Regular Session of 1874 -1874.

Courtesy of Internet Community

 

 

 

 

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Darlington County Commissioner.   During the August - September 1872 timeframe, Clayton Cannon was elected Darlington County Commissioner along with Francis D. Smith and Gustave Hoffman (Hoffmeyer) deemed the County Board of Commissioners. 

 

 

Wed, November 20, 1872’ Darlington County Elected Officials.

Courtesy of The Charleston Daily News (Charleston, S.C.) Newspapers.com

The office of County Commissioner was created under Article IV Sections 19 and 25, which addressed assigned duties, board composition, and provisions are the following:

Under Article IV, The Judicial Department within The Constitution of the State of South Carolina dated March 17, 1868 in Section 19The qualified electors of each County shall elect three persons for the term of two years, who shall constitute a Board of County Commissioners which shall have jurisdiction over roads, highways, ferries, bridges, and in all matters relating to taxes, disbursements of money for County purposes, and in every other case that may be necessary to the internal improvement and local concerns of the respective Counties.  Provided, That in all cases there shall be the right of appeal to the State Courts and Section 25 of the said Constitution, The Judges of Probate, County Commissioners, Justices of the Peace, and Constables, shall receive for the services such compensation and fees as the

purposes, and in every other case that may be necessary to the internal improvement and local concerns of the respective Counties.  Provided, That in all cases there shall be the right of appeal to the State Courts and Section 25 of the said Constitution, The Judges of Probate, County Commissioners, Justices of the Peace, and Constables, shall receive for the services such compensation and fees as the General Assembly may from time to time by law direct. These two sections within the Constitution of the State of South Carolina of 1868’ established the criteria in which the Board of County Commissioners were to be elected, their assigned duties, and how they were to be sustained or paid.

 

 

 

 

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Annual Spending Report of the Comptroller General for State of S.C. As dictated by the General Assembly, in accordance with the state of S.C. Constitution of 1868, annual spending reports for the office of Darlington County Commissioner and Board for the year were required to document expenditures for daily operations of each state District:

 

 

 

Comptroller General of the State of South Carolina Annual Spending Report

Fiscal Year Ending October 31, 1873.

Report and Resolution of the General Assembly

for the State of S.C. at the Regular Session, 1873-1874

Republican Printing Company State Printers, Columbia, S.C., 1874

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Darlington County Commissioners’ Accounts and Jury Tickets.  Darlington County Commissioners’ Accounts for each commissioner and Jury Ticket Payments for those citizens having performed their constitutional duty as a jury member.

 

Darlington County Commissioner Accounts and Jury Tickets.

Courtesy of Report and Resolution of the General Assembly

for the State of S.C. at the Regular Session, 1873-1874

Republican Printing Company State Printers, Columbia, S.C., 1874

 

 

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Claim submitted on behalf of Darlington County Commissioner Clayton Cannon.  On Wednesday, January 13, 1875, Darlington County Senator Benjamin F. Whittemore presented a claim on behalf of Darlington County Commissioner Clayton Cannon for services rendered in 1874.

Senator Benjamin F. Whittemore presents claim for extra services

rendered by Darlington County Commissioner Clayton Cannon

before the S.C. Senate.

Courtesy of The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, S.C.)

 Newspapers.com, Thu, Jan. 14, 1875

 

 

 

 

 

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Darlington County Board of Commissioners Estimate for the Year 1874. State of South Carolina estimates for Darlington County made up for the year of 1874 by the Board of County Commissioners.

 

 

Darlington County Estimates for the Year 1874.

Courtesy of Report and Resolution of the General Assembly

for the State of S.C. at the Regular Session, 1873-1874

Republican Printing Company State Printers, Columbia, S.C., 1874

 

 

 

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Board of Darlington County Commissioners Vacancy. Darlington County Commissioner Francis D. Smith absent from his charge left only Commissioner Clayton Cannon to serve in this dual capacity. He was the “only” board member necessitating Chairman, Darlington County Board of Commissioners Boykin W. McIver to write S.C. Governor Franklin J. Moses to “urgently” fill this vacancy on March 27, 1874.

