Annie Bidwell

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Annie Bidwell
Annie Bidwell school girl.jpeg
Born
Annie Ellicott Kennedy

(1839-06-30)June 30, 1839
Meadville, Pennsylvania
DiedMarch 9, 1918(1918-03-09) (aged 78)
Chico, California
NationalityAmerican
Spouse(s)
John Bidwell (m. 1868–1900)
his death


Annie Kennedy Bidwell (1839–1918), with her husband John Bidwell, was a 19th-century pioneer and founder of society in the Sacramento Valley area of California. She is known for her contributions to social causes, such as women's suffrage, the temperance movement, and education.[1] Annie Bidwell was a friend and correspondent of Susan B. Anthony, Frances Willard, and John Muir.

Biography[edit]

Annie Ellicott Kennedy was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania on June 30, 1839.[2] she was the daughter of Joseph C. G. Kennedy[1], a politician in the Whig party, who served as director of the United States Census for 1850 and 1860. The Kennedy family lived in Washington, D.C. from Annie's 10th year.[2]

She married John Bidwell on April 16, 1868 in Washington, D.C..[3] Their wedding guests included Elizabeth Cady Stanton, President Andrew Johnson and future president Ulysses S. Grant. After their marriage, Annie returned with her new husband to his home in Chico, California.[4]

Annie Bidwell, 1910

While her husband was alive, Bidwell was concerned for the future of the local Mechoopda Native Americans[2] She was active in state and national Indian associations. An amateur botanist, she collected the first known specimen of a small annual plant, which was named Bidwell's knotweed (Polygonum bidwelliae), after her.[5]

After her husband's death, Bidwell continued to live in Chico, the town her late husband had founded. Before her death, she donated to the city of Chico on July 10, 1905, some 2,238 acres (almost ten square miles) of land[6], along with a Children's Park in downtown. Since then the land has remained in the public trust and is now known as Bidwell Park.

She died on March 9, 1918 in Chico, California.[1]

Legacy[edit]

The Bidwell Mansion in Chico is now preserved as a state historic park. While Annie and John Bidwell resided in the mansion, they were hosts to many prominent figures of their era, including: President Rutherford B. Hayes, General William T. Sherman, Susan B. Anthony, Frances Willard, Governor Leland Stanford, John Muir, and Asa Gray.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Guide to the Annie Ellicott Kennedy Bidwell Papers, 1842-1918". Online Archive of California. California Digital Library. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "John & Annie". Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park. 22 August 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Bidwell Mansion SHP". CA State Parks. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Annie Kennedy Bidwell: An Intimate History by Lois H. McDonald". Heidelberg Graphics. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  5. ^ Bidwell Park - Park Plant Inventory Archived 2010-10-27 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "John and Ann Bidwell - Influential People in John Muir's Life". John Muir Exhibit - Sierra Club. Retrieved 22 May 2019.

Further reading[edit]

Annie Kennedy Bidwell: An Intimate History by Lois Halliday McDonald. 2004, Stansbury Publishing, Chico, California. ISBN 0-9708922-7-6