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Once a scoundrel; always a scoundrel

For The Madera Tribune

In 1895, killer Victor Adams was headed for this newly constructed Madera County Jail. Unfortunately for him, he never made it to the lock-up. Instead, he got justice at an old oak tree on Finegold Road.


If anyone ever deserved the epithet “no account,” it was Victor Adams. He deserted his wife and four children in Arizona and came to Madera County where he settled in O’Neals. There Adams married a widow with two children and proceeded to sponge off of his father-in-law, who was the local justice of the peace. He earned the ire of the entire community one night through his shabby treatment of one of his stepdaughters. That may not be the reason that he was hanged, but it sure helped.

The little girl was only six years old when her new “Daddy” ordered her to go gather some sheep one summer evening in 1895. When the animals got away from her, Adams refused to allow the youngster to come home until she had rounded them up. He sent her out wandering in the darkness, while he went to bed. 

The next day, word got out of what Adams had done, and a huge search party was organized. The youngster was found in a miserable condition along Finegold Creek where she had spent the night. The community was furious and so was the press. The news of Adams’ unconscionable abuse was transmitted all over, including the town in Arizona where he had lived before coming to California. 


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