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John Bidwell


Picture of John Bidwell
Date Party Office Votes Result
11-13-1849 Nonpartisan SD-Sacramento 3674 Win
11-08-1864 Union CD-03 18018 Win
09-07-1875 Independent Governor 29752 Loss
11-04-1890 Prohibition Governor 10073 Loss
11-08-1892 Prohibition President 8096 Loss

Candidate Biography:

Born: August 5, 1819 in Chautauqua County, New York
Married: Annie Ellicott Kennedy Bidwell (in 1868)
Military Service: Mexican Army (Micheltorena War of 1844), ARMY (Mexican-American War), State Militia
Died: April 4, 1900 in Chico, CA

1846: Author, Constitution of the California Republic (or the "Bear Flag Republic")
1849: Delegate, First California Constitutional Convention (Did not attend)
1850: Supervised the census of California
1855: Candidate for State Senate (Lost to John B. McGee)
1860: Supervised the census of California
1860: Delegate, Democratic National Convention [LINK]
1861: Changed party affiliation to "Republican"
1864: Delegate, Republican National Convention
1875: Bidwell ran for Governor as a member of the Anti-Monopoly party, although he was listed as Independent on the ballot.
1875: Changed party affiliation to "Prohibition"
1880: Member, Regents of the University of California
1888: Presided over the Prohibition Party state convention.

  • NOTABLE HISTORY: Bidwell was the last surviving Senator from California's first legislature.
  • Bidwell was injured in the explosion of the river steamer "Belle" in 1856, which killed more than 30 people. 
  • NICKNAME: Bidwell is known as "The Father of Chico".
  • PLACENAME: Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park is located in Chico, CA. Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park is located just outside Chico. Bidwell Way is located in Sacramento.
  • PLACENAME: California is home to three Bidwell Elementary Schools (Antioch, Sacramento, and Red Bluff), as well as Bidwell Junior High School (Chico) and Bidwell Continuation High School in Antioch. There was also a Bidwell Elementary in Glendora which closed in 1989.
  • PLACENAME: Bidwell Hall at Chico State University was initially used as a residence hall, later became the student union, and is now just a building on the campus.
  • PLACENAME: The U.S. Army established a Fort Bidwell (the town still retains the name) in Modoc County in 1863. It was abandoned and then reestablished in 1865 and lasted until 1893. The site was transferred to the Department of the Interior and became the Fort Bidwell Indian Reservation.

Source: California's Stately Hall of Fame by Rockwell D. Hunt (1950)
Source: Sacramento Street Whys by Carlos Alcala (2007)
Source: Forts of the West by Robert W. Frazer (1965)
Source: History of Political Conventions in California, 1849-1892 by Winfield J. Davis
Source: Governmental Roster, 1889. State and County Governments of California by W. C. Hendricks
Source: "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-Present" (U.S. Library of Congress) []
Source: "The Names of the President and Senators of the First Senate of the State of California. Convened at the Capitol of San Jose, December the 15th, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty Nine." (1849)