Donations to the Collection

Two items have been donated to the museum collection by a sixth generation descendent of Rev. Bidwell.

Monterey resident Judy Hayes is a direct descendent of John Devotion Bidwell and Luna Selina Welch, the last of the Bidwell family to live at the museum. John Devotion inherited the house and property from his father Adonijah, the younger, who had inherited it from Rev. Bidwell.

Mrs. Hayes has donated the wedding dress worn by her grandmother Helen Higley when she married Orlando Curtiss Bidwell in 1891. Orlando was the great grandson of John Devotion. The dress is two-piece ivory satin with lace embellishments on the jacket and skirt. The skirt is full length with a bustle and train. The wedding dress was part of the Heirloom Clothing Exhibit set up for the 150th celebration of Monterey this past summer.

In addition, Mrs Hayes has donated a book, which belonged to Amelia A. Bidwell, granddaughter of Barnabas Bidwell and Betsy Curtiss. Barnabas was the brother of John Devotion and was born and raised at The Bidwell House. The book is titled How To Know the Wild Flowers by Mrs. William Starr Dana and was illustrated by Marion Satterlee. Charles Scribner’s Sons published it in New York in 1898. The book contains a signature on the first page which reads “Amelia A. Bidwell –June 1899” . There is also a list of wild flowers with their common and botanical names written in blue ink and pencil; a small pencil drawing of a wild ginger plant; and two pressed specimens of flowers and a leaf located next to illustrations of the same in the book.

The museum thanks Mrs. Hayes and all those who have made generous donations to the collection in the past.

Bidwell House members Mr.and Mrs. John Mason Harding have donated a two-seater, 19th century, one-horse carriage and a one-horse farm wagon to the museum’s collection.

The carriage is a very finely designed vehicle which was probably reserved for transportation to special events like church service or visiting family and friends. It retains the original black leather screen and evidence of black and red paint. The tufted seat cushions have the original black cloth upholstery.

The farm wagon has the original green paint with yellow trim. The design is of a standard wagon built for heavy duty farm use. The Bidwell House does have an original receipt dated June 1815 (which would be Adonijah the Younger’s tenure) that states the purchase of a “four wheeled carriage paid to Colonel Danforth for 2 dollars”. These two items are a great addition to the museum’s collection of household and farming equipment. A descendent of Reverend Bidwell and museum member, Mary Denton Engle, has donated a book that has been handed down to her through her grandmother, Louise Bidwell Denton. The book is leather bound and the full title is “Logick: Or, The Inquiry After Truth, With A Variety Of Rules To Guard Against Error, In The Affairs Of Religion And Human Life, As Well As In The Sciences.” by Isaac Watts, D.D. published in London in 1732. On the front page is the signature “Adonijah Bidwell’s Book 1793”. This signature belongs to Adonijah the Younger, Reverend Bidwell’s oldest son who inherited The Bidwell House upon his father’s death in 1784. This book is a welcome addition to the museum’s book collection. And we are honored that Mrs. Engle and her family chose to donate it to the museum.