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Mansion of memories: the history of Bidwell Mansion (part seven)

Bidwell Mansion
Bidwell Mansion

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The right side of Bidwell Mansion
Jena Savage

The General’s death

After General John Bidwell’s death due to heart failure on April 4, 1900, Annie did not do much entertaining. Instead, she had a painting of John made in 1903 by artist Alice Matilda Reading, which is now displayed in the large entryway of the mansion. Annie wanted the painting to look like John always had his eyes on her no matter where she was in the room, and Reading carefully painted the picture of John from a photograph that belonged to Annie. The result was a success, and if you look at the painting now, you will discover that John is always watching you, too.

Annie’s health eventually began to fail. Annie meditated over John’s death for many years and became somewhat of a recluse, always retreating to a room on the third floor of the mansion. As her health continued to decline, Annie lost her voice, and was forced to communicate by paper and pencil. Annie did not have many servants anymore, and spent several years alone in the large mansion.

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