to the Guinness Book of World Records, Mary Electa Bidwell, at 114, is
the oldest person in the United States. Born in 1881, to Charles Woodruff Bidwell and Alice Beach Nobel,
Mary Bidwell's life spans the time from kerosene lamps to home
computers, from horse and wagons to automobiles.
recalls as a child being disciplined by her father who refused to let
her smoke, drink hard liquor or bob her hair. "Well, he thought I
might get into trouble as my aunt Jenny did," she said in an
interview with the Hartford Courant. She was also guided by the warning to never be afraid of anything
but mad dogs and runaway horses.
Connecticut native, Mary Bidwell lived in North Haven until she was 110.
She worked as a teacher for six years.Her classroom experiences included having to light the fire in
the stove to warm the room for a class that ranged from first to eighth
graders. And, in 1904, her class numbered 70 children in a room that was
designed for only 40!
Mary married, in 1906, she managed to keep her maiden name.
The husband she chose was a distant cousin, Charles Hubbell
feels that the greatest advancement for women in her lifetime was
winning the right to vote and she exercised that right for the first
time at the age of 39. For whom did she vote ?
Warren G. Harding.
Mary lives at Arden House, a nursing home in Hamden Connecticut. She
greets her many visitors sitting in her wheel chair. It is reported that
she is quite deaf but has sparkling eyes and, of course, her birthday is
a cause of great celebration.
is Mary Electa Bidwell related to Reverend Adonijah Bidwell?
Reverend Adonijah's father, Thomas Bidwell and Mary's Great,
Great, Great Grandfather, David Bidwell, were brothers. Therefore,
Reverend Adonijah's Grandparents, John Bidwell and Sarah Wells were
Mary's Great, Great, Great, Great Grandparents. Both Reverend Adonijah
and Mary are directly descended from John Bidwell, one of the founders
of Hartford, Connecticut.