OC Pioneers Who Were Klan Members: Charles E. Smith, Brea Justice of the Peace

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Brea in the early 1920s was a no-man's land, a place virtually bereft of women and filled with wild-catters who were seeking fortune in the oil-laden hills. It was a place where socialists were killed (a story I'll save for another time) for their politics, at a time socialists were considered spawn of Satan instead of presidential material, a time where the Wobblies were loathed but protection rackets for White men appreciated.

In other words, Brea was a natural spot for the Klan to set up shop, and it helps if meting out the law of the land was a Klucker like Charles E. Smith.

Smith became Brea's justice in 1920, right before the town incorporated. Records after that become sketchy, although Smith joined an august group of Brea KKKers that included most of the city council, the fire chief, the head of schools, ministers, and a whole bunch of other guys. And now you know why Brea was a sundown town with next-to-know Mexicans for much of its history...

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

Previous entries:

Earl B. Tozier, Founder of Fullerton High School's Band
Dr. Charles V. Doty, Santa Ana Dentist
Orrin M. Thompson, Fullerton Councilmember
Albert O. Nelson, Placentia Constable
Earl G. Glenn, Santa Ana Postman/Record-Breaking Cyclist
Arnold F. Peek, Santa Ana Butcher
William A. Culp, Brea Schools Board of Trustees President
Harry E. Inskeep, Fullerton Justice of the Peace
Arthur E. Koepsel, Chair of the OC Republican Party Central Committee
Frederick Bastady, Buena Park Citrus Rancher/School Board Member
Charles C. Kinsler, Brea Fire Chief/Clerk/School Board Member/Pioneer
Alvin L. Hitchcock, Orange County Chief Deputy Clerk
George W. Cullen, Brea Schools Clerk
Walter S. Gregg, County Statistician/Aid Commissioner
Forrest Hurst and Ben Blanchard, Brea Councilmembers
Evrit S. Boice, La Habra's First Mayor
Morris W. Martenet, Jr., Anaheim Councilmember, Owner of Martenet Hardware
William F. Espolt, Jr., La Habra Banker/Citrus Grower
Perry Woodward, Deputy County Assessor, Failed Supervisorial Candidate
George Annin, Fullerton Police Officer, Councilmember
Harry E. Becker, Mayor of Brea
Francis Allen Kidder, Santa Ana Father and Son
Leslie C. Rogers, Santa Ana City Marshal
Earl Sechrist and Burton Young, Brea and Yorba Linda Ministers
Rollin Marsden and Roy Davis, Fullerton Councilmembers
William French, Fullerton's First Deputy Police Officer
Rudolph Kroener, Co-Owner of Former Gas Station that's Now Orange's Filling Station
William E. Fanning, Brea Schools Pioneer, Namesake of Fanning Elementary
Jesse L. Hunter, San Juan Capistrano Innkeeper, Owner of Mexican Restaurant
John A. Leuzinger, Brea Mayor, Founder of Brea Electric
Newton E. Wray, SanTana Rancher, Failed City Council Candidate
Samuel F. Hilgenfeld, Buena Park Minister, Founder of Anaheim's Hilgenfeld Mortuary
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

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NG Coot
NG Coot

This was all 87 to 90 years ago - how is any of this relevant to today?

Is there a hyper-secret klavern of KKK hiding in the Brea hills?

peter sparks
peter sparks

Funny thing about Brea, Gastovo, after the KKK, after the invasion of illegal Mexicans, you know what. Brea still blows anyway.

Is it beer time yet? Its gotta be beer thirty some where, right.

mitch young
mitch young

"next-to-know Mexicans for much of its history."

And you're an editor -- why don't you get your Kenya 'intern' * to read your copy.

*Anyone remember when exploiting 'free' labor from Africa was called 'slavery'? 

Cody Fitch
Cody Fitch

Why would there be Mexican's in that area. Did they try and invade the USA are they trying to invade. If so I think every other folks heritage that calls themselves USA citizens or American's might have a problem with that. I do not think Mexico tried to invade during that time. There is only 100 million Mexican in Mexico and the rest want to live here. USA 300 million Mexico less than 100 million. Don't think they invaded. You mean there was no Latin dissidents in that city. I doubt it this is California. I am American Indian dissident so are a lot of folks I know in this area that have been for a long time. My folks lived here so did some other tribes. 

NG Coot
NG Coot

What was that anecdotal evidence you cited that Brea was a sundown town again?

NG Coot
NG Coot

I don't believe that the opinions of many have changed that much concerning socialists.

mitch young
mitch young

The insult is to you, for exploiting college students from Africa and whever else. And not even letting them post under their own names.


Insulting college students? NICE...pendejo. Actually, on that alone I should boot your worthless ass.

mitch young
mitch young

BTW even your 'progressive' colleagues realize that internships perpetuate inqualities

"Unpaid Internships Favor the Wealthy"


I echo that position, as someone who spent 3 years at a UC working (for money, and cheap grub) in a Dining Common and 'back of the house' at the faculty club.

NG Coot
NG Coot

A 1926 restrictive covenant in Brea( read) "That no part of said premises shall ever be sold, conveyed, transferred, leased or rented to any person of African, Chinese or Japanese descent." While Brea had no official sunset ordinance, "there was an understanding among the citizens of the city that the police would enforce this nonlegal, or non formal, agreement. Some or possibly most of the people assumed that this was a law."Excluded:  ".. African, Chinese or Japanese .. "  So were Mexicans involved in this extra-legal exclusionary activity?http://sundown.afro.illinois.e...

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