January 20, 2018

Madera County Historical Society
One hundred years ago this tranquil scene inside Brammer’s Shoe Store was nearly transformed into chaos when one Madera man, who wasn’t too well acquainted with his new Ford, lost control and almost crashed through the plate glass window of the new building on Yosemite Avenue.

From the pages of the Madera Mercury

January 1918

LOCAL LADIES FOLLOWED; FRIGHTENED — Mrs. J.M. Hollister and her daughter, Mrs. Percy Swift, experienced a fright Saturday night that they will remember for some time. Mrs. Hollister and her daughter, who reside in the eastern part of town, had just started down town on Yosemite Avenue Saturday evening when they were confronted by two unknown men who stepped around in front of them. The two ladies screamed and ran, and the men followed, or at least one of them did. When under the trees of the Eastside School, the man who was following them caught up and again stepped in front of them, at the same time blowing a whistle. The ladies state that the other man came from behind a tree not far distant. Again the ladies screamed and ran. The matter was reported to Marshal Barnett, who apprehended two Greeks who work for the Sugar Pine mill.

SPEEDER STALLS IN PLOWED FIELD AFTER CHASE — After having been stopped by Traffic Officer Hugh Wilson on the highway south of Madera Wednesday, William Clough decided he could slip away, but he failed. He originally left the city about six o’clock for Fresno and was overtaken by the traffic officer just south of Borden. Clough refused to return to Madera with the officer who then hailed a stage heading toward town. The stage ran past the point where Clough’s car was standing, so Officer Wilson tried to catch it. While he was gone, Clough decided to make his get-away. Cranking up his “Liz,” he struck out. The traffic officer followed him on his motorbike for a short distance. He followed the auto across a field, and about a half a mile from the road he found it stuck in the soft earth with Clough endeavoring to get it to go. Clough was arrested for exceeding the speed limit, driving a car while intoxicated, driving a car without a rear light, and driving a car without an operator’s license. Clough entered a plea of not guilty to each of the charges and will have four trials, one for each of the charges.

POOR LADY GETS BIG PRESENT FROM SOUTHERN PACIFIC — One of the fortunate little women of this county and particularly of the peon class of individuals who are employed by the Southern Pacific as section hands, is Mrs. Timothy Sanchez, the wife of a member of the local section gang who was accidentally killed near Herndon when he was thrown from a hand car. He struck his head upon the rails and died instantly. He had come from Mexico with his family just a short time ago, and his wife and three little children were left almost destitute. F.J. Cunningham, state immigration agent, stepped in and brought suit for damages. Judgement was secured, and Cunningham was made executor in the estate of the deceased. The Southern Pacific Co. at first declined to pay the judgment but today confessed judgment in the sum of $2,500 and costs, the latter amounting to $32.73. No attorney fees are connected with the settlement of this action, and all of the money will go to the little woman who was left without a cent and without any means of supporting herself and her children.

FORD AUTO GOES AFTER PAIR OF SHOES — A balky Ford that had been left standing in front of the Brammer Shoe Store for half an hour this morning and which was evidently attracted by the display of footwear in the window, did a regular English war tank stunt and all but entered the store through a plate glass window and endangered the lives of two little girls standing on the sidewalk. The Ford belonged to Henry Oyler of the Bellview district who had come to town to do a little shopping and to leave a number of coyote scalps with the County Clerk. When he started to leave, he backed the machine away from the curb, cramping the car rather shortly. Then shoving his foot on the pedal, the car shot forward again before he had an opportunity to turn the steering wheel. The result was a regular war tank performance. The ten-inch curbing at this point was no barrier to the Ford, and it jumped the sidewalk and started for the show window. The little girls, Mildred Cox and Lois Wood were standing on the walk directly in the path of the runaway machine. They were shoved forward by the car and were jammed against the show window. Mr. Oyler managed to stop the car, however, before any damage was done to either the show window or the little girls, although one of them suffered a slight injury to one leg. Mr. Oyler says he never knew his Ford to act so unmannerly and is at a loss to know just how it all came about.

MARRIED MAN ARRESTED ON STATUTORY CHARGE — Harry Jones, a young man of about 25 years of age was arrested in Fresno last evening and brought to the local jail where he is being held. Jones is charged with a statutory offense alleged to have been committed upon Miss Gladys Ward, daughter of N.B. Ward of Fairmead. The girl formerly attended high school in Madera. It is said that Jones is the father of a baby born to her in Fresno on Dec. 28 in Fresno and that the crime with which he is charged was committed in Fairmead in March when the girl was just 17 years old. At that time, Jones was doing carpenter work in Fairmead and resided in the Fairmead Hotel. The Ward girl was working there at the time. Jones formerly resided in San Jose and is a married man, or was until a few years ago when his wife secured an interlocutory decree of divorce. The final decree has never been taken out by Jones or his wife. He does not deny the crime with which he has been charged and claims to want to marry the girl and has been caring for her for some time in Fresno. Today he instructed his attorney to secure his final decree of divorce, and the final outcome of the affair will undoubtedly be a wedding in which Jones and the Ward girl will be the contracting parties.

‘HOP’ HEAD STEALS PAIR OF SHOES — A “hop” head of the first water, who gave his name as Scotty Miller was picked up yesterday afternoon by City Marshall Barnett. His apprehension was brought about through a pettit larceny offense of which he is accused. He stole a pair of lady’s shoes and then sold them for a dollar in the Italian quarters on F Street. He was arrested shortly after he made the sale. The shoes were originally purchased by a Mrs. Walling who resides at a local rooming house. Wishing to go to the grocery store, she laid the shoes on the steps at the bottom of the stairway until she returned, but upon her return the shoes were gone. She reported the incident to Marshal Barnett and he started out after the criminal. When Marshal Barnett, in his search for the thief, observed a fellow in front of the Etter Store with a sprightly air, a peculiar shrug of the shoulder, and who had a tendency to step high, he recognized in him all of the demeanor of a full blown “hop” head. Suddenly the man disappeared, and Officer Barnett could find no trace of the fellow until he ran into Constable Russell who had the fellow in hand. The Constable had arrested the thief shortly after making the shoe sale. Upon searching Miller the officers examined his arms, which were covered with scars. In the tip lining of his trousers was a spoon usually used in desolving morphine and a hop gun. His dope was found in back of the Frank Hunt place. It consisted of over twenty bottles of morphine tablets, some calculated for internal use and some to be injected. Miller will be held on the charge of pettit larceny. He is 27 years old.

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