INSIDE Chico State
0 April 8, 2004
Volume 34 Number 10
  A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
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Bidwell Memorial History Lecture

John Bidwell

For the inaugural lecture in a new history lecture series, CSU, Chico history professor Michael J. Gillis will present "John Bidwell and California" on Monday, April 19, at 7 pm, in Harlen Adams Theatre.

In the first part of a three-part lecture, Gillis will talk about the circumstances surrounding Bidwell's decision to go West and incidents that occurred with the Bidwell-Bartleson Party in 1841, the first organized party of settlers to travel overland to California. He will include a brief discussion about Nancy Kelsey, the first white woman to cross the Sierra Nevada, with her infant, Ann.

In part two, Gillis will discuss the history of agriculture at Rancho Chico. He will talk about cattle and sheep raising, wool production at the ranch, and the impacts that wheat exports to Europe had on European agriculture. Gillis will also talk about Bidwell's early experiments with grapes in a vineyard he planted before the Gold Rush, the dream of wine that turned to raisins when he married prohibitionist Annie.

In part three, Gillis will talk about how Bidwell and Annie met, their courtship, her influence on his political career, and her legacy of the gift of Bidwell Park. He will also include a discussion of Bidwell's accomplishments locally and statewide.

Gillis will accompany his lecture with photographs from Special Collections showing the Bidwells and Rancho Chico. Current color photographs taken by Anthony Dunn, Technology and Learning Program, of modern agriculture will provide a comparison to Bidwell's time.

Gillis is co-author with fellow CSU, Chico historian Michael F. Magliari of John Bidwell and California: The Life and Writings of a Pioneer, 1841-1900.}

Linda Moore

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