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Madera’s 20th century makers and shakers

For The Madera Tribune

Dr. Dow Ransom.


As 1900 dawned in Madera its residents were ready for the 20th century, due in part to the coterie of indomitable pioneers that had gathered to lay the foundations for our hometown.

Every fledgling community has its makers and shakers — those who stand out from the crowd — and Madera is no exception. This becomes apparent as one surveys the United States Census Report of 1900. The pillars of society leap from its pages. What follows is a partial list of some of Madera’s prominent pioneers as they appeared on the 1900 census. Although the list is not complete, it is useful for examining a cross section of the makers and shakers who were living in Madera at the turn of the century.

William Breyfogle, 62, was a partner with William Tighe in a pioneer mercantile operation. Their department store, located on Yosemite, was one of Madera’s most successful businesses. Breyfogle was also the local superintendent of the Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company’s mill operation.


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