Madera County Historical Society
Andy Clark, shown here on the far right in 1930, had a difficult time 10 years earlier arresting a suspicious character in the Madera post office. The unkept man was suspected of attempting to mail a bomb.
100 Years Ago
INDIAN SHOOTS VALUABLE HORSE — Jesse House, a half-breed Indian residing at Fine Gold, was taken into custody yesterday by Sheriff Lewis and charged with having shot and killed a valuable mare belong to George Williams of Fine Gold. Neil McDougal of Fine Gold assisted Sheriff Lewis in tracking the boy from the Williams place to his own house. At first the youth denied knowing anything about the affair but finally admitted shooting the animal “for fun.”
CHINESE FOUND GAMBLING — During a visit or raid in Chinatown last Saturday night, three Chinamen were arrested and lodged in jail on a charge of gambling. The place visited was the store of Woo Wah Chung who along with two other Chinamen were found playing dominoes for money. The officers surprised the trio, and they had a hard time to get the money off the table before the officers got it. Twenty-five cents was found in the ante-box, and this was taken as evidence. The Chinamen claim that they were not gambling but were merely playing a social game of dominoes, and when one would win he would drop a nickel or a dime in the box. When enough had been deposited in the box to pay for a supper for the entire crowd, the money would be used for a feast.
The officers claim this is only a stall put up by the Chinamen.
COLORED AND WHITE GET LONG JAIL SENTENCES — L.C. Brown, better known as just plain Louis Brown, the husband of Polly Brown — both colored — is in jail again, along with a white man by the name of G.L. Freer. Brown and Freer were arrested by Nightwatchman Rea on Thursday for fighting. It appears that Freer has been endeavoring to see Brown’s wife. When Freer was brought to jail, Brown’s face lighted up with a grin at the incarceration of his “poo white trash” friend.
MEXICANS WANTED ON FARMS — As a means of solving the California farm labor question, the State Council of Defense voted yesterday to ask the Federal government to remove for the period of the war all restrictions on the importation of Mexican labor into the United States. The committee of representatives of farmers, having been told that the federal authorities would never open Pacific ports to Chinese laborers, decided to ask for the opening of the Mexican boundaries and the abolition of saloons for the duration of the war. Until it was announced the Government would refuse to let down the bars to Orientals, the farmers favored the importation of Chinese labor.
FREAK ‘NUT’ ARRESTED — There are lunatics, and then there are just plain “nuts,” and even the latter might be classified according to their nuttyness. As and example of the latter, an individual was picked up last evening in this city and is confined in the county jail. He may be charged with disturbing the peace or he may be charged with insanity and committed to Stockton. He gives his name as Don Harlow. He was arrested at the post office when he was endeavoring to send a bundle by mail. His appearance and the appearance of his bundle aroused the suspicions of those present, and the officers were called. Deputy Sheriff Andy Clark responded, and when he attempted to place Harlow under arrest, the latter strenuously objected and began using bad language in the presence of those in the post office. At the jail, it was first thought that the fellow might have been trying to send a bomb, so his package was opened with considerable care. It was found to contain nothing but junk, the most valuable of which was a battery tester. An old oil stove was a part of the stuff he was carrying. Harlow claims to have a trunk stored in San Francisco and was sending the bundle to that city. He claimed to have endeavored to secure work but that he only hired out by the year and that he was unable to find any employment of that kind.
Harlow is short in stature and has a crooked nose, blue eyes, and long, dark brown curly hair that hangs about his shoulders. From a distance, he might be taken for a girl.
When arrested he was wearing shabby clothing and a pair of old tennis shoes through the holes of which his heels and toes protruded. He had probably not seen a bath tub for the past year, and about the first introduction he had to a civilized jail when arrested was to be given a bath.
Of course he objected on the ground he didn’t need it, but the jail attendants thought differently, and with the aid of a little persuasion and a couple of kinks in his long hair he was finally gotten into the tub and scrubbed.
Since he appeared to be within the draft age, E.W. Williams of the local exemption board was called in to see if the fellow was properly registered. He gives his name as Don Harlow, which is the only thing about himself he professes to know. He did not know his age and said he had no parents and no country.
This morning he was taken before the local exemption board, as he then claimed that he was about 25 years old and did not possess one of the little green cards. When asked where he was going, he said he was just traveling. He said he had no home. “Wherever I happen to be, that’s my home,” said Harlow. “I am a citizen of no country. I don’t know where I was born, and I have no father or mother. There is a woman who claims to be my mother, but she isn’t a mother to me. I never had no military training. I don’t have any use for that stuff. It’s not in my class, that’s all.” He rubbed his hands for a few minutes and then remarked, “Oh well, you fellows know how it is.” When asked about the draft and whether or not he had any reason for exemption, he said he didn’t know. “That’s none of my business; I don’t mean to interfere,” he said.
Just what will be done with the fellow is not known, but the officers are determined to hold him until his case can be thoroughly investigated.