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Encyclopedia > Rock Springs Massacre

The Rock Springs Massacre or Rock Springs Riot (sometimes known as the Rock Springs Attack) occurred on September 2, 1885 in the town of Rock Springs, Wyoming, in present day Sweetwater County. The massacre pitted white miners against immigrant Chinese miners, in a murderous, racially-motivated attack. By the end of the riot 28 Chinese miners lay dead and more than a dozen lay wounded. More than $150,000 in property damage, caused by fire, also occurred as more than 50 Chinese homes were burned. The incident was the deadliest of the many anti-Chinese incidents of violence in the 19th Century. September 2 is the 245th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (246th in leap years). ... 1885 (MDCCCLXXXV) is a common year starting on Thursday. ... Rock Springs is a city located in Sweetwater County, Wyoming. ... Sweetwater County is a county located in the state of Wyoming. ...


National conditions

Chinese gold miners during the California Gold Rush.
Chinese gold miners during the California Gold Rush.

Anti-Chinese sentiment in the United States was at a fever pitch at the time of the Rock Springs Riot. In 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act had required "from and after the expiration of ninety days next after the passage of this act, and until the expiration of ten years next after the passage of this act, the coming of Chinese laborers to the United States be, and the same is hereby, suspended; and during such suspension it shall not be lawful for any Chinese laborer to come." The California Gold Rush (1848-1855) was the first “world-class gold rush. ... The Chinese Exclusion Act may be: Another name for the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923 in Canada, coined by the Chinese-Canadian community. ...

Chinese or "coolie" labor, as it was known by many in the anti-Chinese movement was despised. As early as 1876 anti-Chinese conventions were being held in the American West, the area primarily influenced by the influx of Chinese labor. One such convention in San Francisco, according to reports of the day, attracted thousands of people, including then California Governor William Irwin. Irwin read a statement at the convention from George C. Haight that many historians feel revealed the true impetus behind the fervor of anti-Chinese sentiment: East Indian coolies on a Trinidad Cacao Estate, circa 1903. ... William Irwin 13th Governor of California Bill Irwin is also the name of a modern-day American actor and clown William Irwin (1827 - March 15, 1886) was a California politician from the Democratic Party, who served as Governor of California between 1875 and 1880 after having been Acting Lieutenant Governor...

The Chinese are not and never can become homogenous; they are of a distinct race, of a different and peculiar civilization; they do not speak our language, do not adopt our manners, customs or habits; are Pagan in belief. They fill our prisons, asylums and hospitals; are a grievous burden to our tax-payers.[1]

While Chinese labor was a force in the American West the vast masses of immigrants to the United States were coming from Europe, not Asia. Writing for The North American Review in February 1884 J.R. Tucker stated that Chinese in the United States stood at 105,465, or around 0.2 percent of the total population. U.S. Minister to China, George Seward asserted similar numbers in Scribner's Magazine five years earlier. First issue of the North American Review with signature of its editor William Tudor (1779-1830). ... Scribners Magazine is a magazine. ...

Although Chinese immigration wasn't en masse the nation over, Tucker (in numbers corrobarated by Seward) goes on to state the the vast majority of Chinese immigrants, 93,244, resided within California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington Territory. Tucker's own biases, however, shine through in the same Feb. 1884 article calling "the Asiatic race, alien in blood, habits, and civilization." Tucker also noted, "Chinese are the chief element in this Asiatic population."

In the years leading up to violence in Rock Springs popular publications continued to vilify the immigrant Chinese as Tucker and others had. Overland and Out West Magazine writer James O'Meara noted in 1884, "The better class of Chinese never emigrate and the great mass of Chinese who come here are the lowest and the vilest of their race." Overland Monthly was a monthly magazine based in California published in the 19th and 20th century. ...

Wyoming immigrants

In 1850 Wyoming was part of three territories, Utah, Oregon, and the "Unorganized Territories." Asian immigration had not yet begun en masse. The 1850 census in Utah County notes only four "yellow" people, these are the first documented Asian immigrants in the intermountain west. The first Chinese immigrants to Wyoming probably came shortly after the 1850 census, within the decade. Utah County is a county located in the state of Utah. ...

