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JUSTICES OF THE PEACE and JUSTICE COURT JUDGES
Elected or Appointed For The
JUDICIAL TOWNSHIPS, COUNTY OF MADERA

By Judge Alec W. Brown (Retired)

Because many election records were burned in the courthouse fire of 1906, much of the following information was acquired from the official minutes of the Madera County Board of Supervisors. Reference notes in parenthesis indicate book number and page of the minutes.

Prior to 1893, when Madera County was still a part of Fresno County, the area was divided into two judicial townships, as part of Fresno's total of eight judicial townships. Each township was broken down into election precincts; and in the case of the two Madera County townships, the names of most of the precincts are recognizable on modern day precinct charts. After Madera became an independent county, in 1893, the court system was organized into entirely new judicial townships, completely different from the two Fresno County townships.

JUNE 1, 1893 - Supervisors of the new county created five judicial townships, drawn on the lines of the supervisorial districts.

TOWNSHIP #1 - June 3, 1893. Supervisors appointed J. C. ELMORE as justice of the peace, and appointed George Bowers constable. On July 10, 1906 Township #1 was abolished and became part of Township #3.

TOWNSHIP #2 - Feb. 6, 1893. Supervisors appointed JAMES W.BEARRUP justice of the peace (at Chowchilla) and Walter Sparks as the constable. NOTE: Feb. 8, 1893, the supervisors appointed T. R. MINTURN justice of the peace for SAME township. Unexplained!

TOWNSHIP #3 - No record of initial appointment, but H. C. BORDEN was justice of the peace as of Feb. 8, 1894, when records show he asked the supervisors for a second J.P. His request was denied. However, board minutes indicate that on March 4, 1895, they did appoint ARCH McDONALD as an "additional" J.P.. McDonald had previously been J.P. for Fresno County's 1st Township; and he was the judge who swore in the new Madera County commissioners (supervisors) in 1893.

TOWNSHIP #4 - June 3, 1893. Supervisors appointed L. J. GOUGH, justice of the peace (for Raymond, Coarsegold, and Oakhurst.) On July 17, 1893, SAMUEL R. MURRAY was appointed as "additional" J.P. Murray resigned Oct. 5, 1893. On Nov. 9, 1893,C. F.MESSERVE was appointed J.P. (as #2-??).

TOWNSHIP #5 - June 3, 1893. Supervisors appointed F.M.MURPHY as justice of the peace (for O'Neals, North Fork, Bass Lake) and G. W. Russell as constable.

TOWNSHIP #6 - Jan. 5, 1904,Supervisors created a sixth judicial township from portions of Township #4, and appointed DAVID LOCKTON as justice of the peace for that court. Oct.1, 1906 the board appointed G. L. GOUGH J. P., vice David Lockton, who had "moved out of the township". Records indicate that GOUGH was elected to a four year term the following month, Nov.6, 1906. Soon after Township #6 was discontinued.

1ST JUDICIAL TOWNSHIP

1893, June 3 J. C. ELMORE appointed as first justice of the peace of the township.
1894, Nov 6 J. C. ELMORE elected J.P.
1898, Nov 8 J. C. ELMORE re-elected J.P.
1902, Nov 4 J. C. ELMORE re-elected J.P.
1903, Jan 5 W. A. BROWN appointed J.P. (5-3) (Apparently ELMORE failed or was unable to take office for the start of his new term.)
1906, July 10 1st Township abolished, and territory was consolidated with and made part of the 3rd Township.

