|Dr. Cannon often used short wave radio to communicate
in the remote areas of the county, 1961.
LeGette Blythe is the biography of Dr. Gaine Cannon and his work to provide
medical care for the people of the more isolated areas of Transylvania and
Jackson counties in the mid-1900s.
was born in Rosman and raised in Pickens, South Carolina. His father, Dr.
James Cannon was a physician in Pickens but often returned to Rosman to
provided medical care for the people in the western part of Transylvania County.
|Dr. Cannon preparing medication in the hospital pharmacy, 1961.
briefly covers the years of Cannon’s youth, his education, time in the Army and
early private practice. As a young man, Cannon came to be a great admirer
of Dr. Albert Schweitzer. He had stumbled onto an article about
Schweitzer’s work in Africa during a time when he was questioning his personal
religious beliefs. This led to a lifelong study of Schweitzer and a
shared philosophy for life that would affect Cannon and his patients.
later, when Cannon’s hectic life demanded he slow down he came home to the
mountains to recuperate—“to think and ponder, to consider nature and man and
God, the attributes of each, the role of each in the grand scheme of
|Dr. Cannon and a nurse inside the obstetrics ward at the
Albert Schweitzer Hospital complex in Balsam Grove, 1961.
the local people learned that a doctor was living nearby and flocked to his
little cabin Cannon immediately returned to work. He soon had a busier
schedule than ever. Cannon stated, “My office hours are day and night
throughout the week.” He served the people around Balsam Grove no matter what
time they arrived at his door or called and never turned away a patient who was
unable to pay. He believed that by caring for those with limited access
to medical care he was, in a small way, following Schweitzer’s model for the
reverence of life.
tells of Cannon’s compassion, dedication and respect for the people of the
Balsam Grove area and their love, support and respect for Doc Cannon and his
dream of building a hospital in their community.
Mountain Doctor was published in 1964, two years before
Gaine Cannon’s death. Copies of the book
are available at the Transylvania County Library.
Photographs and information for this column
are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library.
Visit the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more
about our history and see additional photographs. For more information,
comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at