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Madera won the war without firing a shot

Madera County Historical Society

Although he lived south of the San Joaquin River, Thomas E. Hughes, shown here, was a leader in the Rebellion of 1893 that created Madera County. He supported the division of Fresno County because he owned huge tracts of land north of the river.


Originally published Aug. 18, 2018.

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The San Joaquin River cut through the heart of the Rebellion of 1893. As it flowed from the mountains to the Delta, it separated the divisionists from the anti-divisionists. It created a buffer between the secessionists and those who wanted to keep Fresno County intact.

The Rebels on the north side of the river had the law on their side. All they had to do was convince their state legislators to introduce a bill to create Madera County from that part of Fresno County that lay north of the river, and an election would be held.

At first blush, it appeared that the secessionists would win the war without firing a shot. Only those citizens who lived north of the river could vote in such an election. None of the majority of Fresno County’s residents — those who lived south of the river—would have any say in the matter; they weren’t allowed to cast a ballot!


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