I was drawn to an article in Tuesday’s Tribune about Lois Murray Richardson, who celebrated her 99th birthday on Nov. 21. That happens to be my mother’s birthday, and it struck me that they were born exactly one year apart.
The second thing that struck me was the fact that Mrs. Richardson comes from such an outstanding pioneer family. Her grandparents, Henrietta and Samuel Murray, homesteaded in the Oakhurst area in 1870, and her father was Madera County’s second Superior Court judge. That story on Mrs. Richardson’s 99th birthday revived my interest in her father.
Research on him took me back to Aug. 25, 1914, when Maderans went to the polls to elect a district attorney. The incumbent was W.H. Larew, and he faced three challengers: Joe Barcroft, Stanley Murray and the postmaster, W.L. Williams.
The first unofficial returns of that 1914 election hit Larew right in the pit of his stomach but must have sent Murray’s spirits soaring. In his first race for public office, he had annihilated the opposition and had begun a career of public service that did not end until 1958...