Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Why did the Chinese first start coming to California?


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

"Note that while there were a number of Chinese in California as a result of the Gold Rush, the great majority of Chinese workers on the Central Pacific were recent emigrants – often coming because recruiters in China signed them up. (Times were very hard in China at that time, so emigration for work on the Central Pacific was very attractive.)"

10/02/2013 12:25 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Also see Chinese workers on the Central Pacific Railroad.

10/02/2013 12:27 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Chris Graves"
Subject: Chinese coming to California

If you were to look at the Federal Census of 1850, 1860 1870 and 1880, as well as the California Census of 1852, you will find Chinese, as defined as a person born in China, in the following numbers, all in California:


Nevada census numbers:

Looking at that raw data, it is interesting that James Harvey Strobridge, and his partner of the time, Edwin Pitcher (son of the Governor of New York) were running a hay ranch in Sacramento County in 1852. The census shows 18 Chinese workers working for Mr. Strobridge and Mr. Pitcher.

In sworn testimony before the U.S. Congress, both Mr. Crocker and Mr. Strobridge reported that Chinese workers were not hired in a major way until March, 1865, when the CPRR began grading in Clipper Gap, above Auburn, California.

In that same testimony, Mr. Crocker and Mr. Strobridge reported that the number of Chinese workers peaked at 10,000, this during the grading work over the Sierra. When graders reached what is now Reno, that number was reduced by about one half. As the CPRR graders worked across Nevada, Amasa Leland Stanford contacted Brigham Young, and contracted with Pres't. Young that he would supply laborers from Utah to grade 100 miles west from Monument Point, in the Great Salt Lake Desert, this being a point about where Deeth, Nevada is today.

When the remaining Chinese graders reached Deeth, they found that the grading had been largely completed, therefore the CPRR work force was reduced, again.

The 1870 Census of Nevada shows a large Chinese population in the area of Tuscarora. It is possible that those folks were displaced CPRR workers.

The last question to be asked is: How many of those Chinese counted in the census were women, joining the male workers on the railroad?

To answer that question, read the Elko newspaper of January, 1870, where it is reported that male deceased Chinese workers were being disinterred and shipped to China, while the bodies of female Chinese were left in their graves.

Some day, I would hope someone would write a solid, history-in-the-first-person regarding the Chinese experience in the West, from 1865 to 1870. Until that happens, we must continue to search out first person accounts of that activity.

—G J Chris Graves, NewCastle, Cal.

10/04/2013 8:42 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Chris Graves"

The Sacramento Union, December 2, 1869, speaks of 800 Chinese sailing for China. This exodus shows that at least some of the folks that came to California, for whatever reason, went back home, somewhat better off than when they arrived.

10/04/2013 9:28 AM  

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