OC Pioneers Who Were Klan Members: Earl L. Matthews, Santa Ana Automotive Electrician Pioneer

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One of the most exasperating things about doing this column is writing about these Klukkers but never finding any pictures of the pendejos. I can only think of one other instance in which I've featured a photo capturing the banality of evil that was the OC KKK--until today.

I'm glad to report that we have a photo of this week's entry: Earl L. Matthews, one of the county's first electricians specializing in automobiles through his Orange County Ignition Works, Inc. See the Klan in all its vicious glory! See the Klan in all its slack-jawed hideousness! In its hooded terror! In its...


...banality of evil.

"Generous and liberal," reads Matthews' paid entry in Samuel Armor's History of Orange County, from where this picture originates, "he is one of Orange County's loyal boosters and can always be counted upon to support all movements for the public good."

Unless you weren't white, of course.

The one good thing: Matthews' shop no longer exists, replaced long ago by a parking lot filled with the cars of Mexicans 365 days out of the year.

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:

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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master bader
master bader

That is a long list.   I had no idea how widespread the KKK influence was in early OC history.  Scary thing is that the MSU at UC Irvine still have that bigoted mindset.   They invited Malik Ali speak on the UC Irvine campus today.



Here's what the banality of evil really looks like in the U.S.:


That's right. Crime statistics reveal that Mexicans ARE the worst banality of evil in the United States.

How truly disgenuine it is to spend your time trolling through archives looking for a few white people to hate when your own people account for fully 36.39% of all organized crime in the U.S..

Tell it to the judge ese.


banality of evil.....HAHAHAHAHA!  Well played! (Eichmann in Jerusalem) 

But the actions of these few were not considered normal even 90 years ago. And they still largely operated in the shadows. 

(ordinary people can commit evil actions, but they assert that it is not simply a matter of “blind people following orders.” They point to historical and psychological evidence that suggests that ordinary people become evil when they identify with evil ideology)

I particularly agree with Vertovs post... "

"It hit me. There were so MANY of them, and in prominent positions of power. They set the tone for how city government was run."

I think he was right on... Because these so called pioneers were as spineless then as our current city councils are now! 

See ya next week! 

NG Coot
NG Coot

"The St. Joseph incident" - got it.

".. the Klan burned a cross in front of the convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Orange; soon, members would begin driving around the St. Joseph elementary school in their robes to frighten students and nuns."

White Protestants hating on white Catholics.  Regretable, wrong - but a couple of isolated "incidents" do not define a community.  The KKK in the OC was short-lived and it was shut down by the people who defined OC community values at the time.

Brian Becsi
Brian Becsi

the effect of the clan in comparison to todays bigotry is not measurable

it might sound ignorant but the same motivations drove the clan and civil righhts movements.  its mans defense mechanism.

that never justfies our actions, we justify our own actions.

good article tho, no attempt to make someone/something look ugly when its not aroundim caucasian and i love white pride.  im not always proud of the way we might behave, especially towards each other, but im proud of my family (adoptive and blood) and im proud of the opportunities i have in america to be independant of my card, family, and past.

brothers and homies out there know the respect so i dont necessarilly think its news to have fraternal white ties... especially in the past.

NG Coot
NG Coot

Please provide evidence of the OC Klans vicious and hideous terror. Oh, that's right, you don't have any evidence of that.


"Gee, this Klan thing Gustavo sure seems a little pointless. So what if OC had KKK 80 years ago?" Or so I thought until I saw the increasingly large list below the post. 

It hit me. There were so MANY of them, and in prominent positions of power. They set the tone for how city government was run, no doubt at the expense of non-whites. It really is a part of the county's history, and the question of how long the culture of white supremacy was allowed to continue is an open question.

No, the KKK isn't MeCha or La Raza or some other college-based activist group (I'd like to know the last time La Raza lynched anyone), and what Gustavo is doing is important for those of us who want to understand OC history beyond the pat little stories they tell us in grade school. 


Been doing it again and again, and only a pathetic apologist—and a Catholic, no less—would say I haven't provided the truth. Think about it: if it were your children at St. Joseph being terrorized by the hooded menace, would you say the same? Actually, you would, because you're no man.


Gus is just showing you what your tax dollars bought for his UCLA education.but what the hell it was free to him. And this his how he pays us back.


