OC Pioneers Who Were Klan Members: Oliver N. Thornton and James Henry "Harry" Whitaker, Brea and Anaheim Postmasters

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On one hand, it's rather bizarre to see the membership rolls of the Orange County Ku Klux Klan during the 1920s and see so many postal workers listed. You can find two below in the archives, and the subjects this week, Oliver N. Thornton of Brea and James Henry Whitaker of Anaheim, were postmasters for their respective cities. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense. Postal workers, more than any other profession, were more likely to meet the entirety of Orange County, so they were able to get pissed off at Mexis long before everyone else.

And when your bosses are Klan, what else are you supposed to do except join the Invisible Empire?

I usually don't bother with Klan members from Anaheim, as the city has rightfully, effectively scrubbed most of their contributions from the civic memory, but Whitaker deserves a special mention. His family was one of the pioneer families of Buena Park, where "Harry" served as the town's first postmaster, a position he held for 20 years before becoming Anaheim's postmaster in 1923. He held that position until 1936...but all the historians say the Klan disappeared from power after they were recalled! Shows what our orange-crate historians know.

Thornton, however, is the more nefarious of the two. I can't find my lil' history of Brea at the moment, but I do know that Thornton helped to introduce the policy of not delivering mail to Mexicans in the city, a policy that went all the way into the 1940s, when future California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso helped to launch a petition changing this policy. There was no excuse--Mexicans didn't have pit bulls then. And yet watch the pathetic fanboys spin this one away--HILARIOUS!

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

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Previous entries:

Earl L. Matthews, Santa Ana Automotive Electrician Pioneer
Harold S. Twombly, Fullerton Rancher/Black Sheep of Prominent Family
Elvin A. Ames and Osborne Garber, Fullerton and Santa Ana High School Teachers
George Bird and E.P. Rudy, Brea Constable and Marshal
Harry Winchell, Brea's First City Marshal
Charles E. Smith, Brea Justice of the Peace
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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8 comments
NG Coot
NG Coot

"I can't find my lil' history of Brea at the moment, but I do know that Thornton helped to introduce the policy of not delivering mail to Mexicans in the city .."

A competent journalist would cite his authority while accusing someone, even posthumously, of discrimination.  But then again this is Gustavo.

xcfrrdvd
xcfrrdvd

I have so many photos to scrap I don’t know where to begin…but my dad died last year and I have lots of sons of anarchy season 4 photos of him at various ages that I’d like to get in an album this year. Thanks for a chance to win.

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mitch young
mitch young

What did Mexicans need postal service for -- the great majority couldn't read.

Actually, my guess is this 'barrio' was like the illegal, unplanned, unzoned, untaxed 'colonias' of Texas and, increasining, places in California like Imperial Valley. So there was no 'official' way to incorporate them into postal service (and of course they probably weren't paying taxes to pay for it, either.)

Anyway, Klavito wastes yet more time on trashing long dead, by all accounts productive men, while ignoring 'minorities' actually killing whites (see story above), en la actualidad.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

As usual, you're a pendejo. Reynoso's gaba neighbors were getting the mail, but not the Mexis. Go jerk off to a portrait of Franco and call it a life, already...

mitch young
mitch young

Maybe they had, you know, actual zoned property.

Anyway, read the article, and it inadvertently show what BS your 'segregated Mexicans' were -- at least in La Habra. Only the elementary was segregated -- probably just to get the kids up to speed with English etc. Then they were integrated in middle school and high school. Quite a different situation than in the South.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

I know you did—and you're proof positive that merely being in the military doesn't automatically confer heroism.

mitch young
mitch young

Uh, I *did* 'serve' this country -- proudly at the time. 

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Bullshit as usual--all those kiddies knew English. Talk to the viejitos—many of them who served this country proudly, unlike your pathetic ass.

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