Honor Roll

Regarding the line of duty death of night watchman Bernard McCluskey, office of the City Marshal, Madera, California on September 1, 1919.

Excerpts from the minutes of the Board of Trustees, City of Madera vol.3, page 8, bottom of page, reads as follows:

“It was duly moved by Trustee Belchar, seconded by Trustee Cook, and carried by the board, that from Jan.1st, 1919, there was to be one assistant to the City Marshal, to be known as the night watchman.”

On Saturday, August 30, 1919, shortly after 0100 hours, Madera City night watchman Bernard McCluskey was shot and fatally wounded by Ben F. Obenshain of Fresno. Officer McCluskey had placed Obenshain under arrest for vagrancy and was just outside the front door of the Madera County jail when Obenshain pulled a .32 caliber revolver from his pocket and shot McCluskey in the abdomen. McCluskey died of his wounds on September 1, 1919.

Night watchman McCluskey’s assailant, Obenshain, was charged with murder and tried in Madera Superior Court before a jury. The jury arrived at a verdict of guilty of murder in the second degree. Obenshain received an indeterminate sentence of ten years to life in the state prison.

Bernard McCluskey was born in Frederington, New Brunswick, Canada, on July 26, 1850. His family moved to Boston when McCluskey was a young boy. Bernard moved to California when he was 19 years of age and lived about the state prior to settling in Madera in 1881. In Madera, McCluskey enjoyed an excellent reputation for the work he did as a blacksmith and as a lawman. McCluskey served the people of Madera, Fresno county from 1891 through 1895 as their constable and then as a deputy constable. (Madera became a county in 1893.) McCluskey was appointed the night watchman of Madera by City Marshal Rea and his appointment was confirmed by Mayor Saunders and the Board of Ttrustees two months prior to his murder.

McCluskey was survived by his wife, son and two stepsons.