Dr. George Emmet Cannon was born near Ozan, Hempstead County, Arkansas in 1870 and was educated in this county. He continued his studies at the Ouachita College and the University of Louisville, Kentucky. He married Miss Josephine Lile of Waldo, Arkansas in 1897. Dr. Cannon practiced as a sawmill surgeon in southern Arkansas, northern Louisiana, and in Magnolia, Arkansas for three years before moving to Hope, Arkansas. In 1915, he built a hospital in Hope and named it the Josephine Hospital in honor of his wife. In 1920, he built another, much larger hospital and this became the first accredited privately owned hospital in the state.
Dr. Cannon was a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. During his career, he attended twenty-five post graduate courses including ones in New Orleans, Philadelphia, Boston, and Mayo Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota.
Like many other country doctors, Dr. Cannon’s transportation included horseback to T-Model cars as he made many house calls to his patients. The doctor was a very religious man and sitting with seriously ill patients at night he wrote a small book, “Nights with Christ”, which began with the birth of Jesus, including walking on the water at the fourth watch and on to praying at Gethsemane.
Dr. Cannon, like many earlier country doctors was civic minded. He served on the school board several years, built and donated the major part of the cost of the Hempstead County Library located in the city of Hope. The doctor’s philanthropy included Ouachita Baptist College, where he built and donated a sixteen bed infirmary. Many ministerial students were helped both financially and morally by Dr. Cannon.
Dr. Cannon was known as a big, strong man with tenderness and love touching the heartstrings of his patients. He was still practicing medicine when he died in 1952, at the age of 82.