The first jobs Chinese laborers took in Wyoming were on the railroad, working for Union Pacific (UP), as maintenance-of-the-way workers. Soon Chinese workers became an asset for the Union Pacific company and Chinese workers could be found along their rail lines and within their coal mines from Laramie to Evanston. Most of the Chinese workers in Wyoming would end up working in Sweetwater County but a large number settled in Carbon County and Uinta County. The 1870 census showed that in Uinta and Sweetwater Counties all 96 Chinese "laborers," were miners, there were no other occupations listed for the Chinese nor were there any Chinese females. At the time Uinta and Sweetwater counties ran from the Utah-Colorado border to the Montana border. Places Laramie, Wyoming Laramie County, Wyoming Laramie River North Laramie River People LaRamie, Jacques, French fur trapper killed by American Indians on the river bearing his name Other The Man from Laramie, a 1955 American western movie directed by Anthony Mann The Laramie Project, a play later made into a... Sweetwater County is a county located in the state of Wyoming. ... Carbon County is a county located in the state of Wyoming. ... Uinta County is a county located in the state of Wyoming. ...

In 1874, after labor unrest disrupted their coal production, Union Pacific began to hire the Chinese to work in their coal mines throughout southern Wyoming. Even so, Chinese population rose slowly at first, however, where there were Chinese immigrants they were genrally concentrated in one area. Red Desert, a remote section camp in Sweetwater county, there were 20 inhabitants, 12 of them were Chinese. All 12 were laborers with the foreman being an American. To the east of Red Desert was another remote section camp, Washakie. An American section foreman lived here amongst 23 others, including 13 Chinese laborers and an Irish crew foreman. In all the various section camps along the main line of the Union Pacific Railroad Chinese workers far outnumbered any other nationality. Though the 79 Chinese in Sweetwater county in 1870 represented only 4% of the population, they were, again, concentrated. In Rock Springs and Green River, the two largest towns along the UP line, there were no Chinese residents reported in 1870.

By 1880 most of the Chinese residents in Sweetwater County lived in Rock Springs. Throughout the 1870s the Chinese population in Sweetwater County and all of Wyoming steadily increased. In 1870's U.S. Census what the government today calls "Asian and Pacific Islander" represented only 143 members of the population of Wyoming. The increase in the decade from 1870–1880 is largest increase, percentage-wise, in the Asian population of Wyoming in any decade since. The increase represented a nearly 3% jump in the Asian population and many of these people were Chinese immigrants who had come to work in the mines. In 1880 Wyoming was home to 914 "Asians," a number which fell significantly in the years from 1880–1890, to 465.[2] The U.S. Census is mandated by the United States Constitution. ...

The Rock Springs of 1880 was home to Chinese laborers, miners, a professional gambler, a priest, a cook, and a barber. Most Chinese workers were employed in the coal mines around Wyoming and Sweetwater County but some did work in other professional fields. In Green River, Wyoming there was a Chinese doctor. Also in Green River, and Fort Washakie Chinese servants and waiters found work. In Atlantic City, Wyoming, Miner's Delight, Wyoming, and Red Canyon, Wyoming Chinese gold miners were employed. However, the majority of the 193 Chinese residing in Sweetwater County by 1880 worked in the coal mines. Green River is a city located in Sweetwater County, Wyoming. ... Atlantic City is a census-designated place located in Fremont County, Wyoming. ...

As the number of Chinese began to increase so to did the criticism of the Chinese. Newspapers spent more time discussing Chinese exclusion. In 1882 a newly appointed attache at the Chinese embassy to the United States, Chang Tsung Liang, visited Wyoming. He remarked about his treatment. According to the Cheyenne Daily Leader:

[E]xpressed his pleasure at the prosperous appearance of Cheyenne as compared with other towns he had passed along the route, inquired after his countrymen here and if they were "comfortable" and mentioned, evidently with hurt feelings, the very rude manner in which some loafers had behaved at Rock Springs as he passed through there, in calling him "bad names" "not like gentlemen and very rude.

