Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BIDWELL, John, politician, born in Chautauqua County, New York, 5 August 1819. In 182.9 he settled with his parents in Erie, Pennsylvania, and in 1831 removed to Ashtabula County, where he was educated in Kingsville academy. During the winter of 1838-'9 he taught school in Darke County, and subsequently for two )-ears in Missouri. In 1841 he immigrated to California, being one of the first to make the journey overland, which occupied at that time six months. On the Pacific coast he had charge of Bodega and Fort Russ, and also of General Sutter's Feather River possessions. He served in the war with Mexico until its close, rising from second lieutenant to major, and was among the first to find gold in 1848 on Feather river. In 1849 he was a member of the state constitutional convention, and during the same year became a member of the senate of the new state. He was one of the committee appointed to convey a block of gold-bearing quartz to Washington in 1850, and was a delegate to the national democratic convention held in Charleston in 1860. Since then he has been a Brigadier-General of the militia, and in 1864 he was elected a representative from California to congress, serving from 4 December 1865, to 3 March 1867. He was a delegate to the Philadelphia convention in 1866, and in 1875 he was candidate for governor of California, but was defeated.
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