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Bidwell Lore – Barnabas Flees to Canada

Welcome to week 31 of Bidwell Lore! This week you will learn about the dramatic downfall of Barnabas Bidwell and the end of his time in Massachusetts. As we mentioned in recent installments of Bidwell Lore, Barnabas Bidwell served as Attorney General of Massachusetts from June 15, 1807, to August 30, 1810, after having served in the...

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Bidwell Lore – Barnabas Bidwell and James Madison

Welcome to week 30 of Bidwell Lore! Today we are sharing correspondence between Barnabas and Mary along with an important letter from Barnabas to James Madison and then at the bottom, you will see an 1810 discussion with President Madison about the possibility of Barnabas Bidwell ascending to the Supreme Court. Barnabas Bidwell’s letters home to his...

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Bidwell Lore – Barnabas Bidwell and Thomas Jefferson

Welcome to week 29 of Bidwell Lore! This week we will explore some correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and Barnabas Bidwell along with Barnabas’ letters to Mary about his time in Washington.  You will notice a few names bolded in the correspondence and can find more information about those names at the bottom. Last week we also shared part...

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Bidwell Lore – Ultracrepidarianism, Slavery, and The Age of Enlightenment, Part III

Welcome to week 28 of Bidwell Lore! This week we finish the three-part series Ultracrepidarianism, Slavery, and The Age of Enlightenment.  Last week we also started a three-part series in our Friday email about the history of the Mary Gray Bidwell portrait we have used to illustrate many of these recent emails.  You can read part I of that series...

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Bidwell Lore – Ultracrepidarianism, Slavery, and The Age of Enlightenment, Part II

Welcome to week 27 of Bidwell Lore! This week we continue the three-part series Ultracrepidarianism, Slavery, and The Age of Enlightenment. Congressman Barnabas Bidwell, often a dinner guest of President Thomas Jefferson, was one of two floor managers in the House of Representatives. As floor manager, he was often referred to by Federalists as “the sworn interpreter of executive...

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Bidwell Lore – Ultracrepidarianism, Slavery, and The Age of Enlightenment, Part I

Welcome to week 26 of Bidwell Lore! This week we begin a new three-part series, still in the world of Barnabas and Mary, titledUltracrepidarianism, Slavery, and The Age of Enlightenment. Thank you Rick Wilcox for all of your work writing these articles! Ultracrepidarianism: the habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of one’s knowledge. In my role...

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Bidwell Lore – Mary Bidwell in Saratoga

This week we are sharing a short story containing letters from Mary Gray Bidwell to Barnabas Bidwell that Mary wrote in July of 1803 when she traveled to Saratoga Springs. A possible reason for this journey to Saratoga Springs was that between 1786—when health officials first began recording mortality rates—and 1800, tuberculosis claimed 2 percent...

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Bidwell Lore: Love, Marriage, and Politics in the Early Republic, Part III

Welcome to week 24 of Bidwell Lore! We conclude our three-part series about Mary and Barnabas with some wonderfully illustrative letters between the two.  This correspondence gives you an idea of the type of person Mary was and hints at the great affection Barnabas and Mary felt for each other.  A February 26, 1805, letter from Mary includes:“We...

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Bidwell Lore – Love, Marriage, and Politics in the Early Republic, Part I

Last week we shared with you some correspondence between Barnabas and Mary while Barnabas was in Washington and Mary in Stockbridge. This week we are beginning a three-part series about the lives of Barnabas and Mary. On February 16, 1801, in Washington City, after the 35th ballot by the Electoral College and upon receiving word from...