John and Annie Bidwell
- John Bidwell:
1821 - 1900.
- Annie Bidwell:
1839 - 1918.
- John Bidwell
was a rancher, politician, philanthropist, and amateur botanist
and geologist. A pioneer settler in California, he led the first
wagon train to California in 1841. He was a U.S. representative,
and the 1892 Presidential candidate on the Prohibition Party ticket.
- John's wife,
Annie Bidwell, was a civic leader, philanthropist, suffragist, and
temperance reformer. She also carried on a long correspondence with
- The Bidwells
met John Muir on an 1877 botanical expedition to Mt. Shasta and the
headwaters of the Sacramento River with famed Harvard botanist
Asa Gray and his wife, and British botanist Sir
Joseph Hooker. Thus began a life-time friendship of thirty-seven
- After John Bidwell's death, expressing her own and her late husband's
desire, Annie Bidwell donated over 2,000 acres of their ranch along
Chico Creek to the City of Chico, on the condition that it be used
exclusively for a public park. With additional lands added later, Bidwell
Park is now one of the largest
city parks in the country;
certainly the largest on a per capita basis. Their home, the Bidwell
Mansion, was eventually made into a State Historic Park.
- Visit Bidwell
Mansion State Historic Park in Chico, California. For more information:
Portrait of John and Annie Bidwell taken January 1897.
- A new book is: Annie Kennedy Bidwell: In Intimate History by
Lois Halliday McDonald (2004)
of: Bidwell Mansion State Historical Park
Special Collections Dept. Merriam Library, CSU, Chico
Phone: (530) 898-6342.
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