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Zealous Madera lawman went too far

For The Madera Tribune

Madera’s old jail was once the scene of a ferocious struggle between two lawmen and a citizen loaded with loot.


The hobo lay curled up in an empty boxcar on a Southern Pacific siding in Madera. At first blush, he appeared not to have a cent to his name. He was dirty, disheveled, and wore threadbare clothes. Night watchman, D.S. Lewis, thought he was a typical vagrant; that’s why he decided to run him in. If a guy was going to hang around Madera in 1907, he at least was going to be gainfully employed.

Lewis was carrying a lantern as he made his rounds on that early August morning, and when he spotted the Italian hobo sawing logs, he pulled his pistol and woke him up.

The Italian was understandably nervous. After all, he had a small fortune stashed away on his person. In his vest pocket, he carried $600 in gold. In addition, he had $100 in his wallet, and in another pocket, he had $272 in checks and $13 in silver. When Lewis identified himself as an officer of the law and pointed the Italian across F Street to the jail, the man did as he was told. He thought that once he was there, he would be able to explain who he was.



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