Madera County Historical Society
John H. Barnett, shown here, became Madera County Sheriff 100 years ago. Barnett served until 1928 — ten of the most tempestuous years in Madera’s history.
50 Years Ago
Week of May 13, 1968
CITY COUNCIL RAISES SALARY ON 3-2 VOTE — The City Council voted Monday to boost its salary to $150 per month. At present, a city councilman is paid $10 for each meeting; the maximum he can receive is $40 per month. The motion was made by Councilman Bruno Lattanzio, who indicated the raise would bring the council’s salaries in line with other cities. Councilman D. R. Stephenson opposed the hike, pointing out that “anyone running for the council knows what he is getting into.” Council Al Barsotti also opposed the motion. Mayor John Wells and Councilman William Venturi joined Lattanzio in voting for the raise.
ACQUITTAL IN SHOOTING DEATH OF YOUTH — An acquittal has been handed down in the involuntary manslaughter case filed over the fatal hunting trip shooting of a 16-year-old youth in the Fish Camp area last fall. Chowchilla Justice Court Judge Howard Green rendered the verdict after considering the evidence against 33-year-old Donald James Richard of Fresno. Richardt was accused of shooting the youth in the stomach during an argument over whether the 16-year-old and a companion had been firing in his direction. The defendant claimed his gun had a hair trigger and was aimed at the ground at the time it discharged. The court rather than a jury determined the verdict.
COUNTY JUBILEE CELEBRATION SWINGS INTO ACTION — Madera will mark the 75th anniversary of its recognition by the State Legislature as a county on Saturday. A granite boulder weighing more than four tons with a plaque marking Madera as the geographical center of the state is to be dedicated at 3:30 p.m. The event is scheduled for the lawn on Fourth Street, north of the Madera County Government Center, where a jet helicopter will land carrying officials to participate. Raymond Granite Co. prepared and donated the granite, worth $1,000. The marker will be moved next week to its permanent location at the corner of Yosemite Avenue and Gateway Drive.
$600,000 JUDGEMENT GIVEN IN ACCIDENT LAWSUIT HERE — A $600,000 judgment, probably the largest in a case of this type in the county’s history, was rendered Friday on behalf of the severely injured child involved in an automobile accident on Ash Slough Bridge. The jury issued the judgment against the State of California and Louis Shapiro whose car skidded out of control on the bridge causing a chain reaction pileup before Christmas 1965. The child, six-year-old Sandra Chavez, was left deaf and blind and will required medication to prevent seizures. The jury found the state liable because of a history of accidents on the Highway 152 bridge.
BEDWELL VERSUS SCHMITZ IN RECALL ELECTION — Chet Bedwell, a Madera merchant and tailor, will be the only candidate against Supervisor Jack Schmitz, a farmer, in the recall election in July. County Clerk Hanora Dwyer reported this morning that she believes this is the first-ever recall conducted against a county official in Madera County’s history. A full-scale election will be held, with sample ballots going out in mid-June. The cost, including the printing of the seven reasons stated for the recall and a statement by Schmitz, must be borne by the county. Bedwell must pay for his own campaign statement. The special election will be conducted in District 1 only.
100 Years Ago
Week of May 13, 1918
THE CONSTABLE GOT HIS GOAT — Its isn’t easy to get a man’s goat, especially if it belongs to Wm. Breyfogle, the local merchant, but it happened today. Bill left town without tending to his goat, so the animal went on a tour of downtown to find something to eat. It paid its respects to most every establishment on the Avenue, scaring the lady clerks out of a year’s growth. It met its Waterloo at the bicycle shop when it began to devour a rubber tire. A hurry-up call was sent for the police, and Constable Russell came running with a “billy” in each hand. He subdued the goat, and after locking it in the Curtin Stables, notified Mr. Breyfogle. Constable Russell is now joshing Bill about how he “got his goat.”
RESTAURANTS WARNED ABOUT SERVING BREAD — W.S. Conner, local food administrator, made a round of the local restaurants today and found two Chinese establishments in violation of the bread law. Mr. Conner found plates of bread piled high on each table. The law specifically says that a portion of only two ounces of bread shall be furnished to each customer at a single meal. Two ounces means two ordinary slices of bread. When a patron had eaten the two slices, he is through as far as the bread portion of his meal is concerned. Restaurants that do not live up to the law will be closed without further notice.
FORD AND FRANKLIN COLLIDE — In an endeavor to show its superiority as master of the highway, a Ford car driven by Miss Ida Preciado crashed into the big Franklin belonging to C.A. Dunn, the local furniture man, at the corner of Yosemite Ave. and D Street about 8 o’clock last evening. The Ford failed to walk off with the honors, although the Franklin had to go into dry dock for repairs to its running boards. Miss Preciado was out enjoying the coolness of the evening with a few friends. Mr. Dunn came down D Street, and slowed up. Miss Preciado was unable to stop before hitting his machine. None of the occupants in either car was injured.
MAN WITH HATCHET ARRESTED ON TRAIN — E.P. Haywood, the colored individual who was forcibly removed from the S.P. train in this city has entered a plea of guilty. Deputy Marshal J.E. Rea and Barney McCluskey met the train after being informed by wire that Haywood was aboard and was being sought. Reports said he was armed with a “big gun.” When the officers boarded the train, they found Haywood had driven the passengers and train crew from the car and was asleep. He was awakened by Rea and came up fighting. The officers secured him with handcuffs and searched him. Instead of a gun, they found a lather’s hatchet.
T.C. TOWNSEND LOSES EVERYTHING IN FIRE — The home of T.C. Townsend on F Street was completely destroyed by fires this morning. Mr. Townsend said he had just finished his breakfast on the wood stove and had put some beans on to cook. He went out into the yard and in a few minutes saw flames issuing from the house. The alarm was spread, but the house was too far-gone to save anything. He laments the loss of an old “Hollywood, 1712” violin more than anything else. He had been offered $3,000 for it. The insurance was $1,000. Mr. Townsend says he is getting so old that he believes he will not build again.