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Charles Weldon Cannon, known as Tooter Cannon (January 14, 1915 —March 14, 1997), was a widely recognized manufacturer of boots and saddles in rural Dickensmarker, Texasmarker.

Cannon was the last of nine children born to Charles Ira Cannon (1871-1920) and the former Mattie Cordial Snodgrass (1870-1956) on a working ranch in Aftonmarker in Dickens Countymarker in West Texas. He was given his unusual nickname as a child by his father. As a teenager, he learned boot and saddlemaking techniques to help the cowboys obtain a proper fit on their horses. He also worked on other ranches in Arizonamarker, New Mexicomarker, and Nevadamarker, as well as Texas.

He broke horses for the U.S. government during World War II at El Renomarker in Canadian Countymarker, Oklahomamarker. After the war, he operated two leather goods businesses in Tulsamarker, where his clients included the city police. In 1949, he returned to Dickens County and settled in the Spurmarker community. He relocated to Dickens in 1964. After 1970, he concentrated exclusively until his death on saddlemaking. His Tooter Cannon Saddles were prized by ranchers and rodeo riders because they were designed to fit the contour of the horse. A Tooter Cannon saddle or a pair of his boots is usually passed down within families. It is rare to find anything made by Cannon for sale on the open market. His work is found in a number of private collections. Customers often waited for Cannon to fill their orders, rather than finding other available saddlemakers.

Cannon, who outlived all of his siblings, died in a Lubbockmarker hospital at the age of eighty-two. He was a former two-term member of the Dickens Town Council. He was Methodist. Survivors included his second wife, the former Grace Adeline Roberts, then Grace Wheeler (July 11, 1908—February 14, 2000), whom he married on April 22, 1957, in Santa Femarker, New Mexico; a daughter, Leanora Cannon Houwen, then of Santa Mariamarker in Santa Barbara Countymarker, Californiamarker, but who later returned to Dickens; two stepsons, Kenneth Wheeler of Hobbsmarker, New Mexico, and Bill Wheeler of San Antoniomarker, eleven grandchildren, nineteen great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. Cannon also had an older sister named "Grace". Charles and Grace Cannon are interred at Dickens Cemetery.

Over the years, Cannon was cited in newspaper articles, books, magazines, and even a television special. He is permanently honored in the saddlemaking exhibit at the National Ranching Heritage Centermarker in Lubbock.

See also

  • Joe Bowman, bootmaker, marksman, and Western entertainer


References





Replica of Cannon Saddle Shop at National Ranching Heritage Center



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