Profiles in OC Pioneers Who Were Klan Members: Samuel F. Hilgenfeld, Buena Park Minister, Founder of Anaheim's Hilgenfeld Mortuary

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for babyklan.jpg
Look for any hints of Anaheim's Klu Klux Klan past in the city, and they'll be next-to-impossible to find. After voters booted the Klucker-majority council and police force from power in 1925, city fathers did their darndest to eradicate any vestiges of the Invisible Empire, so you'll rarely see the names of any of those councilmembers or other KKK members in the annals of Anaheim's past.

But right across from Anaheim City Hall, in the city's most prestigious mortuary, the memory of the Klan is still strong: Hilgenfeld Mortuary, founded by the Rev. Samuel F. Hilgenfeld, a full-fledged Klan man.

Hilgenfeld (misspelled in the official Klan roster compiled by the Orange County district attorney's office as "Hilgenfield") was pastor at Buena Park Congregational Church when the Klan rose in power in north and central Orange County during the 1920s. The religious connection is crucial, because the Klan found eager members in many of the ministers in Congregational churches, many of whom will be discussed in future posts in this series. But Buena Park wasn't exactly a hotbed of anything in that era (or any era, really, save for Knott's Berry Anything), so Hilgenfeld decided to partner up with another Klan member, an embalmer named C.L. Rollins, and open a mortuary in Brea in 1925, a city that was still in the grasp of the Klan even as their Anaheim brothers were going down in flames.

The minister must've been a quiet Klukker, because he opened Hilgenfeld Mortuary in Anaheim shortly after opening his Brea operation with no opposition from city leaders. The Hilgenfeld family, of course, went on to bury generations of Anaheimers, white and Mexi and every other ethnicity imaginable in our fair city--because what possible profit is there in modern-day Orange County to discriminate?

Tune in every Monday around 5 p.m. for the latest entry exposing Orange County city fathers who were Klan members!

Previous entries:

Elmer E. Heidt, OC's First Scout Executive for Orange County Boy Scouts Council
James W. Newell, Fullerton-area Miner/Mason
Garland C. Ross, Santa Ana dentist, batted against Walter Johnson
Ferris F. Kelley, San Juan Capistrano Postmaster
Clyde Fairbairn, Longtime Olive resident/nice guy
Charles McClure, Brea's first police chief
John F. Pieper, Tustin feed-store owner, councilmember
William Starbuck, Fullerton school trustee, druggist
Hoyt Corbit, Yorba Linda pioneer, fan of Richard Nixon
Lucien Proud, La Habra mayor/school trustee
Albert Hetebrink, Fullerton rancher
Henry W. Head, Orange County godfather
Dr. Roy S. Horton and Marshall Keeler, Santa Ana Unified trustees
Sam Jernigan and Jesse Elliott, Orange County sheriffs
Herman Hiltscher, Fullerton bureacrat

My Voice Nation Help
8 comments
tylerh
tylerh

to those hatin' on Gus for posting about obscure, long-dead boring white guys.

THINK.Do you really think even Gustavo cares about these long dead fogies?  You have noticed the theme, right? Here are three more clues:1.  Electrons are cheap2.  The foundation work for good history is tedious3.  Gustavo has already published one attempt at a history of OC.So ignore these weekly posts if they bore you.  These posts probably bore Gus. There is plenty of luscious T&A elsewhere OC Weekly to stimulate you.  But I suggest waiting to  see where the larger effort goes before being too certain that collectively "nobody cares about these guys" or that  Gus "aint got nuffin"

-tylerh

Chavez Hated Illegals
Chavez Hated Illegals

Still flogging this dead horse?  Keep digging, maybe one of them tweeted his shvanz?

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Talk about a non-sequitor of a handle!

909Jeff
909Jeff

Coming from the master of the Ad-Hominem...

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

No pictures of Hilgenfeld in his ghost pajamas?  Oh yah, of course not, because, as usual, you aint got nuffin. 

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Fashion

Loading...