Race prejudice predominated most of the white interaction with the Chinese, through the popular press, through labor policy or just through someone on the street calling them a "bad name," as Liang put it. Regardless, the Chinese worked alongside the same white men in the coal mines, coal mines that were frought with peril. The Almy mine exploded the first time, in 1881, of the 38 miners killed, 35 were Chinese, the other three were what newspapers at the time called "white men." The 1881 explosion marked the first coal mine explosion in Wyoming history, it would not be the last time lives were lost in Wyoming's coal mines.[3]

Prior anti-Chinese activity

Chinese miners at a typical mine camp in the American West are depicted in this image from c. 1851–57.
Chinese miners at a typical mine camp in the American West are depicted in this image from c. 1851–57.

Anti-Chinese violence exploded in the American west in the years before the Rock Springs Massacre. The violence was fed by large public anti-Chinese emotion. The 1876 convention in San Francisco attracted 25,000 people, according to the New York Times reporting on the convention. In fact the Times asserted that San Francisco was a veritable hotbed of anti-Chinese political activity, some legal some not.

Anti-Chinese activity in San Francisco dates as far back as the 1850s and riots occurred in 1871 and 1878. In the 1878 riots a large number of Chinese owned businesses were burned.[4]

In Rock Springs the Chinese laborers had indured all manner of activity aimed at bringing about their expulsion. In the two years leading up to the massacre a "Whitemen's Town" had been established, according to the Chinese immigrants who lived in Rock Springs. In August 1885 notices were posted from Evanston to Rock Springs, Wyoming demanding the expulsion of all Chinese immigrants. On the evening of September l, 1885, one day before the violence the bell of the building in which the anti-Chinese organization met rang for a meeting. It was rumored on that night that threats had been made against the Chinese, according to the immigrants who were living there.[5]

The American west wasn't the only part of the country where strong anti-Chinese activity was prevalent. Out east, in Buffalo, New York, the Labor Reform and Anti Chinese League was meeting as early as 1870.[6]

The Rock Springs Massacre

The massacre of Chinese miners in Rock Springs, Wyoming is depicted in this engraving from Harper's Weekly, 1885.
The massacre of Chinese miners in Rock Springs, Wyoming is depicted in this engraving from Harper's Weekly, 1885.

The massacre in Rock Springs was the culmination of years of anti-Chinese furor and legislation. Many white miners at the Union Pacific owned mines in Rock Springs saw the importation of Chinese labor as akin to a "system worse than slavery." An argument that stated, in part, that the Chinese laborers drove wages down for the white miners, including the Swedish and Welsh immigrants who staffed the mines at Rock Springs, because they accepted lower wages. The Union Pacific Railroad (NYSE: UNP) is the largest railroad in the United States. ...

At 7 o'clock in the morning on September 2, 1885 ten white men, some in ordinary garb others in miners uniforms showed up to Coal Pit No. 6 at the Rock Springs mine. They demanded that the Chinese had no right to be or work there. The few Chinese present tried to reason with the small mob but to no avail as the white miners attacked the Chinese with weapons they carried with them. Three Chinese workers at Coal Pit No. 6 were wounded in the melee causing the white mine foreman to suspend work at the pit for the day. September 2 is the 245th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (246th in leap years). ... 1885 (MDCCCLXXXV) is a common year starting on Thursday. ...

After the work stoppage at pit no. 6 more white miners began to assemble by the dozens. They marched to Rock Springs by way of the railroad, some men carrying firearms. At about ten a.m. the bell in the meeting hall tolled once again and more miners poured out of that building. By this time the crowd had grown quite large. At two o'clock that afternoon the mob began to move toward Chinatown in Rock Springs, they moved in two groups and entered Chinatown by two serperate bridges. The larger group entered by way of the railroad bridge and was divided into several squads, a few of which remained standing on the opposite side of the bridge outside of Chinatown. The smaller group came by way of the town's plank bridge. The gate to Montreals Chinatown which has Chinese, Japanese and Korean restaurants inside the complex. ...

