The Madera Tribune

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Madera, a century ago

February 3, 2018


Madera County Historical Society
100 years ago, Madera mourned the passing of pioneer Cornelius Curtin. The livery stable owner is seen here on the left, driving the horse drawn hearse of Richard Curtis Jay.

From the pages of the Madera Mercury.

January 1918

LIBELOUS PAMPHLET CIRCULATED HERE — Indignation is at a fever heat in this city and vicinity at the present time over a libelous and infamous pamphlet that made its appearance this Sunday morning, first at the local Catholic Church and later distributed over town by boys. The document is partly a political slam at the present district attorney, Stanley Murray, and a libelous thrust at about a dozen local people who are said to have favored the removal of Rev. Father Thos. King from the local church. The pamphlets are some of the cleverest articles ever to make their appearance in this town. The writer is very familiar with local people and local affairs. The following persons are alluded to: Dr. Dow H. Ransom was referred to as Dr. Dope Random. Mrs. H.C.E. Brammer is called La Senora Rosaline Bramamma. Attorney Sherwood Green is called the “unspeakable Green.” Wm. O’Hare, the well-known clerk at the Rosenthal Store is refered to as “Father Robber’s Mouthorgan O’Hareless. Sheriff J.F. Lewis and Constable Barney McCluskey are referred to as Officers Barney & Loose. J.W. Schmitz is called J.W. Spitz who used to shoot mudhens on Lily Lake. Judge G.W. Raburn is called Judge Raven, and Dennis McHenry, a local bartender is called Danna Mikhenry.

MRS. DANTE COMMITS SUICIDE — News just reached here concerning the suicidal death of Mrs. B. Dante, the wife of the former merchant of this city who sold out to A. Franchi & Sons about a year ago. The rash act was committed a week ago today. According to accounts received here, Mrs. Dante arose in the morning and began the preparation for breakfast. She called to her husband and his brother to get up and then returned to the kitchen. A few minutes later they heard a shot and running to the kitchen found the woman lying on the floor breathing her last. She had shot herself with a revolver. It is said that Dante and his wife had had no trouble prior to the shooting. The Dantes were well known among the Italians in this city. Mrs. Dante leaves a family of six children.

SECTION HAND ARRESTED — Jim Matglakones, a member of the S.P. section gang in this county, who on the 15th of December got into a quarrel near Borden with another member of the gang by the name of George Karoftes and nearly killed the latter with a broom stick by striking him over the head, was arrested last week in Los Angeles. Deputy Jack Aiken went south Sunday after the prisoner. The fellow made his escape immediately following the affair at Borden and went to the southern part of the state. He left behind his clothes and sent for them last week. He was located in this way and was placed under arrest. It is said that his victim in the recent fight may lose an eye as the result of the attack by Matglakones. He was arraigned this morning and was charged with battery. Entering a plea of not guilty, he asked for a jury trial. He was released upon putting up $25 cash bail.

TRUSTEES CAN “CHAW” AND SPIT — The Board of Trustees who visit the district schools and, in addition to watching the antics of the boys and girls on the athletic fields, smoke their old corncob pipes furiously and spit tobacco in various and divers places, have had their case put squarely up to the Department of Education. The rather delicate task of the teachers telling the trustees who employ them to leave their pipes and chewing tobacco on the outside when they drop in to watch the basketball or handball games, was too much. It was decided to break the news of such objection through the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and in that manner call attention to the “manners” of the trustees without insubordinating themselves. It was stated that while it looked real naughty for the time-honored school trustees to do things they would not like to see the pupil or teacher do; yet nothing prevented them from exercising their free will and judgment in all matters concerning the schools, and that their subjugation to King Nicotine was of their own choice and delight.

NEGRO CASE DISMISSED BY COURT — The preliminary hearing of William Pearson, the colored gentleman charged with stealing a saddle belonging to W.M. Low from the City Stables on the afternoon of December 24th, had a most unexpected ending today when Attorney Jos. Barcroft, representing the defendant, made a motion that the case be dismissed, and the court granted the motion. Pearson might have been charged with petit larceny except for the fact that he had previously been charged with the petit offense, which was afterwards dismissed, and a charge of burglary placed against him. The result is that William Pearson is a free man in spite of the fact that the evidence was almost positive that he took the saddle and sold it knowing that it did not belong to him. The point in evidence which cleared Pearson was the statement by one of the people’s own witnesses that the saddle was not taken from the stable but was handed to Pearson on the sidewalk in front of the stable and that Pearson did not enter the building. This alone destroyed the burglary charge, and when the motion to dismiss the charge was made, the Court granted the motion.

EXEMPT FARM LABOR FROM THE DRAFT — The problem of labor for our farms is looming up as the one great question. There is no doubt that unless steps are taken, before the entire war draft recruits the ranks of farm labor, it will be impossible for our farms to meet the demands that will be made upon them another season. Many localities report that even now the scarcity of farm labor is seriously crippling operations, and when the draft is completed, the situation will be even more serious. It is hoped that the amended regulations will tend to satisfy the problem. From the present outlook, it would seem the better part of wisdom that the draft apply to farm labor equally with the army. It would be hard to tell which is the more important just at this time. Certain it is that without the farmer, our armies will be impotent.

DEATH OF PIONEER RESIDENT — Cornelius Curtin, better known as plain “Jim” Curtin, one of the oldest and most respected pioneer residents of Madera County answered the final summons Wednesday evening. After working on a farm in Tulare, he came to Madera in 1880. For two years he drove a stage from Madera to Yosemite. By 1882, he started a livery business, buying the corner where he afterwards conducted his business. His first building, a frame stable, was destroyed by fire in 1886, but he rebuilt the same year. The old livery stable was for years the largest in the county, having capacity for two hundred head of horses. Although the livery business has long since become an unprofitable one here, Mr. Curtin refused to make a change. He was a man who loved horses and had he lived for the next 25 years, he would probably have been found at the same corner doing business in the same old-fashioned way.

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