 Just because you are blind to it does not mean the latent racist mentality does not exist in local municipalities, or even state and federal.  That said violence need not be present for racism to affect populations in negative ways.  Racism benefits only one group, the powerful, everyone else suffers.

mitch young
mitch young

Uh, 'the Klan' didn't lynch anyone in Orange County either. I'm not sure that any lynching has been pinned on the second Klan in the entire US. (Most lynchings were ad hoc affairs. In fact the second Klan was a lot like La Raza -- it was advocating for the ethnic interests of native-born white Americans. In fact, it was way more excusable than 'La Raza' ; at least the Second Klan just wanted to preserve for themselves what their ancestors had built. La Raza wants to take over the social capital built by others.

So the real take home message is yes, there were so many of them. Intelligent, active, the founders of the county which was so prosperous that Klavito's father settled there, rather than in, say, Compton.


While I appreciate the thought, be warned: my pathetic fanboys will ceaselessly harass you for daring to show logic!

NG Coot
NG Coot

How many people did the OC Klan lynch, kill or talk mean to?


You might appreciate this:   Malik Ali informed the crowd that Latinos are Native Americans and California is Mexico del Norte.

see 37:50 into his talk - http://youtu.be/Kxl299EPVaQ

NG Coot
NG Coot

What does this have to do with St. Joseph and "the hooded menance"?  I have never heard of anything like that - did you just pull that out of your ass?

mitch young
mitch young

I don't understand. You're little casper (I'm guessing) Vertov is all riled up about 'white supremacy' (i.e. the belief of just about every white man and woman alive in the 1920s that white people built the US and should continue to dominate it). But the single St. Joseph's incident was between whites.  


The 80 year old Santa Ana house I live in has on the original deed a little line about NOT being able to sell to blacks or hispanics. I'm sure this same community spirit was also in force when it came to jobs and educational opportunities.Just a bunch of good ol' boys keepin' what's RIGHTFULLY THEIRS. What could be wrong with that?People like Mitch make me love bumpersticker slogans like this;



You should write ana article on the other klans out in santa ana. Such as, the lopers, f troop, bloods, crips, little towners, 17th st, and all of the other jotos running around with mexican flag on american soil. You suck as a writer. Maybe your editor should give your artical to scott moxley. Hes not mexican, but he can write up a storm around you pendejo. You call americans. Know nothings, but you have no other topics than bashing americans and praising law breaking wet backs. "Good yob" .


Oy vey...have trashed him many times before, and will do so anew...


You first.


Proves again you don't read ANYTHING. Go get a life, loser.

NG Coot
NG Coot

What is the "St. Joseph incident"?  I don't believe that I heard of that before.


 Yeah like life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness was only for one race!  Well done asshole.


NG Coot,Discrimination is ALWAYS vicious and hideous, especially when it's directed at you and yours. Time to step out of your bubble.


Yeah, the wording was Negros and Mexicans, feel better?

Mitch is soooo right, so what If the good ol' boys didn't want to let the nigras and beaners buy into THEIR communities, what possible difference could it make? Keep the races separate, that's all the klansmen wanted, just a little purity.The beaners and nigras shoulda stayed in their place, their gettin' all uppity has caused all the problems. I'm sure poor Mitch has had it ten times as hard, the OC ain't no place for a white boy. 

And your right, if only you'd been born injun, all you'd have needed to do is survive a little genocide to be lucky enough to get some of that barren reservation land. White boys don't get any breaks.

 Mitch if you can't find a local KKK chapter the Nazis are still active, I'm sure you'll find acceptance and comfort there.

NG Coot
NG Coot

While regretable and wrong that is NOT vicious and hideous terror as purported by Gustavo.

mitch young
mitch young

First I'm gonna call a bit of bullshit, because the term 'hispanic' woudn't have been used back then. But sure, these clauses existed.

But so what? Who planned the community and even--back then -- built the house? And look at what has happened to Santa Ana. Restrictive covenants were designed exactly to prevent  white neighborhoods from turning into ghettos or barrios. Then look at Santa Ana and compare its crime rates to whiter communities. Look at Detriot. I don't support restrictive covenants, probably wouldn't have then either, but I see what their purpose was and it was hardly so evil. Black people and, presumably Mexicans, founded their own communities back in the day.

And its not like these sorts of things don't exist all over the world. In Mexico, until recently, many people had rights to live on certain lands that were denied to others -- look up 'ejido'. The lands were *their* community and could not be sold to outsiders. And in the US today, I as a non-so-called 'Native American' can't buy land on a reservation. 

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