Several of the squads from the larger group broke off and headed up the hill toward Coal Pit No. 3. One of those squads took up a position at the Coal Shed No. 3 and the another at the pump house. The first shots then rang out. The Chinese present said at the time that the squad at the pump house fired the first shots and the group at the coal shed quickly followed suit. Lor Sun Kit, a Chinese laborer, fell to the ground shot. Still, the Chinese did not flee the scene.

Among the immigrants, men, women and children. The American West, far and away, had the highest concentration of Chinese immigrants.
Among the immigrants, men, women and children. The American West, far and away, had the highest concentration of Chinese immigrants.

As the group from Coal Pit No. 3 rejoined the mob the crowd pressed on toward Chinatown, some men firing their weapons as they went. It was at this time that the smaller group of white miners, at the plank bridge, divided itself into several squads moved nearer to and surrounded Chinatown while leaving one squad at the plank bridge in order to cut off any Chinese retreat. As the white miners moved into Chinatown many of the Chinese began to hear news of the activity and that two Chinese, Leo Dye Bah and Yip Ah Marn, residents of the west and east sides of Chinatown respectively, had already been killed. As the news of the murders spread the Chinese began to flee in fear and confusion. They fled in every direction, some went up the hill behind Coal Pit No. 3, others along the base of the hill at Coal Pit No. 4 is; others still, from the eastern end of the town, fled across Bitter Creek to the opposite hill, and others from the western end of Chinatown fled across the base of the hill on the right of Coal Pit No. 5. The mob was coming from three directions by this time, the east and west ends of town and the wagon road.

The Chinese immigrants present presented their own grisly account of the melee to the Chinese consul in New York, after the Rock Springs Massacre.

Whenever the mob met a Chinese they stopped him and, pointing a weapon at him, asked him if he had any revolver, and then approaching him they searched his person, robbing him of his watch or any gold or silver that he might have about him, before letting him go. Some of the rioters would let a Chinese go after depriving him of all his gold and silver, while another Chinese would be beaten with the butt ends of the weapons before being let go. Some of the rioters, when they could not stop a Chinese, would shoot him dead on the spot, and then search and rob him. Some would-overtake a Chinese, throw him down and search and rob him before they would let him go. Some of the rioters would not fire their weapons, but would only use the butt ends to beat the Chinese with. Some would not beat a Chinese, but rob him of whatever he had and let him go, yelling to him to go quickly. Some, who took no part either in beating or robbing the Chinese, stood by, shouting loudly and laughing and clapping their hands.

A little past 3:30 p.m. and the massacre was in full swing. Some of the women in Rock Springs had gathered in a group at the plank bridge where they stood and cheered the rampage on. Two of the women present even fired shots at the Chinese.

As the riot wore on into the night the Chinese miners were scattered far and wide, in the hills, others lying in the grass hiding. Between four and nine p.m. some of the rioters went about setting fire to the camp houses belonging to the coal company. By nine all but one of the Chinese camp houses had been burned completely. In all, 79 Chinese homes were destroyed by fire.

Of the Chinese killed some died on the banks of Bitter Creek as they fled. Others were murdered near the railroad bridge as they attempted to escape the bloodbath in Chinatown. The rioters carried some of the bodies off and threw them into the flames of the burning buildings. Some Chinese immigrants, who had hid in their houses instead of flee, were murdered and then their bodies, too, were burned. Even the sick amongst the Chinese were not spared as some who could not run were burned alive in their camp houses. One final Chinese immigrant was found dead in a laundry house in Whitemen's Town and his home was demolished by rioters. In total 28 Chinese miners lay dead and at least 15 were wounded, though accounts of the wounded vary.[7]

Outcome of the riot

In the days following the riots many of the Chinese in Rock Springs fled 100 miles west to Evanston, Wyoming. By September 5 most of the Chinese that had fled Rock Springs were in Evanston. Once there they still endured all manner of threats, threats of murder, burning and other horrific crimes. Before that was able to happen though, the U.S. Army showed up and restored some resemblance of order. On September 9 the army was ordered to escort the Chinese miners back to Rock Springs. Rumors of the return had been flying practically since the riots were still going on. On September 3 The Rock Springs Independent published an editorial that confirmed the rumors as some of the Chinese began to trickle back into town to search for valuables. Evanston is a city in Uinta County, Wyoming, United States. ... The Army is the branch of the United States armed forces which has primary responsibility for land-based military operations. ...

