Doctor and Mrs. Agustus B. Cannon
By William W. "Billy" Mahaffey
In the 1920's when my sister Mary Louise Mahaffey was born in Sumner, Florida, Dr. A. B. Cannon was the Cummer Sons' mill doctor. He delivered Mary and numerous other babies in Sumner. When the Sumner mill burned and Cummer relocated the mill to Lacoochee, Dr. and Mrs. Cannon followed. The doctor was soon busy delivering the babies of Cummer's Lacoochee families. Among those were the last three of the Mahaffey children, Jimmy, Harriet and me. Mrs. Cannon assisted Dr. Cannon and served as the registrar sending birth records to the state. Some years later we found out that the way she went about this did not always meet expectations!
At the time of my parents' second daughter's birth, they decided to name her Mary Louise. When they told Mrs. Cannon, she disagreed strongly and indicated that the baby should be named Wilma Mitty for my mother. My parents held firm and named the infant Mary Louise.
Years later Mary's husband, Neil Rollins, was transferred by his employer, American Cyanimid, a drug manufacturing company, to a position in Taiwan, China. Mary and the children were to go with him. Mary needed a copy of her birth certificate to get her passport. When she wrote to the Office of Vital Statistics, the response came back saying that they had no record of a Mary Louise Mahaffey's birth.
After quite a bit of checking, a birth certificate for a Mahaffey baby born on Mary's birth date was found. It seems Mrs. Cannon had her way. The birth certificate was for a Wilma Mitty Mahaffey, not a Mary Louise Mahaffey. And that wasn't all. When Harriet and I needed birth certificates, we found that Mrs. Cannon had not recorded our births. It took a bit of doing to get it all straight, but all three of us eventually got our correct birth certificates. And Mary remained Mary Louise all of her life.