In one of the comments below, Judy Miller of the Utah State government asked about the image of the prisoners in our masthead. A large, framed version of this photograph hangs in my office, so I thought I would say a little about it.
This is a photograph of George Q. Cannon, then First Counselor in the First Presidency to John Taylor, and other polygamists taken while Cannon was incarcerated for unlawful cohabitation (polygamy) during the 1880s. Cannon was repeatedly arrested for polygamy. The first time was in the early 1870s (1872?), when federal officials indited Brigham Young and the other leaders of the church en mass for polygamy as well as murder, treason, and conspiracy. (The other charges were based on the theory that Brigham ordered the Mountain Meadows massacre.) Ultimately, these inditments were dismissed when the Supreme Court held that federal officials had illegally circumvented local control of the grand jury process. Later in the 1880s, Cannon was arrested by U.S. Marshalls while taking a train across Nevada to California. Cannon jumped from the train to elude law enforcement. Ultimately, he gave himself up to authorities and was sentenced to several months in the Territorial Penetentiary, where this photograph was taken. The Penetentiary stood on the land that is now Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City.
Cannon is seated in the center of the photo, holding a plant. The man seated at the center front who is not wearing prison clothing is George Reynolds. He was the secretary to the First Presidency, and at Cannon’s request he was the defendant in a test case for the constitutionality of federal anti-polygamy laws. When Reynolds lost his case in the U.S. Supreme Court he was sentenced to prison. That case occurred in the 1870s, roughly a decade before this photo was taken, by which time Reynolds had been free for some time.
The only other figure I have identifies is the man on the far left who is not wearing prison clothes. This is Frank Cannon. He was George Q. Cannon’s son. He was a marginally active Mormon, but a very active Republican, which made him a rare thing in 1880s Utah. At this time, Frank was actively working as a political lobbyist and strategist for the Church. After statehood, he became embittered against the Church. He served one term as a Utah Senator, but was subsequently defeated, at least in part because of the intervention of Joseph F. Smith, also an active Republican, who supported a rival GOP faction. As a result, Cannon left the Church — and Utah — moving to Colorado where, with a journalist ghost writer he produced an expose of church interference in Utah politics entitled “Under the Prophet in Utah.” The villian in the piece was, not surprisingly, Joseph F. Smith, but Frank also wrote critically of the federal anti-polygamy crusade and defended the political actions of his father.
You will notice that there is a watermark in this photograph. That is because the electronic version you are seeing is housed on the University of Utah website. The U of U has a copy of the photograph in their collection. The original negative — from which my photograph was made — is in the Church archives. I figure it is a good picture for a Mormon lawyer to have in his office. My judge loves it, and regularlly brings around visitors to show them “the leaders of the Mormon church” in prison.