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Mace was a practical politician

For The Madera Tribune

Assemblyman Captain Russel Perry Mace is seen here during his last year in the California legislature. When he wasn’t on this horse, he was sitting in his old rocking chair in front of the Yosemite Hotel.


At first blush, the old rocking chair in the Madera County Courthouse Museum didn’t appear to be anything special. It just sat there outside the blacksmith shop, still and silent, never moving unless a visitor gave it a slight tap. If there was anything unusual about its appearance, it was in the fact that it was so well preserved for being so old.

In actuality, however, that old chair has a rather compelling story. It was presented to Captain Russel Perry Mace on the occasion of his leaving the California State Assembly. Standing there on the bottom floor of the museum, between the tack room and the blacksmith shop, one could almost hear the chair creak under the Captain’s 350 pound frame, and one could almost see Madera’s first Assemblyman leisurely rocking back and forth in pleasant reverie as he pondered his three terms in the California Legislature.

Mace first came to California during the gold rush. Shortly after the close of the Civil War, he was elected to the California State Assembly. Before making his first trip to Sacramento, Mace felt the political pulse of his constituency and found that there was a strong desire among the people to send a message to the nation. Not everyone in California rejoiced in the outcome of the War Between the States, and among the most dissatisfied were voters in the San Joaquin Valley.


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