Dining at Bidwell Mansion


Nick Anderson and Jenise Coon as John and Annie Bidwell

Dec. 31, 1866

Miss Annie E. Kennedy

Annie, with your assent I will ask permission of your parents to address you. I must go further or turn away and not see you at all, for you are constantly in my mind, and thoughts of you haunt me everywhere. I shall hope, for it seems as if all my future hopes were involved in the result. . . Promise me to let no one see this, burn it if necessary. I know I shall never find another to whom I can so tenderly confide.

In your own way let me know your mind. I am, Dear Annie, your very grateful and affectionate friend,

J. Bidwell

It took a year of writing heart-felt love letters to Annie Kennedy, but at last John Bidwell’s persistence was rewarded when in November 1867 she accepted his proposal.

BMA Valentine Dinner 2019 Annie reading letter to John 042

Jenise Coon as Annie Kennedy reads a letter

“General, I find myself conquered — by your constancy, and the many noble traits of character developed by time and circumstances, as also by the mysterious providence which constrains me to make this confession. With many thanks for past kindness I throw myself on your avowed affection for the realization of future earthy happiness.”

During this bicentennial year commemorating the birth of John Bidwell in 1819, the Bidwell Mansion Association held a very special event for sixteen guests inside Bidwell Mansion, with a four-course dinner and the reading of selections from the courtship letters of John Bidwell and Annie Ellicott Kennedy. Annie was portrayed by Jenise Coon and John by Nick Anderson.

BMA Valentine Dinner 2019 Serving the guests 015

General John Bidwell sits at the head of the table


The delicious dinner was catered by Roots Catering. Chef David Gomez, consulting with Elizabeth Quivey, developed a menu that recalled fine dining in the 19th century.

BMA Valentine Dinner 2019 the staff 026

Servers Elizabeth, Adrienne, Quinn, and Christian gather for instructions in the historic kitchen.

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
This entry was posted in Bidwell Mansion, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Dining at Bidwell Mansion

  1. Marian Ware says:

    It is delightful to read these passages from correspondence between Annie and John, and also to read about the
    special dinner held at the mansion.
    I enjoy following your blog , even though I don’t normally write comments. Thank you for creating
    Goldfields .

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