04 December, 2017

Collection Item 98: Cabinet Card of Shannon Kennicot Pepper and Brent Hawkins Pepper

We have discovered little so far within the Hawkins Strongbox that provides details of the passionate and sometimes contentious relationship between Geoffrey Hawkins and Shannon Kennicot. The two met as teenagers in their native Dixton in the late 1860s. A desultory courtship ensued over the next decade, culminating in the birth of their out-of-wedlock son Brent Hawkins, on 1 December, 1877.  Thirteen years later, mother and son posed for a photograph at Deakin Bro's studio in London. Collection Item 98 is a cabinet card of that photograph.

Item 98 has been designated as part of Lot 15: Frontier Ephemera. Robert Deakin sent the card to Geoffrey Hawkins when Hawkins was staying at the Timberjack Ranch in Nevada during the autumn of 1890. Included with the card was the following missive:
     I hope this finds you well. Young Brent asked me to send you this copy, despite his mother's objections. Your son is wise beyond his years. He may not know of the Society and the troubles with Cyncad, but he seems to truly sense you are not the devil his mother portrays you to be.  Shannon does it all to protect Brent, of this I am certain, but he will chart his own course, I am sure.
     They live comfortably as Roderick's inheritance provides for their needs. The Society endeavours to keep them safe. I hope the image cheers you as you continue to try to squelch this evil that has beset us these too many years.
                                                              Stay safe my friend,
The note was dated 9 September 1890.

It can be assumed the Geoffrey Hawkins wanted to shield Brent and his mother from the dangers of Enoch Cyncad and thereby initiated the estrangement that Robert Deakin alludes to in the missive.

Shannon Kennicot married book publisher Roderick Pepper in 1879. Pepper in turn adopted Brent on the occasion of  the boy's fifth birthday.  Roderick Pepper died suddenly in 1888, leaving the inheritance that Deakin makes reference to. Upon reaching adulthood, Brent would join the Society of the Mechanical Sun and shortly thereafter, fight along side his father at the infamous Battle of Silver Mountain.

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