The Mendelson Family: Pioneer Inn Keepers of San Juan Capistrano

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The Jewish population of some of the early communities of what became Orange County, California in 1889 was rather substantial, as indicated by a statement in an Anahein newspaper in 1880: “On Wednesday, owing to the closing of many stores on account of it being a Jewish holiday [Yom Kippur], the town was abnormally quiet and dull.”

The Mendelsons

Values Codes  I-E-L-P


Morris A. Mendelson

Morris A. Mendelson and his brothers and sisters were all born in Calish, Poland.Mendelson brothers OC

Morris A. Mendelson was a merchant/tailor with a store on what is now Lincoln Avenue.

In 1874, Morris A. Mendelson was one of the three men who conducted the first High Holy Day services in what is now Orange County.

In 1878 Morris Mendelson was one of the five men who incorporated the Anaheim Hebrew Cemetery Association.

His activities received a good deal of attention in the press over the years. His social, religious, and business life were mentioned regularly.


Max Mendelson

Max Mendelson was born in Calish, Poland in 1837.

He was made a citizen in St. Louis in 1861.

Max and his family moved to San Juan Capistrano and built the Mendelson Mission Inn.

Max and his wife, Clara had seven children.

Mendelson Mission Inn Postcard

Mendelson Mission Inn

The Mendelson Mission Inn stood until the middle 1930s.

Morris and Max’s families stayed in close contact throughout the years.


Louis Mendelson

Louis Mendelson was born in Calish, Poland in 1840.

He was in business in Anahein in 1870, but in 1871 moved to Baja California – the first known Jewish settler.


Mendel Mendelson

Mendel Mendelson lived in San Francisco.



The Five Mendelson Sisters

There were five Mendelson sisters: Helena, Rachel, Libby, Lena, and Hannah.

Rachel Married Philip Davis in 1864, and Helena married Gustav Davis in 1873. Philip and Gustave were brothers.


More information can be found in the following issue of Western States Jewish History:

  • Two Orange County Pioneer Families: Mendelson and Davis, Vol. 44 No. 3/4

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