Image:Warren Rock springs.jpg
Wyoming Territorial Gov. Francis E. Warren tried to cast himself as the protector of the Chinese.

"It means that Rock Springs is killed, as far as white men are concerned, if such program is carried out," The Independent said of the return of immigrant labor to Rock Springs. Francis Emroy Warren (June 20, 1844-November 24, 1929) was an American politician of the Republican Party best known for his years in the United States Senate from Wyoming. ...

In Rock Springs the Chinese laborers found only death and destruction. Burned out tracts of land stood where their homes once had. The mining company had buried only a few of the dead, others remained lying out in the open mangled and decomposed, partially eaten by dogs, hogs or other animals.

The New York Times chastized the residents of Rock Springs in its own editorial on November 10, 1885. They specifically pointed the finger not only at those who carried out the massacre but also those who stood by and let the mob have its way that day. November 10 is the 314th day of the year (315th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 51 days remaining. ... 1885 (MDCCCLXXXV) is a common year starting on Thursday. ...

By December President Grover Cleveland was preparing for his State of the Union Address (in those days the State of the Union was given before the New Year). Cleveland's speech pointed out that America was interested in good relations with China. He also assured Americans that those responsible for acts of violence against Chinese immigrants would be subject to "all of the power of this government should be exhorted to maintain the amplest good faith towards China in the treatment of these men and the inflexible sternness of the law . . . must be insisted upon." Cleveland also noted that "race prejudice is the chief factor to originating these disturbances." Stephen Grover Cleveland (March 18, 1837 – June 24, 1908) was the 22nd (1885–1889) and 24th (1893–1897) President of the United States, and the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms. ... 2003 State of the Union address given by U.S. President George W. Bush The State of the Union Address is an annual event in which the President of the United States reports on the status of the country, normally to a joint session of the U.S. Congress (the...

No person or persons were ever convicted in the brutality of Rock Springs. Those who were arrested as "suspects" in the riots were released a little more than a month after the riots on October 7, 1885. On their release they were "met . . . by several hundred men, women and children, and treated to a regular ovation," according to the reporting of the New York Times. October 7 is the 280th day of the year (281st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1885 (MDCCCLXXXV) is a common year starting on Thursday. ...

Post-massacre violence

Rock Springs and Cleveland's State of the Union speech didn't mark an end to anti-Chinese feelings in the United States, nor did it mark an end to anti-Chinese violence. Some of the actions were directly or indirectly fueled by the events in Rock Springs. Many of the events were specifically part of the larger wave of anti-Chinese violence that followed in the immediate aftermath of the Rock Springs Massacre

Violence at Squak

Anti-Chinese hop farmer George W. Tibbetts (b. 1845). Tibbetts gave a first hand account of the riot at Squak.
Anti-Chinese hop farmer George W. Tibbetts (b. 1845). Tibbetts gave a first hand account of the riot at Squak.

In Washington state, mainly in the Puyallup Valley, hop farmers used mostly Indian labor as hop pickers. After the depression in 1883 they started hiring on a few whites. Hop farmers, the Wold Brothers had a hop farm near present day Issaquah, Washington, known as Squak at the time, and in September 1885 they employed 37 Chinese laborers at a price undercutting the Native American and white worker's wages. On the 5 the of September a band of white and Indian hop pickers began threatening the Chinese as a mob in order to get them to leave Squak. The Wold brothers protected their workers and the crowd disbanded. They returned two days later and made the same demands, that the Chinese leave. Again, they failed. Issaquah city hall. ...

The result, that night five white men and two Native Americans climbed over the fence which enclosed the Wold brothers Chinese labor camps. The group fired into the tents of the sleeping Chinese workers, three were killed, three others wounded.

In 1887 anti-Chinese hop farmer and merchant George W. Tibbetts provided a first-hand account [2] of the violence at Issaquah. He said, in part, "Intense excitement was aroused all over the county and other attacks upon Chinamen followed and the entire Puget Sound country was torn with dissensions and bitter feelings almost to the point of civil war."

