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Madera Biographies: SAUNDERS


The late E. M. Saunders was a leading businessman of Madera for many years, and he was mayor of the city for a number of years.

Edward Michael Saunders was born in San Francisco, September 27, 1871, the son of Thomas Francis and Mary Agnes (Horigan) Saunders. His father, a mining man, died when he was a small boy, The parents were born in Ireland and came to America when quite young and were married in New York city, and came to San Francisco in 1867.

As a youth Mr. Saunders attended the Sacred Heart College in San Francisco. When about sixteen years of age, he went to what is now Madera County and worked for the Thurman Sash and Door Company, one of the first institutions of the city of Madera. Later he was in the mills of the Madera Sugar Pine company.

Early in life Mr. Saunders entered the Warehouse business. He operated a warehouse for grain at the corner of Sixth and F streets in Madera for about six years. He subsequently sold his first warehouse and operated a new one on E Street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, also used for grain, which is still known as the Saunders warehouse. For several years Mr. Saunders was an important factor in the grain business in Madera.

With the coming of motorcars, Mr. Saunders grasped the new business opportunity. He owned the first two filling stations in Madera, which he operated for several years, and then sold them to the Associated Oil Company. He became resident manager for the Associated Oil Co., at Madera, continuing as such for fourteen years.

As mayor of the city, Mr. Saunders engaged wholeheartedly in public service. In all his dealings he was known as a sympathetic, honest and conscientious man.

Mr. Saunders was an adherent of the Catholic Church. In civic affairs, he was active in the work of the Lions Club.

On October 6, 1912, Mr. Saunders was married to Irene Saunders of Merced, who happened to have the same name but was not related by blood. They had two children, who survive: William Edward and Mary Catherine.

A sister of Mr. Saunders, Mary Frances Saunders, married C. S. Moses, who was the owner of the Adobe ranch. She is today one of the largest landowners in the county, but makes her home in San Francisco.

Mr. Saunders passed away on November 28, 1931.

From the History of Fresno and Madera Counties, 1933, Joseph Barcroft, editor for Madera County.

Last update: March 28, 2002
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