OC Pioneers Who Were Klan Members: Joe H. Royer, Fullerton Oil Baron, Namesake of Street

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In the 1920, what wasn't orange groves in North County was oil derricks, speculators, or plain ol' wildcatters. One of the big players in those days was the Royer family, for whom Royer Avenue in Fullerton is named after (technically, it's named after his brother Max, but hold on...). Joe was the main brother, superintendent of the Birch Oil Co. in Brea (for which Birch Avenue is named), eventually renamed Birch-Royer Oil, a name that stayed around well into the 1950s.

Now, I don't know my oil history of OC TOO well, but I do know that one of the largest contingents of members in the OC Klan came from oil workers, which always confused me so until I found out that Joe Royer was a Klan member.

Now it all clicks: if the boss man is Klan, you had to join. Of course, WHY Royer had to feel he needed to join the Klan remains a mystery--all the Mexicans in OC were working in the orange groves at the time, so it wasn't a threat-to-the-working-White-man thing. Maybe it was jes' plain racism, which infected Brea then and today like closeted men in the Republican Party of Orange County...

"OC Pioneers Who Were Klan Members" is an award-winning series examining Orange County's sordid Ku Klux Klan past. Tune in every Monday around 5 p.m. for the latest entry exposing OC's city fathers who were Klan members!

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Previous entries:

Harry Ipsen and E.A. Long, Placentia Treasurer and Councilmember
Emil Carlson, Brea Mayor/Fire Chief, Namesake of Street
Jo Lowell, Santa Ana Rancher, Namesake of Street
A. Verd Napier and James E. Rymer, OC Newspapermen
Walter W. Davis, Health Officer for Brea
Lawrence A. Stevenson, Orange Councilmember
Roscoe Gulick Hewitt, Former Chairman of the OC Republican Party Central Committee
Oswald Richard Meissner, Brea Councilmember
Maurice Enderle, County Assessor
Stanley Edward Goode, Santa Ana Councilmember
Albert Ore, La Habra Pastor
Robert S. Elliott and Dorsey L. Ellis, Santa Ana and Fullerton Police Sergeants
Oliver N. Thornton and James Henry "Harry" Whitaker, Brea and Anaheim Postmasters
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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2 comments
Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young

"all the Mexicans in OC were working in the orange groves at the time, so it wasn't a threat-to-the-working-White-man thing."

 

Get over the persecution complex. The meager Klan activity --- by which I mean actually doing something -- in all of SoCal was directed against bootleggers and European immigrants (aka white folks). Often they were one and the same.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

 @Mitchell_Young As usual, you're wrong pendejo—reread my story on the Klanbuster and remember that the Klan went against Latino bootleggers. Gabas? Not so much...oh, and then there was the crosses burned in barrios.

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