Eventually three men were arrested for their part in the violence at Squak but they were all acquitted at trial.[8]

Riot in Seattle

Anti-Chinese riots broke out in Seattle in 1886. This image is from Harper's Weekly, March 6, 1886
Anti-Chinese riots broke out in Seattle in 1886. This image is from Harper's Weekly, March 6, 1886

On February 8, 1886 a mob at the dock in Seattle, Washington rounded up the city's Chinese and took them to where ships were waiting to transport them away. The police made a futile attempt to protect the Chinese but the mob was insatiable and continued to riot accordingly. The governor of Washington, Watson Squire, ordered that the ship not be allowed to leave the dock. The next morning more than 350 Chinese gathered at the shore to await the next ship for San Francisco, due in six days. 200 of the Chinese embarked for San Francisco on the first ship, leaving some 150 others on shore, stranded. Harpers Weekly Inauguration Number 1897 Harpers Weekly (A Journal of Civilization) was an American political magazine published by Harper & Brothers from 1857 until 1916. ... March 6 is the 65th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (66th in Leap years). ... 1886 (MDCCCLXXXVI) is a common year starting on Friday (click on link to calendar) // Events January 18 - Modern field hockey is born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England. ... February 8 is the 39th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1886 (MDCCCLXXXVI) is a common year starting on Friday (click on link to calendar) // Events January 18 - Modern field hockey is born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England. ... A dock is an area of water between two piers or alongside a pier, forming a chamber used for building or repairing one ship. ... Nickname: The Emerald City Location of Seattle in King County and Washington Coordinates: Country United States State Washington County King County Incorporated December 2, 1869 Mayor Greg Nickels Area    - City 369. ... Watson Carvosso Squire (May 18, 1838 - June 7, 1926) was a United States Senator from Washington. ...

The forces of Chinese defense weren't truly interested in defending the rights of the Chinese but, rather, merely the legality of the methods being used to expel them.

When the Home Guards tried to get the throng of Chinese workers to return to their homes the crowd rioted and the deputies fired into the crowd, one person was killed and four others wounded. As a result Cleveland and Squire declared martial law. Eventually passions in Seattle cooled, as they did elsewhere, as most of the Chinese immigrants ended up departing by March of 1886.

Congress paid $276,619.15 to the Chinese government in compensation for the rioting, the actual victims never saw any such compensation.

Other violence

As far away as Augusta, Georgia hatred was inflamed by the anti-Chinese massacre at Rock Springs. In Augusta, according to the reporting of the New York Times, much of the hatred was fueled by the desire of anti-Chinese Georgians to air their grievances following the rioting in Rock Springs. Nickname: The Garden City (of the South), Masters City, The AUG Motto: We feel Good Location of the consolidated areas of Augusta and Richmond County in the state of Georgia. ...

Back out west, in a wave of violence touched off by the Rock Springs Massacre, several people were killed. Another mob of whites burned down the barracks of 36 coal miners near Newcastle, Washington. Throughout the Puget Sound area Chinese workers were driven out of communities in response to the Rock Springs Massacre. Chinese people were driven out of Tacoma, Seattle, Maury Island, Port Townsend, Newcastle, Sumner, Whatcom and, of course, Issaquah (Squak). Newcastle is a city located in King County, Washington. ... Puget Sound Puget Sound is an arm (sound) of the Pacific Ocean in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. ... Tacoma, with Mount Rainier in background You may be looking for Takoma or Tacoma class frigate. ... City nickname Emerald City City bird Great Blue Heron City flower Dahlia City mottos The City of Flowers The City of Goodwill City song Seattle, the Peerless City Mayor Greg Nickels County King County Area   - Total   - Land   - Water   - % water 369. ... Maury Island is a island in Washington States Puget Sound connected Vashon Island by a isthmus built by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers that connects the two. ... Port Townsend is a city located in Jefferson County, Washington. ... Sumner is a city located in Pierce County, Washington. ... Nickname: City of Subdued Excitement Location in the state of Washington Coordinates: Country United States State Washington County Whatcom County Mayor Mark Asmundson* Area    - City 82. ...

