Madera County Historical Society
One hundred years ago, the McCabe Lodging House on Yosemite Avenue, caused a lot of excitement when its owner, J.W.McCabe , put a blood-soaked German WWI helmet on display. The helmet had been taken off a dead German soldier who had been killed by McCabe’s nephew on a battlefield in France. The nephew sent it to his mother, McCabe’s sister, who then gave it to her brother.
50 Years Ago
Week of July 8, 1968
BIBLE-QUOTING CONMAN BILKS MADERAN OUT OF $122 — A Madera woman reported a man who knocked on her door Wednesday afternoon, conned her out of $122. Mrs. Pearlee Clark, 58, told police the man came to her door at 12:30 p.m. and started a conversation. The man told her he was a healer and said to prove she had faith, she would have to tell how much money she had and show it. Mrs. Clark got $122 and was told to put it in an envelope. The man also wrote “John 3:16” on a piece of paper and put it in the envelope with the money after Mrs. Clark marked an X over the Bible verse. The man then took the envelope, folded it, and had her tie a string to it. Before leaving, the man told her to tie the envelope next to her body and keep it there for three days after which she would be healed and have good luck. Mrs. Clark shortly became suspicious and looked into the envelope. She found the paper with the quotation along with five pieces of blank stationery paper.
MEN FOIL ATTEMPTED CAR THEFT BY JUVENILES — Two juveniles, ages 14 and 16, and Raymond Diaz, 19, just could not push the car they were trying to steal fast enough to make a clean getaway. The attempted car theft was foiled when its owner, David Cheatham, spotted his auto, with the two juveniles inside, being pushed by a car driven by Diaz. Accompanied by Tommy Woo, Cheatham gave chase and Diaz fled the scene in his car. Police quickly responded to a call and found the pair of juveniles sitting in Cheatham’s vehicle at the side of the road. Diaz was arrested at the Julia Hayes residence where he was found hiding under a bush.
TWO MIWOK INDIAN BURIAL GROUNDS FOUND — Tom King, archeologist from San Francisco State College and his crew, have unearthed two separate Miwok Indian cemeteries near the Buchanan Dam site. King said the discoveries have been especially helpful in revealing aspects of the Miwok culture. “We can now tell their blood type and some of the diseases they died from,” said King. In the first three weeks of excavation, 16 bodies have been discovered. The expedition has also uncovered two dance houses. The project is to tie the Miwoks of the area with the Gold Rush and Spanish-American periods.
10 MADERANS RECEIVED CITIZENSHIP PAPERS — Ten Maderans, including two sets of husbands and wives, received citizenship papers at ceremonies in Fresno Federal Court recently. The new citizens are Victor and Amalia Martinez, Jose and Maria V. Arrellano, Guadalupe Lopez, Mrs. Oliva Chapa, Mrs. Grace Saragoza, Jose Vega, Mrs. Eugenia Esqueda, and Mrs. Ludivina Diaz. Federal Judge M.D. Crocker of Chowchilla conducted the naturalization ceremonies. The group studied for citizenship in a class conducted by Mrs. Eugene Luna. She plans to start another class, which will meet Monday and Wednesday evening, 7-9 in the CCAA center.
CRONKITE SHOW BOOSTS MORRIS FUND — A surge in contributions to the Morris Family Trust Fund as the result of a nationwide television feature on the children was expected today. Calls from New York, Tennessee, New Jersey, and Florida were received this morning at the Bank of America in Madera where donations had already reached $5,500. The ten orphaned children of Robert and Joyce Morris were shown in a five-minute special on the CBS Walter Cronkite show Thursday night. News of the family is also spreading overseas, including coverage in armed services publications. The children are continuing to occupy their rented home near Madera High School with grandparents and other relatives assisting in care of the close-knit group of children ages 3-17.
100 Years Ago
Week of July 8, 1918
BLOODY GERMAN HELMET ON DISPLAY IN MADERA — One of the greatest curiosities and probably the most prized article that ever appeared in Madera, is now in the hands of J.W. McCabe, the local well-known lodging house owner. It is a German helmet taken from the head of a Hun who was killed by a bullet fired by Rand McCabe, a nephew of J.W. McCabe who is now on the front line in France and who sent the helmet to Madera. The helmet has to be seen to be fully appreciated. It is a gruesome looking thing. The pads on the inside are saturated with real German blood. In the front of the helmet is the hole made by the bullet, which ended the earthly existence of the German soldier. The helmet is on display at the McCabe lodging house.
BIG SCARE OVER SMALL POX HERE — “Small pox” remarked Dr. Dow Ransom last night in the City Hall as he looked at the hands of a small, half breed Indian boy. The remark was enough. Those in the room, and there was quite a crowd, looked at one another for a moment and then beat a hasty retreat. The city trustees were in the rear of the building holding their regular session. They decided to stick it out as long as the rear door was not barred. The little fellow who is so unfortunate as to be afflicted with smallpox is Leonard Lewis of Coarse Gold. Arrangements have been made for him out at the county hospital. The county has no pest house, so the lad was given a bed out under the fig tree last night and today a tent was provided for him. He will remain there until he is cured of the disease.
WOMAN BROKE THE LAW AND LOST LICENSE — Rose Paravagna, the owner of the Italian hotel and eating house on North F Street, has paid dearly for her infraction of the law. She not only paid a fine of five hundred dollars to the city through the local justice court for selling five bottles of beer on Sunday without a meal, but she has been compelled to give up her license as well and also relinquish her right, title, and interest in the five hundred dollar deposit, which she put up to insure her faithful adherence to the letter of the law under which she held a wholesale license. Mrs. Paravagna was notified today that she can no longer serve liquor with the meals served in her establishment.
CRUSADE BEGUN FOR VAMP WAR BRIDES — The government has begun a nation-wide crusade against the “vampire war bride.” Scores of these unscrupulous women have already been arrested and will be interned or sent to federal prison. These war brides, in numerous instances, marry more than one soldier, receiving from each $15 of the soldier’s monthly pay and a like amount from the government. One bride has been charged with having married 12 men, collecting $360 a month. Each of her husbands carries her photograph nearest his heart. Naturally these vampire war brides are not anxious for the day when “Johnny comes marching home again.”
A CHANCE FOR THE OLD MEN TO STEP UP — Where is the man who has stood on the sidewalk and looked wise and patriotic and said: “By gum, I’d like to go to the front if they would take me, but I am past the draft age?” Where is the man who has stood by and seen the boys leave for France and said to himself: “I wish I were young; you bet I’d be one of the first to enlist.” You men who are out of the draft age and want to do something for your country; here is your chance. Today the local board received word from the War Department to the effect that all men between the ages of 45 and 55 years can now enlist. Who will be the first?