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,
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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