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Madera 100 Years Ago

Madera County Historical Society
This 1930 photograph shows Rasmeo and Pia Mariscotti in their grocery store in Berenda. Seated on the counter is their son, Robert, who later founded The Vineyard Restaurant in Madera. The Mariscottis were married in Madera 100 years ago in a wedding that captured front-page headlines in the Madera Mercury.


December 1917


SUGAR PINE RAID NETS 7 — One of the most successful raids that has yet been pulled off by Sheriff Lewis occurred last night at the gambling joint of old Charlie Song at Sugar Pine. Besides Song, six other Chinese were taken into the clutches of the law and are now in the county jail on charges ranging from conducting a gambling house to having opium in their possession. The Chinamen were all taken to Raymond and brought before Justice McCapes who fixed their bonds at $1,000 for Song and $100 for the others. As no one was able to give bail, they were all brought to the local jail. This is the third charge previously placed against Charlie.


HORSEWHIPS MAN WHO INSULTED HER — Resenting remarks that were hurled at her while she was quietly walking along the street this afternoon, Mrs. Lovina Hall, a local colored lady, took the law into her own hands and gave the man (a white man) a thrashing he will remember for many years. The incident occurred in front of Mugler’s harness shop. As the colored lady passed, the stranger made a number of insulting remarks that were heard by others gathered on the corner. Mrs. Hall stepped into the harness shop and procured a strong buggy whip. She then went back to where the man was and began laying on the lash with all her might. During the whipping, the fellow attempted to stop the woman, but was warned by several colored men to keep his hands off.


MARRIAGE IN ITALIAN COLONY — One of the most popular weddings that has ever taken place here was solemnized this morning in the home of A. Pistoresi, when his daughter, Miss Pearl Pistoresi, became the bride of Rasmeo Mariscotti. Miss Louise Mariscotti, a sister of the groom, was bridesmaid, and Santino Pistoresi, brother of the bride, was best man. Both the bride and groom are well known and highly respected young people in the Italian Colony. The bride is a very charming lady. Only the immediate friends of the family were present at the wedding. Mr. and Mrs. Mariscotti left for San Francisco where they will spend a honeymoon of two weeks before returning to Madera to make their home.


ITALIAN COMMITS SUICIDE — Tony Petri, the young Italian who committed suicide in this city Monday afternoon by shooting himself in the head with a revolver, did so on account of a loss of money through gambling. He was known to have had $75 Monday morning and was gambling part of the afternoon and lost all he had. He then sold his motorcycle for $20 and in the hopes of winning back what he had lost, put up the $20 with the result that it also disappeared. Petri then, standing at the corner of F and Sixth Streets with no one around, committed the deed. The suicide occurred in the vacant lot belonging to the county at the corner of the two streets mentioned.


WOMEN ON JURIES NEXT YEAR — “I am going to give the women of Madera County an opportunity of serving on both the regular trial and grand juries next year,” was the statement of Superior Court Judge W.M. Conley today following the drawing of the grand jury for this year. “I am going to play favorites for the first time as an official. I am going to merely ask a woman if she wants to serve and if she says she does not, that will settle it.” A woman’s mere statement that she does not wish to serve will be sufficient. She will be excused if she so desires. Judge Conley stated today that next year he would select 15 men and 15 women for the grand jury.


$10,000 SNAKE DIES FROM GRIEF — Little Pete, the two-headed reptile that was discovered on the Adobe Ranch and brought to this city and presented to Will Utter and Al Bradley, the proprietors of the Little White Shoe Store is dead. After putting the snake on exhibition for nearly a week, the dream of Will Utter was to dispose of the reptile to the Smithsonian Institute for $10,000. Now the snake is gone. Mr. Utter took great care in attempting to supply his pet with choice morsels such as mice, flies, beetles, grasshoppers, and breadcrumbs daily, but the little fellow shook its head “no.” He says sometimes it was one head and then the other. Lonesomeness is attributed to its demise.


GONG WAH WANTS BIG DAMAGES — The County has asked for the surrender of the lease on Gong Wah’s washhouse. The Chinese laundryman who holds the lease on the brick building next to the new library building and is now the property of the county, is asking a big sum for the release. Today he filed a statement of the expense he has been put to in putting the laundry building in shape for business and the amount of the loss he would sustain if required to vacate at this time. The total expense and loss he figures at $1,343 and states he would rather settle with the county for this sum than to sue.


W.H. LAREW IS FOUND DEAD — One of Madera’s most able attorneys has passed away on the 65th anniversary of his birth. Mr. William Henry Larew was found dead in his chair in his new office in the Brammer Block this morning by Horace Parks. Mr. Larew died from suffocation or asphyxiation caused by a lighted gas stove in a closed room. The deceased was found seated in his armchair in front of his desk, with his hat on, his head leaning forward, and his arms hanging by his side. His glasses were lying on the floor by the side of his chair. Judge Larew was not a man whose life work had been finished. Only a few days ago he remarked how well he was feeling and that he believed that he was more efficient as an attorney than ever before.


WOMAN IS THOUGHT DERANGED — A woman who gave her name as Mrs. Munsey and who has the appearance of being about 50 years of age, appeared at the home of City Marshal J.H. Barnett Sunday and asked for something to eat. He took her to a local restaurant and ordered her dinner. She covered everything with black pepper and seemed to enjoy the meal. She then expressed a desire to go to Bakersfield and the officer told her to get into his machine. Instead he drove to the jail. She had papers in her possession printed in Stockton, and it was thought she might be an escapee from the state hospital. Inquiry revealed that no such person has escaped from the asylum, so District Attorney Murray ordered that the woman be sent to Bakersfield where she wanted to go.


SIREN IS PLACED ON TOWER — The new siren fire whistle was hoisted to its 37-foot resting place this afternoon on a tower that has been erected in the lot at the rear of the firehouse on D Street. From the top of this tower, the alarm, calculated to be heard all over the city, will be ready for a try-out Saturday. The neighbors of the vicinity will receive full benefit of the alarm. The shrill notes will go directly into the second story windows of the W.M. Conley home, which is just a few feet away. Considerable difficulty was experienced this afternoon in hoisting the alarm into position. It weighs over 700 pounds and is quite an engineering feat.