Profiles in OC Pioneers Who Were Klan Members: Jesse L. Hunter, San Juan Capistrano Innkeeper, Owner of Mexican Restaurant

Even in 1920s Orange County, Know Nothings knew that if they wanted to be successful, they had to do business with Mexicans. You could segregate against them, kick their asses, exploit them--but you needed their money, too, to make sure you could make a living.

That's exactly what happened with Jesse L. Hunter. He and his wife owned the second incarnation of the historic San Juan Inn during the 1920s, and they also ran El Casador Cafe, one of the earliest Mexican restaurants in Orange County and a natural given Capistrano was much more Mexican then than it is today.

And makes total sense given Hunter was one of the few Capistrano members of the Orange County Ku Klux Klan.

The love that gabachos have for Mexican food is known, even racist ones--let's not forget that arch-Know Nothing Tom Tancredo and I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant before our debate last fall. Hunter sure as hell didn't want Mexicans living near him, didn't want them to have equal rights--but their food? Not only would he take their tamales, he'd eat them, too. May he have had more than a couple of bouts of Montezuma's revenge in his day for his nasty bigotry...

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

Previous entries:

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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