Madera County Historical Society
Fifty years ago, four Maderans were competing for two seats on the City Council. They were, from left, Robert Kahn, Councilman John Wells, Kenneth Gill, and William Venturi. Jack Chezick, right, was preparing the candidates for a community forum.
50 Years Ago
Week of April 8, 1968
VENTURI, WELLS WIN — William Venturi, the leading vote-getter in every precinct, and incumbent John Wells won election to the Madera City Council Tuesday. Venturi rolled up a commanding total of 1,814 votes and Wells received 1,456 votes. Kenneth Gill, TECO co-owner, received 967 votes, and 897 cast their ballots for Robert Kahn, partner in the Firestone dealership. Both are members of the City Planning Commission. North Vietnam’s Hi Chi Minh received a write-in vote at—of all places—the National Guard Armory. Write-in candidate Jesse Cruz received 12 votes for the City Council and one vote for the City Clerk’s position.
TWO INCUMBENTS, HICKS WIN IN CHOWCHILLA RACE — Incumbents Sam McClaughry and Chet Kilday and Will Hicks were elected to the Chowchilla City Council yesterday. Only 27 percent of the voters showed up at the polls. McClaughry, a service station operator, received 351 votes. Hicks, the administrator of the Chowchilla Convalescent Home, received 329 votes. He will replace the present mayor, Robert Murdoch, on the Council. Murdoch chose not to run. Kilday, a chemist at Danish Creamery, received 291 votes to retain his seat on the Council. The fourth candidate, Lewis Patterson, received 251 votes.
HANDLY WINS APPOINTMENT — Donald Handly, acting personnel director, received permanent appointment to the position Tuesday afternoon. The Board of Supervisors selected Handly from among the three top applicants for the position and placed him on the third step of the pay scale at a salary of $1,000 per month. Handly has been handling personnel office duties here three days a week while retaining a position in Contra Costa County, for which he left Madera about a year ago. During the prior term of service here, Handly was deputy administrator for Madera County in charge of personnel.
J.I. GORDON OF MADERA DIES AT AGE 73 — J.I. Gordon died in St. Agnes Hospital Saturday after a coronary attack. Mr. Gordon, 73, had lived in Madera since coming to California with his parents from Gordonsville, Tenn., at the turn of the century. He attended Madera schools and was employed by the First National Bank for a number of years. Later he entered the automobile business. A World War I veteran, he was a member of the American Legion. He leaves one brother, Virgil Gordon of Madera, sisters Mrs. Artye Shebelut of Madera and Mrs. Mille Carpenter of Riverdale, Nephews Darwin Shebelut and Ellsworth Gordon of Madera, and Don Gordon of Fresno.
KENNEDY PLANS TALK IN FRESNO — Sen. Robert F. Kennedy will bring his presidential campaign to California Friday with stops scheduled for Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. He arrives at the Fresno airport Thursday at 9 p.m. Assembly Speaker Jesse M. Unruh, Kennedy’s California Chairman, said Monday the New York senator’s one-day California trip will be highlighted by a major address to the Los Angeles Town Hall. At noon Friday, he will speak to Fresno State College students. Rallies are also planned for San Diego and San Francisco.
100 Years Ago
Week of April 8, 1918
MADERA GOES DRY BY A BIG VOTE — Madera went dry by a majority vote of 134, which was far greater than most dry advocates predicted. It was an overwhelming victory for the anti-saloon faction and the Business Men’s Protective League, which organization carried the entire ticket. On the 25th of April, just sixteen days from the day of the election, the saloons of Madera, which have been running since the city was first founded, will close their doors and go out of business. Ten store rooms now being used as grog shops will either be for rent or the owners will open some other kind of business therein. It is rumored that a goodly sum will be raised for the purpose of trying to knock the ordinance out on a legal technicality.
NO COUSINS FOR THIS POOR CHINK — “You belly him. Him got no cousins,” remarked a well-known local Chinaman this morning to Undertaker R.S. Jay when Mr. Jay was inquiring after the friends and relatives of old Louis Moo, who died at the county hospital this morning. Evidently Louie was an outlaw in the eyes of his own people. It is seldom that a Chinaman dies who does not leave a host of cousins. But Moo was not so fortunate. He will be buried in the potter’s field, and there will be no paper dropped while his remains are being conveyed to their final resting place. Undertaker Jay states that he may take pity on the deceased and do a little paper scattering himself tomorrow. It is believed that bits of paper dropped on the way to the cemetery protects the deceased from the devil.
PRECIADO CASE HAS ENDED — On the third day of the fourth trial of Chas. F. Preciado, former tax collector of Madera County, who has previously been tried for an embezzlement of county funds, the case came to a sudden end. The case was dismissed at the request of District Attorney Stanley Murray from a humanitarian standpoint. It is only now that the prosecution has been convinced that Preciado was not in possession of his mental faculties. After a recent medical examination, it has been determined that the defendant is at present suffering from epilepsy and that his mind is being affected.
SMALL ITALIANS LOOT BARN — On the night of the circus, a barn belonging to Herb Hall located on South D Street and containing a number of articles left there for storage, was broken into and a number of articles removed. Marshal J.H. Barnett has been working on the case for some time and today located the guilty parties. They were four little Italians lads from 8 to 12 years of age. When confronted by the marshal, they admitted that they were the guilty parties and took the officer to the place where the articles were hidden. There was a quantity of shot gun shells, old brass, etc. The Marshal gave the boys a good lecture and let them go. Their names are withheld from publication as the lads are all members of well-known local families.
POSTMASTER MUST GO AND FIGHT — Despite all the efforts to keep Frank Sullivan, the Fairmead boy, out of the draft, the local board has decided that he must go and fight with the rest of the physically qualified men. Sullivan has fought the draft from the first, but all efforts have failed. It was then that he took up the postmastership of Fairmead. He straightway made application for deferred classification on the ground that he was already in service. Still the local board was not satisfied. It was thought that someone not of draft age could handle the job or perhaps it could be handled by a woman.