The Mendelson family, originally from Poland, consisted of three brothers and five sisters, many of whom found a home in early Orange County. Max ran the Mendelson Mission Inn in San Juan Capistrano, Rachel and Helena married the Davis brothers, and Morris was a merchant well known for his sense of humor. One of his print ads in an early Anaheim newspaper reads: “Young man! Ain’t you ashamed to go see your girl in those old clothes? Pitch them over the back fence and give M.A. Mendelson & Co. your order for a nobby ‘sparkling’ suit. She will be surprised and pleased at your improved appearance.” Morris was also very connected to his Judaism; in 1874 he conducted High Holiday services in the Anaheim home of butcher Bernard Cohen, and in 1878, Morris, along with four others, purchased land and organized the Anaheim Hebrew Cemetery Association. However, since most Jews were buried in Los Angeles, the plot was never used and was eventually sold.
Dalia Taft is the archivist of the Orange County Jewish Historical Society and highlights images from the archives every month. For more information, please visit www.jewishorangecounty.org/historical. You can also contact Dalia at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (949) 435-3484, ext. 296.