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Treasurer’s wife fought to the end

For The Madera Tribune

Madera County’s treasurer William Amer was lodged in this jail in 1906 while awaiting trial for stealing the public’s money.


It was Saturday night in Madera, and the whole town was buzzing. A rumor was flying around town like a choice piece of gossip at a sewing circle. It spread from street corner to street corner like wildfire. Folks talked about nothing else. Could it be true? What was one to believe? Was the treasurer of Madera County really a thief?

William M. Amer had been elected treasurer of Madera County when it was created in 1893. For thirteen years he had served faithfully in that office, or so everyone thought. He and his wife, Catherine, were pillars of Madera society and highly respected by all.

No one knows how the rumor started, but by one Sunday morning in 1906, it had traveled to Fresno. A reporter for the Republican had telephoned Amer to inquire about the report that anywhere from $10,000 to $16,000 was missing from the county coffer. The treasurer refused to discuss the matter with the newsman, and on the next day the story made page one in his paper.


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