Madera County Historical Society
Richard Curtis Jay, shown here in his band uniform, was Madera’s first mortician and an early county coroner and public administrator. One hundred years ago, his son, R.S. Jay, announced that he was a candidate to succeed his father who had died two years earlier.
50 Years Ago
Week of April 15, 1968
WELLS MAYOR OF MADERA — Councilman John Wells was elected the new mayor of Madera Tuesday night by the City Council, and Bruno Lattanzio was named mayor pro tem. Both were elected by a 3-2 vote via secret ballots. The election of the mayor followed the swearing in of Wells and William Venturi to the City Council by City Clerk Willa Sawyer. Former Mayor D.R. (Bud) Stephenson presented a plaque to outgoing Councilman Charles Marsh who chose not to run for reelection. Mayor Wells then swore in Mrs. Sawyer, who was officially appointed by the Council as City Clerk. Voters last week decided to make the clerk position appointive rather than elective.
TWO WOMEN BURN TO DEATH IN MISHAP NEAR HERE — Two unidentified women burned to death when the west-bound car they were riding in burst in flames after it was rammed by a Van Gas truck during a dust storm on Avenue 6 and road 20 this morning. Clarence Fleming, 29, driver of the truck, struck the car as he was traveling through the blinding dust storm. Fleming took an extinguisher from his truck and attempted to put out the flames. He managed to pull Mrs. Goldie W. Shuey, owner of the vehicle, out of the blazing wreck but could not reach the other two women. Sheriff’s deputies are working on the identification of the two dead victims.
SEBASTIAN CABOT BIG HIT HERE — Sebastian Cabot, Mr. French of the television series Family Affair, was the special guest attraction at the Madera Scout-O-Rama held Saturday at the Madera Fairgounds. Cabot, the portly, bearded television personality, was well-received by the crowd that totaled over 600 during the day’s events. Cabot lauded the scouting program for bringing youngsters together, “Teaching them brotherhood and how to survive.” Cabot, now on vacation from filming, returned to the family cabin on Victoria Island in Canada after the Scout-O-Rama. Filming on the Family Affair resumes May 13.
J.B. WILLIAMS DIES HERE AT AGE 100 — John B. Williams, a resident of Madera for 78 years, died early this morning in a local hospital after a brief illness. Mr. Williams was honored on the occasion of his 100th birthday, March 5 of this year. The celebration took place at the First Baptist Church where he was the last surviving charter member. Mr. Williams was on the welfare board for 12 years, was Madera County Probation Officer for 12 years, and was an original trustee for the Lincoln Grammar School. He moved to Madera with his family in 1890. He graduated with the last ninth grade class in Madera. The following year the first Madera High School was formed and J.B. Williams was in the first class to graduate from this school.
WELFARE LAW ON RESIDENCY RULED ILLEGAL — A three-judge federal court in San Francisco Friday wiped away — at least temporarily — all residence requirements for California welfare recipients. The court ruled that residence requirements for Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Aid to Needy Disabled, and Old Age Assistance raised “serious and substantial” constitutional questions. The aid to children program requires a one-year residence in California, while the disabled program requires three years. Under Old Age Assistance, an applicant must have lived five of the last nine years in the state. State welfare officials are now meeting to determine whether the action would be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
100 Years Ago
Week of April 15, 1918
TWO SOLDIERS FIND THEY MARRIED THE SAME GIRL — Lillian Otis Bailey, 24, is under arrest today charged with defrauding the government and with bigamy. She was drawing a government allowance of $15 per month from each of two soldiers as the wife of both men. The woman married Charlie Bailey in 1913, and they lived together until he was drafted. Then she moved to Los Angeles where she met Frank Blumfield. They were married, and after a short honeymoon, he too was drafted and found his way to Camp Kearney. While stationed at Camp Kearney Bailey and Blumfield met and became friends. It was while comparing intimate notes of their wives with each other, the two soldiers discovered each had married the same girl.
THOUGHT IT WAS A BURGLAR FOR SURE — The Italian quarters out at the Tyrell ranch was greatly excited last night, and Sheriff J.F. Lewis and a posse of trusted deputies were called out to make an investigation. It seemed that when one of the women on the ranch returned home, she found a window up and a bed in one of the rooms moved out of its customary place. She was sure someone had broken into the house and she refused to retire until the sheriff had been called out. The sheriff and his men surrounded the place and then made a search but discovered nothing excepting one of the men who stays at the place sleeping peacefully in his own room. When awakened he gave a satisfactory explanation for the affair. Upon returning home that evening, he was unable to get in and crawled through a window. In so doing he moved the bed and failed to move it back. Thus all the disturbance was over nothing.
BUCHENAU DIES IN FRESNO — Hubert A. Buchenau, a well known resident and land owner of Madera County, passed away at his Fresno home at 11 o’clock last night after an illness extending over several months. Deceased was 58 years of age and leaves a wife and two children, Hubert Jr. and Stella. Hubert Buchenau was born in the little town of Hornitas. He was an employee of the firm of Olcease & Garibaldi for a number of years where he met and became friends with the younger Olcease, now mayor of Merced. The two boys cast their lot together and made fortunes. They now own land throughout the valley and are the owners of the well-known Daulton ranch in this county. Mr. Buchenau made his home in the county a part of the time and was well-known and well thought of here.
MAN TO APPEAR FOR SENDING OBSCENE MATTER IN MAIL — J.W. Linville had to appear before the federal authorities in Fresno charged with sending obscene material through the mail. He does not deny the charge. It appears Linville heard something said about a lady friend, which he considered too bad to repeat but decide to write it out and mail it. His letter was sent general delivery and fell into suspecting hands. It was opened before it reached the party for whom it was intended. The case was reported to the federal authorities, and Mr. Linville was ordered to appear before U.S. Marshal Sidney Shannon in Fresno to whom he made a bold breast of the whole affair. He says he will pay his fine like a man.
BOB JAY THROWS HAT IN RING — Robert S. Jay is out for office. “Bob” threw his hat in the ring today and asks the voters of Madera County to support him for the office of Coroner and Public Administrator this coming fall. The position is now being filled by Mr. Jay, he having been appointed to fill the unexpired term of his father, R.C. Jay, who passed away in December 1916 before the end of the present term and who had held the position for many years. During the lifetime of R.C. Jay, no one appeared to think the office could be filled by any one else. He made a good official, absolutely honest and fair in all of his dealings and a man highly respected in the community.