2ND JUDICIAL TOWNSHIP


1894, Feb 6 JAMES W. BEARRUP appointed justice of the peace. (1-145)
1894, Feb 8 Upon motion to the Board by C. C. Merrill and "others", T. R. MINTURN was appointed to the court as an "additional" justice of the peace. (1-153)
1894, Nov 3 JAMES W. BEARRUP elected J.P.
1898, Nov 8 EMILIO T. VIGNOLO elected J.P.
1898, Nov 10 J. W. BEARRUP resigns as J.P. (His term would have expired Jan. 1899.) (3-1)
1898, Dec 5 E. T. VIGNOLO appointed J.P. (3-17)
1902, Nov 8 E. T. VIGNOLO elected J. P.
1906, Nov 3 E. T. VIGNOLO re-elected.
1908, Jan 6 H. J. PATTERSON appointed J.P. vice E. T. VIGNOLO, resigned. (7-123)
1908, July 6 H. J. PATTERSON resigns. (7-173)
1910, Nov 8 JOHN BENSON elected J. P.
1912, Jan 12 L. W. COOPER appointed J.P. after supervisors declared the office vacant. (8-134)
1914, Nov 13 L. W. COOPER elected J.P. effective 14 Jan 1915.
1915, Mar 2 J. A. CLARK appointed J.P. vice L.W.COOPER, resigned. (9-89)
1915, July 14 L. HAYNES appointed J.P. vice J. A. CLARK, deceased. (9-137)
1916, Feb 9 WILLIAM G. THOMPSON appointed J.P. vice L.HAYNES, resigned. (9-221)
1916, Mar 10 H. W. HAMPTON appointed J.P. vice WILLIAM G. THOMPSON, resigned (?). (9-230)
1916, Apr 6 R. G. CORNELL appointed J.P. vice H. W. HAMPTON, resigned (?).(9-238)
1918, Nov 5 E. S. GRAY elected J.P. effective Jan 6,1919.
1920, Mar 5 S. P. POPE appointed J.P. vice E. S. GRAY, resigned. (10-4)
1920, June 11 ADELBERT L. STEBBINS appointed J.P. vice S.P.POPE, (resigned??). (10-396)
1921, June 8 R. G. CORNELL appointed J.P. vice ADELBERT L. STEBBINS, resigned. (11-106)
1922, Nov 7 R. G. CORNELL elected J.P.
1926, Nov 2 R. G. CORNELL re-elected J.P.
1930, Nov 4 L. A. SHIRLEY elected J.P. effective Jan 5, 1931.
1934, Aug 26 L. A. SHIRLEY re-elected J.P. effective Jan 7,1935.
1935, Apr 1 H. V. EASTMAN appointed J.P. vice L. A. SHIRLEY, resigned. (14.98) 
1938, Aug 30 H. V. EASTMAN elected J.P.
1942, Aug 25 H. V. EASTMAN re-elected J.P.
1946, June 4 H. V. EASTMAN re-elected J.P
1950, June 6 J. LINN SPENCE is elected JUDGE OF THE JUSTICE COURT of Chowchilla Judicial District. Justice's of the Peace and J. P. Courts are abolished.
1952, June 3 MYRON D. CROCKER is elected judge for the new six-year term.
1958, Aug 25 JUDGE MYRON D.CROCKER resigned effective Sept. 2, 1958, to become Superior Judge. HOWARD C. GREEN appointed justice court judge, effective same date.

3RD JUDICIAL TOWNSHIP

1893 H. C. BORDEN was appointed to serve as first justice of the peace.
1894, Feb 8 Petition of J.P. H. C. Borden for appointment of an additional J.P. denied by supervisors. (1-152)
1894, Nov 3 W. F. FOWLER elected J.P., effective Jan 4, 1895.
1895, Mar 4 ARCH McDONALD appointed as additional J.P. for court. (1-385) 

(NOTE: McDONALD was previously J.P. of the Fresno County 1st Judicial Township Court, and was the judge who swore in the five county commissioners [supervisors] for new Madera County on March 27, 1893.)

