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The queen of Bethard Square

For The Madera Tribune

From left to right, Emma Josephine Bethards, her grandmother Josephine Eugenia Lentz Bethards, and Millie Ellen Bethards. Taken about 1914, in the old Bethards home where Bethard Square is now located.


Up in Coarsegold, not far from the Chukchansi casino, lived a grand young lady who, at the time I interviewed her in 2003, had reached the age of 96. Armed with a perky smile, a sharp wit, and tons of memories of early Madera, Emma Josephine Bethards Brooks held this writer spellbound for quite awhile.

At the invitation of her daughter, Janet Brooks Walters, with whom she then resided, I made a Sunday afternoon date with her mother, grabbed a video camera, and headed for the hills.

Two things about my 96-year-old host piqued my interest. First, she was born in 1907; January 26, to be precise. (Great guns! Teddy Roosevelt was President then).


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