This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
On page 240, of the current volume of the Monthly, the editor supposes that the name should be spelled " Bidwill." In this he is certainly in error.
Since this fruit has come to attract so much notice, I venture to offer for your columns some account of its origin, and of the manner in which it acquired its name.
Mr. B. Hathaway, long known in Michigan as a nurseryman and orchardist, has been for many years engaged in the process of raising strawberries from the seed. Among the many novelties produced, a few only have been thought worthy of names, and among these we may mention Pomona and Michigan, the latter having been for a time somewhat noted.
Still more recently a number of seedlings were originated, by crossing a pistillate seedling of his from the old Virginia Scarlet with pollen from some of our more modern varieties. While these were in fruit (as I understand for the first time) they attracted the attention of Mr. Bidwell, then of this place (South Haven), who purchased one plant each, of ten varieties, Mr. Hathaway reserving the right to retain plants for his own use. One of these was the variety in question.
Mr. Bidwell transferred the purchased plants to this place, where they were allowed to pass as his own originations. This variety was exhibited by him at the June meeting of the Michigan State Pomological Society, held at this place, in 1877, and was by him named "Centennial."
One of the examining committee on that occasion, who had received plants from Mr. Hathaway for trial, recognized this as one of them, and so stated to the Society. But the matter was not followed up at the time, and the variety was locally disseminated under that name.
The South Haven Pomological Society subsequently, under the apprehension that Mr. B. was the actual originator, re-christened it "Bid-well," to avoid complication with an earlier origination so named.
It was only after the variety began to attract attention abroad that upon the appeal of Mr. Charles Downing and E. P. Roe, I applied to Mr. Hathaway and received from him the history of its origin and transfer to Mr. B., as above stated.