YOUR SILENT NEIGHBORS
by David K. Leff
Canton Poet Laureate & Deputy Town Historian
YOUR SILENT NEIGHBORS, Frank H. Bidwell, Long Time Collins Employee
Over 50 years a Collins Company employee, Frank H. Bidwell (1857-1924) was born in Collinsville and spent his life in the village. In his time with Collins he worked “in nearly all the shops, which gives him a general insight into the various departments of the extensive business of the company,” reported the Hartford Courant a few years before his death. In November 1881 he was appointed foreman of the plough, painting and packing department. The paper described him as “very much attached” to the company “and looked upon by the employees as a friend of the workmen as well as of the company.”
In 1884 he joined the Collins Company fire department and remained active until late in his life. He was a deputy sheriff of Hartford County and did police duty for the Collins Company on occasion.
Bidwell was a thirty-second degree Mason and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows through the Winsted lodge. For many years he was well known for keeping a scrapbook of happenings in Canton.
In 1886 Bidwell married Luella Nelson of Collinsville and had a son and a daughter. In 1917, their son Edward was one of the first to sail for France and served two years overseas during World War I. He later became a machinist with the Collins Company.
Frank H. 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.