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Biographies ~ Bidwell, William J. (1844 - 1899)
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William J. Bidwell, came to this State in 1852, when a lad eight years of age. He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, November 30, 1844, the son of John H. and Elizabeth (Hayburn) Bidwell, the former a native of New York and the latter of Pennsylvania. Grandfather Henry Hayburn was a native of the Emerald Isle, who came to the United States when a boy.

Upon their arrival in California, Mr. Bidwell’s father settled at Horsetown, Shasta County, and mined during the winter of 1852. He then engaged in the blacksmith and wagon-making business, which he followed until 1858. In that year they removed to the western part of the county and took up 160 acres of land. After remaining on it three years he sold out, went to Shasta and worked at his trade. William learned the trade with his father, after which he removed to Millville and opened a shop of his own. His father died in 1875 and his mother in 1877. After working at the blacksmith business in Millville for sixteen years, Mr. Bidwell removed to Burney Valley, opened a store and also, in connection with his brother, carried on blacksmithing. They afterward sold their store and shop and purchased 600 acres of land and engaged in stock-raising. He raises both horses and cattle. His ranch contains meadow, grain and pasture land, and is also adapted for fruit, as he has a fine apple orchard on it.

Mr. Bidwell was married in 1871, to Miss Mary A. Harrington, native of Iowa. They have had five children, all born in Shasta County, and all living, namely; Elms, John N., William J., Burney and Nellie. Mr. Bidwell is a Republican. In 1888 he was elected one of the Supervisors of the County, and since he has been a member of the board he has favored the many improvements which have been made, such as building new roads and fine bridges and the construction of the court-house and jail. These much needed improvements are of great value to the County and reflect credit on the Board of Supervisors who so earnestly labored for the public benefit. A number of times, Mr. Bidwell has held office of school trustee in his district. He is an active member of the fraternity of Odd Fellows, having passed all the chairs of the order.

In connection with his mining experience, Mr. Bidwell states that he has taken out as much as $50 per day in placer mines.

Memorial & Biographical History of Northern California The Lewis Publishing Co., 1891 Pages 649-650
Transcribed by: Christine Helmick - August 2004

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