Luckily for Major Bidwell, the Sacramento Daily Union was in error.
After the explsion of the steamboat Belle, John Bidwell was taken back to Sacramento and to a doctor. Evidently (if the newspaper notice can be trusted that far) he eventually went back to Chico. He either had a relapse, or needed further care, because by March 10 he was back in Sacramento.
Bidwell, as one of the oldest American residents in California, the owner of a vast rancho, and a former state senator, was one of the best known men in California. He was certainly the most prominent passenger on the Belle when the accident occurred. So his name was newsworthy.
He would go on to serve in Congress in 1865-66. Even though nearly ten years had past since his encounter with a piece of flying iron from the exploded boiler, the scar he received was still easy to discern on his forehead.
This photograph of John Bidwell as a newly arrived representative to Congress can be found in the National Archives.