As you read this column today, a family reunion is taking place at the Mordecai Ranch. As they do every year, the descendants of George Washington Mordecai, the man who as a member of the California Assembly introduced the bill to create Madera County, have gathered at the ranch their ancestor founded.
While I thought about this, my mind went back to that old gentleman and how proud he would be to see that his descendants have kept his dream alive. “Refuge,” his ranch, is still in operation after more than 140 years, thanks to the family.
George Washington Mordecai came here in 1868, and settled among the Alabama Colonists about four miles south of present-day Madera.
Life was difficult at first, and by 1874, he found himself alone on what was then called the Fresno Plains. The Alabama Colony had broken up, and its members drifted to other parts of the Valley. Even George had thoughts of moving on...