1898, Nov 8 ARCH McDONALD elected J.P.
1902, Nov 4 JOSEPH BARCROFT elected J.P.
1906, Nov 3 JOSEPH BARCROFT re-elected J.P.
1910, Nov 8 JAMES W. MONTAGUE elected J.P
1914, Nov 3 GEORGE W. RABURN elected J.P.
1918, Nov 5 R. L. BENNETT elected J.P.
1922, Nov 7 LeROY E. BAILEY elected J.P.
1926, Nov 2 LeROY E. BAILEY re-elected J.P.
1930, Aug 26 LeROY E. BAILEY re-elected J.P.
1934, Nov 6 LeROY E. BAILEY re-elected J.P.
1938, Aug 3 LeROY E. BAILEY re-elected J.P.
1942, Aug 25 LeROY E. BAILEY re-elected J.P.
1946, June 4 LeROY E. BAILEY re-elected J.P.
1950, June 6 LeROY E. BAILEY is elected JUDGE OF THE JUSTICE COURT for the new jurisdiction to be known as the MADERA JUDICIAL DISTRICT. Justices of the peace and J. P. Courts are abolished.
1952, June 3 LeROY E. BAILEY re-elected judge, for the new six-year term.
1958, Nov 4 ALEC W. BROWN elected judge.
1964, June ALEC W. BROWN re-elected judge.
1970, June 2 ALEC W. BROWN re-elected judge.
1977, Jan 3 1977 ALEC W. BROWN retires involuntarily. New state law prohibits any person not a lawyer from being elected or serving as a judge.
1977, Jan 4 VICTOR DAHMAN takes office for six year term after being elected at June 1976, primary election.

4TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT


1893, June 3 L. J. GOUGH appointed justice of the peace (J.P.) (0-46)
1893, July 17 S. R. MURRAY appointed as "additional" J.P. (1-15)
1893, Oct 5 S. R. MURRAY resigned. (1-69)
1893, Nov 9 C. F. MESSERVE appointed J. P. As #2 ??) (1-90,275)
1894, Nov 6 H. AYRE elected J. P.
1895, Jan 8 J. M. JOHNSON appointed J. P. (1-335)
1898, Nov 8 DAVID LOCKTON elected J. P.
1902, Nov 4 J. M. JOHNSON elected J. P.
1903, June 2 Supervisors declared need for second department in Township #4 court. Board ordered that elected J.P. J.M. Johnson continue to serve in "Court Number One;" and that DAVID LOCKTON be appointed to preside over "Court Number Two." (50-50)
1906, Nov 3 L. TYNDAL GOUGH elected J.P. Effective Jan. 7, 1907. (No indication of two departments in the court.)
1910, Nov 8 E. L. McCAPES elected J.P. Effective Jan 2, 1911.
1914, Nov 3 E. L. McCAPES re-elected J.P.
1918, Nov 5 CHARLES R. BABCOCK elected J.P. Effective Jan 6, 1919.
1921, Nov 7 CHARLES R. BABCOCK re-elected J.P
1926, Nov 2 CHARLES R. BABCOCK re-elected J.P.
1930, Aug 26 PRESTON L. EMERICK elected J.P. Effective Jan 5, 1931.
1934, Aug 28 PRESTON L. EMERICK re-elected J.P.
1936, Apr 6 T. M. NICHOLAS appointed J.P. vice PRESTON L. EMERICK resigned. Effective April 20, 1936. (14-169)
1938, Aug 30 T. M. NICHOLAS elected J.P.
1942, Aug 25 T. M. NICHOLAS re-elected J.P.
1946, June 4 T. M. NICHOLAS re-elected J.P.
1850, June 6 T. M. NICHOLAS re-elected J.P.
1952, June 3 T. M. NICHOLAS elected as Judge of the Justice Court, Grub Gulch Judicial District, under state court reorganization law, for 6 year term.
1955, Oct 15 JUDGE T. M. NICHOLAS resigns effective this date.
1955, Oct 17 WILLIAM PAYNE appointed judge vice T. M. NICHOLAS resigned.
1958, June 3 JUDGE WILLIAM PAYNE elected judge for full term.
1960, Oct 25 WALTER L. CHANDLER appointed judge vice JUDGE WILLIAM PAYNE resigned, effective this date.
1962, June 5 JUDGE WALTER L. CHANDLER elected to serve out balance of term, expiring January 1965.
1964, Feb 11 County supervisors consolidate Grub Gulch Judicial District (formerly 4th Township) with Sierra Judicial District (formerly 5th Township), effective Jan 4, 1965. New district will be named Sierra Judicial District.
1964, June 2 JUDGE WALTER L. CHANDLER appointed judge for new consolidated court district.
1965, Oct 31 JUDGE WALTER L. CHANDLER resigns as judge of the Sierra Judicial District.
1965, Nov 1 JAMES R. HANHART appointed judge, vice JUDGE WALTER L. CHANDLER resigned, effective Nov 1, 1965
1965, Dec 21 JUDGE JAMES R. HANHART resigns from court to accept appointment as District Attorney.
1965, Dec 22 A. LOWELL LINDLEY appointed judge vice JUDGE HANHART.
1969, May 6 SAMUEL M. ROBERTS appointed judge effective this date, vice JUDGE A. LOWELL LINDLEY resigned.
1976, Apr 19 JUDGE SAMUEL M. ROBERTS resigned.

