BIDAMAN, Major Lewis C. - I15176

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Major Lewis C. Bidamon
Lewis Bidamon's father, Dedrich Bidomon (also known as John Dedrich), was born in Pennsylvania prior to 1765. Dedrich Bidamon is believed to be the son or grandson of Dietrich Bidelmon who emigrated from the Palatinate area of Germany arriving in Philadelphia on 31 August 1730. The first Dedrich settled in Philadelphia and later moved to Berks County, Pennsylvania.

Lewis's mother, Mary Crum was also born in Pennsylvania in 1779, After Dedrich's and Mary's marriage, the newlyweds apparently settled in western Virgnia, (now West Virginia) where their son Lewis Crum Bidamon was born in 1802. Lewis's family is enumerated in the Smithfield Township, Jefferson County, Ohio, census of 1810, where they lived until sometime after 1814. the family next moved to Highland County, Ohio, and purchased land. This move took place prior to February 1819. The family consisted of brothers John Crane, Christian,and Frederick, and sisters Rosannah, Mary Sarah, Elizabeth and Nancy. At some point, Lewis's mother Mary died. Around 1824-1825, Lewis married Nancy Sebree of Pickaway County, Ohio. In 1830, they were living in Williamsport, Deer Creek Township, Pickaway County, Ohio. A son under five also appears in the 1830 census.

Lewis and family, along with Nancy's family, made the overland trek from Ohio to Fulton County, Illinois, arriving in Canton by horse and wagon Octover 1832. Lewis's and Nancy's daughter Zerelda Ann was born while the family was living in Canton in 1834. Another daughter, Mary Elizabeth, was born between 1835 and 1840.

In 1833, Lewis constructed the first house on the Canton public square and was active in the affairs of the city. Lewis ran for the office of trustee in 1838. Sometime prior to 1843 he purchased the Ellis Steam Mill in Canton, converting it into a foundry which he operated until 1846. During this period, he and his brother John apparently had business contacts with Joseph Smith in the manufacture of wagons for carriages and became familiar with Nauvoo. After Rigdon's departure, Lewis's brother John supposedly bought Sidney Ridgon's house. This transaction apparently occurred in late 1844 or earl 1845; the price was $600.

During the "Mormon War" in September 1846, Bidamon carried a message from Illinois Governor Ford to Canton, Illinois for Major J. R. Parker, Bidamon handed Parker his commission along with instructions to recruit a force and proceed to Nauvoo. This is the first documented instance of the title "Major" being applied to Bidamon beyond this, the origin of the title or commission has not been found.

According to Linda Newell's and Valeen Avery's book, Mormon Enigma, Bidamon's wife Nancy and son died prior to 1847. Bidamon's daughter Mary Elizabeth married early, and Zerelda Ann, thirteen years old in 1847, was still living in Canton. By this time, Bidamon was living in Nauvoo and met Emma Smith in the spring of 1847. A relationship developed and Lewis Bidamon and Emma Smith were married on 23 December 1847.

On or about 1 May 1849, L. C. and brother, John left Nauvoo via the overland route for California gold fields. Surviving correspondence describes the hardships and trials of the trail. Bidamon returned home late in 1850 via the Panama Canal, Cuba, and the Mississippi River. John remained in California where he became sheriff of Placerville. Whatever gold Lewis found in California was lost by the time he returned home.

In 1862, L.C. had a son Charles E., born to Nancy Abercrombie, a widow living with her three children on the Daniel and Thomas Luce farm. When Charley was about seven years old, Lewis brought his son to live with him.

...Lewis participated in the Civil War in 1862 with the Illinois State Militia, reportedly serving with the 32nd Regiment. After duty on the front, Lewis returned home in May or June of 1865. L.C. and Emma continued their life together, and in 1869 the Major rebuilt the Nauvoo House hotel on part of its original foundation and the couple occupied the structure following construction. Emma died in April 1879 and in keeping with Emma's wish, L.C. married Nancy Abercrombie on 20 May 1880. Major Lewis Crum Bidamon died on 11 February 1891 and is buried across the street from the Nauvoo House in the Smith Family burial ground in the yard of the old Smith homestead.

Children with Nancy Sebree:

  1. Zerelda Ann Bidamon born around 1834 in Canton, Fulton, Illinois.
  2. Mary Elizabeth Bidamon born around 1838 in Canton, Fulton, Illinois.
  3. [Son] Bidamon.

Children with Nancy Abercrombie:

  1. Charles Edward Bidamon born 16 March 1864 in Quincy, Adams, Illinois. On the 23 December (date of Joseph Smith's birthday) 1885 in Nauvoo, Charley married Rosetta Wilhelmina Walther. They had 11 Children. Charley died 5 April 1944 in Evanston, Cook, Illinois.
 SOURCE:  Emma's Family, Edited by Ronald E. Romig - John Whitmer Books (2008)