The Knights of Labor, sensing opportunity, stepped up their anti-Chinese rhetoric and focused attention anew on Tacoma, Washington. In October 1885 protesters in Tacoma announced that all Chinese in the city would have to leave by November, some left, some stayed. In early November a mob of whites, led by the Tacoma Mayor Jacob Robert Weisbach and backed by the Tacoma Police moved into Chinatown and ordered the residents leave the city. The mob marched the Chinese to a railroad station and stuck them on a train to Portland. In Tacoma, few citizens resisted the mob action, Chinese hatred was widespread. Old Town neighborhood in Tacoma, with Mount Rainier (Tahoma) in background Nickname: The City of Destiny Location of Tacoma in Pierce County and Washington State County Pierce Mayor Bill Baarsma (NP) Area    - City 162. ...

Oregon Territory was not immune from the ensuing wave of anti-Chinese violence in the western United States. In Oregon, too, mobs drove Chinese workers out of small towns and workplaces territory wide in the winter of 1885 and summer of 1886. Many of the Chinese expelled across Oregon made their way to Portland, where they settled in the city's Chinatown. In Portland the Chinese were mostly tolerated because of its close commercial shipping ties to China. The Oregon Territory is the name applied both to the unorganized Oregon Country claimed by both the United States and Britain, as well as to the organized U.S. territory formed from it that existed between 1848 and 1859. ...

Anti-Chinese violence didn't die off in 1886. In 1887 in Oregon's Hell's Canyon on the Snake River a gang of at least four white men robbed, murdered and mutilated 31 Chinese men. Three people were brought to trial but none was ever convicted. This article is about the Snake River in the northwestern United States. ...

Anti-Chinese rhetoric

Terence Powderly was a force in the Knights of Labor. He wrote in favor of excluding Chinese laborers.
Terence Powderly was a force in the Knights of Labor. He wrote in favor of excluding Chinese laborers.

The rhetoric from anti-Chinese activists and writers was not toned down as a result of the rising tide of violence either. Powerful Knights of Labor leader Terence Powderly wrote in a letter to W.W. Stone (excerpts of which he included in a report to Congress)that, "It is not necessary for me to speak of the numerous reasons given for the opposition to this particular race—their habits, religion, customs and practices . . ." Powderly blamed the "problem" of Chinese immigration on the failings of the 1882 Exclusion Act. He even went so far as to blame Chinese immigration, not those who perpetuated the deed, for the attacks at Rock Springs. Powderly wrote: Congress should stop "winking at violations of this statute" and reform the laws that bar Chinese immigration and incidents such as 'the recent assault upon the Chinese at Rock Springs" would never have occurred.[9] Knights of Labor seal The Knights of Labor was a labor union founded in secrecy in December 1869, by a group of Philadelphia tailors led by Uriah S. Stephens. ...

Aside from powerful labor organizations the anti-Chinese sentiment exploded from all sides of the spectrum. Religious publications, such as Baptist Missionary Magazine painted Chinese as "heathens" further justifying anti-Chinese action and legislation. the National Police Gazette a men's journal as popular as Playboy, in its heyday, consistently used the belittling term "Celestials" to describe Chinese people, the New York Times was just as guilty in reports on the Rock Springs incident in the days that followed the massacre. The Police Gazette has been the title of several publications. ... Playboy is an American adult entertainment magazine, founded in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and his associates, which has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc. ...

Anti-Chinese sentiment was widespread, as even those who tried to defend the Chinese (such as the Times) were just as guilty of spreading disparaging stereotypes about Chinese immigrants. The Chautauquan: A Weekly Newsmagazine "To murder an industrious Chinaman is the same kind of fiendish work as the murder of women and children—it is equally a violation of the rights of the defenceless (sic)."

See also

// Headline text This is a chronological list of historical riots: 18th century and earlier 532 - Nika riots, (Constantinople, Byzantine Empire). ... This article is becoming very long. ... Rock Springs is a city located in Sweetwater County, Wyoming. ... The Chinese Exclusion Act may be: Another name for the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923 in Canada, coined by the Chinese-Canadian community. ...