 

 

Board of County Commissioners Vacancy, March 27, 1874.

Courtesy of the Darlington County Historical Commission

 

 

 

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A supporter of the Party of LincolnIn April 1896, Clayton Cannon was a Republican State Attendee at the SC Republican Convention where he was appointed Assistant Sergeant At Arms second only to Sergeant At Arms Keen Addison.  By definition, the Sergeant of Arms and his deputy are chief law enforcement officers for the convention with the authority to find and retrieve errant senators and representatives, arrest or detain anyone causing disruptions, and control access to the convention.  Two months later, on June 16 -18, 1896, the Republican National Convention was held in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Missouri Hall with Ohio Governor William McKinley being nominated for President and Garret A. Hobart, a New Jersey Banker, being nominated as Vice President. Source: Greenwood Daily Journal, Page 1, Thu, 23 April 1896, Greenwood, S.C.

 

 

1896 Republican National Convention, St. Louis, Mo., Missouri Hall.

Courtesy of the Internet Community

 

 

1896 Republican National Convention Guest Ticket.

Courtesy of the Internet Community

 

 

 

 

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A supporter of the Party of Lincoln - continued.  On June 16 -18, 1896, the Republican National Convention was held in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Missouri Hall with Ohio Governor being nominated for President and Garret A. Hobart, a New Jersey Banker, for Vice President.  Source: Greenwood Daily Journal, Page 1, Thu, 23 April 1896, Greenwood, S.C

 

1896’ National Republican Party Presidential – Vice President Ticket Placard.

Courtesy of Internet Community

 

 

 

 

 

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Community Life.  For community and spiritual well-being, the honorable Clayton Cannon provided the deed to purchased land for Mizpah Presbyterian Church (below), Darlington, S.C., August 18, 1899, one half acre delivered to Jonathan Jefferson, on the following page.

 

 

Mizpah Presbyterian Church, 498 Washington Street, Darlington, S.C.

Courtesy of The Darlington County Museum of Ethnic Culture and The Remembrance Project©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Community Life - continued. For community and spiritual well-being, the honorable Clayton Cannon provided the deed to purchased land for Mizpah Presbyterian Church, Darlington, S.C., August 18, 1899, one half acre delivered to Jonathan Jefferson, (below).

 

Mizpah Presbyterian Church Land Deed.

Courtesy of the Darlington County Historical Commission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Family Life.   The Honorable Clayton Cannon is listed in the 1880’ United States (U.S.) Federal Census being employed as a brick mason and head of household married to Elizabeth (1860 – 1923), a housekeeper, and no children. 

 

Elizabeth Cannon, wife of the Honorable Clayton Cannon.

Courtesy of Cannon Family, Brown Family, The Darlington County

Museum of Ethnic Culture, and The Remembrance Project©

 

 

 

 

 

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Family Life- continuedDuring the 1900’ US Federal Census of Darlington County, the Cannon Family is found living on Depot Street as a farming family. Their union was blessed with eight children which are the following: Ida Cannon, born September 1872, became a teacher, William Cannon, born November 1874, was a harness maker, Alice Cannon, born March 1877, Louise Cannon, born January 1881, Charlie J. Cannon, born in 1882, was a brick mason and married to Ethel, Clayton Cannon, Jr., born November 1884, George Cannon, born October 1883, and Mary B. Cannon, born September 1892.

 

Son of the Honorable Clayton Cannon.

Courtesy of Cannon Family, Brown Family, The Darlington County

Museum of Ethnic Culture, and The Remembrance Project©

 

 

 

 

Death.  The Honorable Clayton Cannon died on January 16, 1918 at the age of 74 in the city of Darlington, S.C.  A symbol of a life well

lived.

 

 

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