Lee Kannally cowboy artist exhibit on display

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Cowboy artist and local legend Lee Kannally’s art work will be on display at the Kannally House at the Oracle State Park until April 27. Go online to www.azstateparks.com/Parks/ORAC/ for more information, hours of operation and directions.

Pinal Nugget

Lee Kannally was an Oracle cattle rancher, World War I veteran and self taught artist. He was one of five Kannally family members from Illinois that established a ranch in Oracle in the early 1900s. This ranch including the ranch house is now Oracle State Park.

The Kannally family, sisters Mary and Lucille and brothers Neil, Vincent, and Lee each filed homestead patents and then combined their land holdings which extended from Oracle down to what is now San Manuel. The sisters took care of the home while Lee and Neil worked the cattle. Vincent managed the business end of the ranch.

During World War I, Lee joined the Army. After the end of the war in 1918, he would be part of the American Expeditionary Force Siberia which was assigned the task of helping protect the Trans-Siberia Railroad along with other allied forces during the Russian Revolution. The allied forces fought against the Bolsheviks (communists). U.S. forces would leave Russia in 1922 after it was clear that the communists would win the civil war. Lee would return to Oracle in 1919 after suffering exposure to poisonous gas.

His war injuries included nerve damage which caused involuntary muscle movements. He would take up painting as therapy. His sister Lucy would convince him to hang his paintings for others to see. Thirty of these paintings are now hanging in the Kannally Ranch house at Oracle State Park. This exhibit is open to the public and will be on display through April 27, 2014.

John Hernandez (616 Posts)

John Hernandez lives in Oracle. He is retired and enjoys writing and traveling. He is active in the Oracle Historical Society. He covers numerous public events, researches historical features and writes business/artist profiles.


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