DeWitt Clinton Bidwell was born in Ohio. He rose to become a successful merchant and manufacturer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His firm, D. W. C. Bidwell and Company, sold dynamite, explosives and powder used for mining. He was the Western Pennsylvania representative of the DuPont Company of Wilmington, Delaware.
On July 12, 1854, DeWitt Clinton Bidwell married Pennsylvania native Elizabeth Millinger (July 15, 1835 - June 21, 1901). The Bidwells were the parents of the following children:
- Laura Ella Bidwell (Childs) - April 25, 1855 - April 2, 1898
- Clinton Millinger Bidwell - May 24, 1858 - April 10, 1917
- Frank Chester Bidwell - September 19, 1860 - March 12, 1899
- Howard Ensign Bidwell - March 27, 1862 - September 3, 1938 (unmarried)
- James Edgar Bidwell - November 17, 1867 - September 10, 1868
- Harry DuPont Bidwell - December 13, 1872 - ?
Their daughter Laura Ella Bidwell was the wife of Harvey Childs and therefore related to SFF&HC member and founder Henry Clay Frick and his wife Adelaide Childs Frick by marriage.
Their son Frank, who went by "Chester" followed his father as an agent for DuPont powder.
(The Bidwell family has kindly shared their family tree with me - I have more of it available for those who are doing genealogical research).
D W C Bidwell and fellow S F F & C H member Howard Hartley served as directors of the Marine National Bank of Pittsburgh located at 301 Smithfield Street’ founded in 1870.
The day of the Johnstown Flood, DeWitt Clinton Bidwell had been at the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club but had gone downstream from there to the town of South Fork, where he was standing near the station when the earthen dam broke, sending the waters toward Johnstown.
Mr. Bidwell was 61 at the tiem of the Johnstown Flood.