  1. ^ New York Times, "Anti Chinese Demonstration," April 5, 1876
  2. ^ Historic Wyoming Census(1870–1990), U.S. Census Bureau [1]
  3. ^ Wyoming and the Chinese: Western Wyoming Community College
  4. ^ New York Times, "The Cost of an Anti Chinese Riot," November 9, 1878
  5. ^ To This We Dissented:testimony from Chinese workers at Rock Springs to the Chinese consul in New York
  6. ^ New York Times, Labor Meeting at Buffalo—Opposition to the Introduction of Chinese, November 3, 1870
  7. ^ To This We Dissented"
  8. ^ White and Indian hop pickers attack Chinese: The Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History
  9. ^ W.W. Stone, "The Knights of Labor on the Chinese Labor Situation," Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine, March 1886, no.39, pg 1.

April 5 is the 95th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (96th in leap years). ... 1876 (MDCCCLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... November 9 is the 313th day of the year (314th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 52 days remaining. ... 1878 (MDCCCLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... November 3 is the 307th day of the year (308th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 58 days remaining. ... 1870 (MDCCCLXX) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ...

Further reading


  • Courtney, William, San Francisco’s Anti-Chinese Ordinances 1850-1900 (University of San Francisco)(1956)


  • A.A Sargent, “The Wyoming Anti-Chinese Riot”, Overland and Out West Magazine, Jan 1886, no. 37, pg.54
  • James O’Meara, "The Chinese in the Early Days," Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine. May 1884, no. 5, pg 477
  • W.W. Stone, "The Knights of Labor on the Chinese Labor Situation," Overland and Out West Magazine. March 1886, no.39, pg 1
  • Max, "Not the Chinese, but the Land-Thieves," Liberty (Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order), March 17, 1883, pg 4.
  • H. Shewin, "Observations on the Chinese Laborer," Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine, Jan. 1886, no. 37, pg 91
  • "The Chinese Massacre," The National Police Gazette, Sep 19, 1885, no. 418, pg 2.
  • "Missionary News," Baptist Missionary Magazine, May 1887, no. 67, pg 144


  • New York Times, "The Chinese," April 14, 1876
  • New York Times, "The Pacific Coast," Aug. 20, 1870
  • New York Times, "An Anti Chinese Convention," Oct. 20, 1873
  • New York Times, "Anti Chinese Demonstration," April 5, 1876
  • New York Times, "Chinese Immigration," April 7, 1876
  • New York Times, "The Chinese," April 14, 1876
  • New York Times, "The Cost of an Anti Chinese Riot," Nov. 9, 1878
  • New York Times, Labor Meeting at Buffalo—Opposition to the Introduction of Chinese, Nov. 3, 1870
  • New York Times, "The Rock Springs Massacre," Sep. 26, 1885
  • New York Times, "The Chinese Must Leave," Sep. 29, 1885
  • New York Times. Anti Chinese Sentiment, Oct. 8, 1885
  • Rock Springs Independent, Editorial, September 3, 1885
  • New York Times, "The Chinese in Augusta," Oct. 28, 1885
  • New York Times, "The Wyoming Massacre," Sep. 6, 1885
  • New York Times, "War on the Chinese," Sep. 10, 1885

Online Documents

  • Timeline on Asian Immigration from the University of Maryland
  • To This We Dissented - testimony from Chinese workers at Rock Springs to the Chinese consul in New York
  • Seattle Mob Rounds Up Chinese from the Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History
  • Wyoming and the Chinese from Western Wyoming Community College
  • White and Indian hop pickers attack Chinese from the Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History
  • Historic Wyoming Census (1870-1990) from the U.S. Census Bureau

University of Maryland, College Park The University of Maryland, College Park (also known as UM, UMD, or UMCP) is a public coeducational university situated in suburban College Park, Maryland just outside Washington, D.C. The flagship institution of the University System of Maryland, the university is most often referred to... The United States Census Bureau (officially Bureau of the Census) is a part of the United States Department of Commerce. ...


  • Investigation by Huang Sih Chuen, Chinese consul at New York, of the Chinese Examining Commission, of Chinese laborers killed at Rock Springs, Wyoming Territory, September 2, 1885

External links



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