Twenty-nine Bidwell cousins representing 12 states and Canada attended the reunion from June 25–29.
Activities began on Friday morning with the annual BFA Board of Directors meeting. After a very productive meeting, all reunion attendees gathered for a delicious buffet luncheon. After lunch, we boarded our bus for the short trip to Forest Lawn Cemetery. Our group was welcomed into the newly opened Margaret L. Wendt Archive and Resource center at the cemetery. After a narrated presentation about Bidwell history in the area, we were given access to the climate controlled record room in which all Forest Lawn burial documents are kept. The staff had records of Bidwells buried at Forest Lawn on display for our group to see the original documents of some of our ancestors. Our tour continued with a bus ride through the scenic cemetery on our way to General Daniel Davidson Bidwell’s grave. We had beautiful weather and an abundance of wildlife to see as we passed through the winding roads of the cemetery. After leaving the cemetery, we made a stop at the statue of General Daniel Davidson Bidwell located at Colonial Circle not far from Forest Lawn.
Saturday morning brought a very rainy day, but our spirits could not be dampened! We were off to explore the Buffalo-Niagara Heritage Village. As Bidwell descendants, we were special guests to attend the 49th NY State Infantry Regimental Symposium. Through the rain drops we toured homes from the era of the time General Bidwell lived in the Buffalo area. Many attendees will tell you their best memory of the day was sitting under the picnic shelter in the rain, sharing hot dogs and beans and being together!
Saturday evening we gathered together for the BFA General meeting, banquet, and annual auction. Attendees had the chance to see their family lines which were on display. A few Bidwells realized just how closely they were related even sharing the same great-grandfather! As Buffalo is known for its snow in the winter, we had a fun “Guess How Many Snowballs” game. At the conclusion of the BFA General Meeting, we had a delicious meal and enjoyed a lively and fun auction to end the evening.
Sunday was a full day of activities beginning with a boat ride on the Buffalo River to view the grain elevators and to see the site of what once was “Banta & Bidwell Shipbuilding”. Everyone had free time to explore Buffalo’s “Canalside” and to grab a bite to eat. After lunch, we enjoyed a guided tour of the Buffalo Transportation and Pierce Arrow museum. Truly a treasure in Buffalo, the owner of the museum, Jim Sandoro, shared a wealth of information about his vast collection.
Our final stop was for dinner at “Duff’s Famous Wings”. Attendees had the chance to sample some of Buffalo’s finest foods and drink such as chicken wings, beef on weck, and the delicious Loganberry soda.
Monday morning we shared our last breakfast together and began our good-byes until we meet again at the 2016 BFA Reunion in Chico, California.