5TH JUDICIAL TOWNSHIP

1893, June 3 F. M. MURPHY was appointed justice of the peace. (0-46)
1894, Nov 6 I. L. BAKER elected J. P.
1895, Sept 4 O. H. COLE appointed J. P. I. L. BAKER deceased. (1-461) 
1898, Nov 8 ERNEST KLETTE elected J. P.
1902, Jan 8 ERNEST KLETTE resigned as J. P. C. J. M. KLETTE was appointed as J. P. to fill the vacancy. (4-274)
1906, Nov 3 J. T. RHODES elected J. P.
1910, Nov 8 A. M. LUM elected J. P.
1914, Nov 3 T. C. (Thomas C.) SHORT elected J.P.
1918, Nov 5 THOMAS C. SHORT re-elected J. P.
1922, Nov 7 THOMAS C. SHORT re-elected J. P.
1924, May 4 O. H. COLE appointed J. P. vice THOMAS C. SHORT, deceased. (11-478)
1926, Nov 2 J. B. BAKER elected J. P.
1930, Mar 4 J. B. (James B.) McDONALD appointed J. P. vice J. B. BAKER, deceased. (13-164)
1930, Aug 26 JAMES B. McDONALD elected J. P. Effective Jan 4, 1931.
1934, Sept 6 R. A. (Robert A.) ELLIS appointed J. P. vice JAMES B. McDONALD deceased. (14-66) (Died 7/24/34)
1934, Nov 6 ROBERT A. ELLIS elected J. P.
1938, Aug 30 ROBERT A. ELLIS re-elected J. P.
1942, Nov 3 IKE ENLOW elected J. P. (Resigned 8/31/45)
1945, Aug 17 MARCIA L. PUTNEY appointed J. P. effective 9/1/45 vice IKE ENLOW, resigned.(16-386)
1946, June 4 MARCIA L. PUTNEY elected J. P.
1950, June 6 MARCIA L. PUTNEY re-elected J. P.
1952, June 3 MARCIA L. PUTNEY elected judge for the new six-year term in Sierra Judicial District
1958, June 3 MARCIA L. PUTNEY re-elected judge.
1965, Jan 4 Effective date of consolidation of Sierra and Grub Gulch Judicial Districts.

6TH JUDICIAL TOWNSHIP

1904, Jan 6 In response to a petition, Board of Supervisors created judicial Township 6, to be made up of the voting precincts of Raymond, Zebra and Enterprise from the existing 4th Township. Upon petition of DAVID LOCKTON, he was appointed J.P. for the new Township 6 court.(6-4)
1906, Oct 1 J.P. court declared vacant on grounds that DAVID LOCKTON had moved out of the township "with the intent of remaining away". L. T. GOUGH appointed J.P. to fill the vacancy.
1906, Nov 6 L. T. GOUGH elected J.P. for full term.
  NOTE: No subsequent mention was found of the 6th Township or its court in any election records or Board minutes


CONSTABLES ELECTED IN 1898 AND 1902 ELECTIONS

November 8, 1898 Election

Township #1 - J. A. ELMORE
Township #2 - HERMAN CRACY (sp?)
Township #3 - JACOB J. CRAMER
Township #4 - T. H. LEONARD
Township #5 - HERMAN BIGELOW

November 4, 1902 Election

Township #1 - C. Galeener
Township #2 - J. P. O'Meara
Township #3 - J. M. Hollister
Township #4 - T. H. Leonard
Township #5 - William Keller

                   Last update: August 21, 2000
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