YOUR SILENT NEIGHBORS, William W. Bidwell, Public Servant
by David K. Leff
Town Poet Laureate and Deputy Town Historian
Born in Washington, Massachusetts, William Bidwell (1830-1894) moved to Colebrook River, Connecticut as a child where he was educated in local schools. He attended Wilbraham Academy and Wesleyan University. He left Wesleyan after his sophomore year to study law in Riverton, Connecticut.
Just before the Civil War, Bidwell moved to Collinsville. He was a school board member for more than two decades, served two years as judge of probate, and was Canton’s state representative in 1881. He was a member of the Village Lodge of Masons.
Bidwell married Julia Brewer of Wilbraham, Massachusetts in 1859. The couple had four daughters and a son.
He died tragically on his farm while drawing stone in a wagon with a “pair of lively horses.” He was thrown from his seat and run over, meeting an instant death.
William W. Bidwell is buried in the Village Cemetery, Collinsville.
“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past. Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.