Home » Chinese Los Angeles in 1870-1871: The Makings of a Massacre

Chinese Los Angeles in 1870-1871: The Makings of a Massacre

Chinese Los Angeles in 1870-1871: The Makings of a Massacre
Author(s): Scott Zesch
Source: Southern California Quarterly, Vol. 90, No. 2 (Summer 2008), pp. 109-158
Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Historical Society of
Southern California
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/41172418
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Chinese Los Angeles
in 1870-1871
The Makings of a Massacre
Ety Scott Zesch
Los Angeles race riot and Chinese massacre of 1871, one o America’s worst hate crimes, is also perhaps the least understood tragedy in California’s early statehood history. Why did a savag mob of Anglos and Latinos ransack Chinatown and indiscriminate murder eighteen Chinese men and boys? The earliest press accoun attributed the riot to “animosity of race and a desire for plunder.”1 M em historians of Chinese America and the American West, if they m tion the incident at all, usually confine their explanation to econo motives. They depict this shameful episode as part of a larger, workin class contest that pitted a resentful workforce of dispossessed Californ poor Southern whites, and recent European and Mexican immigra against cheap Asian labor.
That rationale is neither satisfying nor consistent with the known facts. William Locklear’s more focused study showed that the anti-Ch nese labor movement did not take root among workers in Los Angele until five years after the massacre and was never as virulent as it was San Francisco. By and large, Asians and non- Asians did not vie for t same jobs in Los Angeles. To the limited extent they did compete, th Asians were too few to constitute a serious threat.2 Moreover, sev nineteenth-century California residents and visitors disputed the com mon assumption that Chinese servants worked for lower wages than n Asians.3 This article, rather than focusing on labor conflicts, will expl 109
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the fractious world o massacre of 1871 .It w deadly hatred in the between the town’s development that doe tition for jobs in Los The Early Chinese Community
The California gold rush brought the initial wave of Asian migrants to th west coast, and a few of them soon began trickling into the sunny, luxuri-
ant land of orchards, vineyards, and cattle ranches that surrounded Los Angeles- The town’s continuous Asian presence dates from 1850, when
two Chinese men, Alluce (Ah Luce) and Ah Fon, appeared in the federal
census. The Chinese population grew slowly, increasing to only three by 185 74 and sixteen at the time of the i860 census. By the following year, twenty-one Asian men and eight women were living in the vicinity of Lo Angeles,5 In 186 1, Chun Chick opened the first Chinese merchandis shop on Spring Street across from the courthouse.6 Five Asian laundrie and one fish market also operated in Los Angeles at the time.7
The vast majority of Asian laborers did not intend to settle perma-
nently in California but instead hoped to save a few hundred dollars and
return home to live in relative prosperity. Few purchased property in th state, and most relocated frequently to take advantage of new opportuni ties to earn income.8 The Burlingame Treaty of 1868, while extending a number of legal protections to Chinese nationals residing in the United
States, did not provide them with an avenue to naturalization, further
ensuring that they would not put down roots.9 As anti-Chinese sentiment developed in America, journalists denigrated Asian workers for impeding the flow of European immigrants who “would take up permanent resi-
dence, accept citizenship, and produce a population which would settle
the country instead of exploiting it and then departing from it.”10 How- ever, Ludwig Louis Salvátor, the Austrian archduke who visited Los
Angeles in 1876, more thoughtfully observed, “[I]t is not surprising that people who are denied citizenship and equality before the law should return home.”11 Nonetheless, some young Chinese men stayed longe than expected. By 1870, forty-four percent of Los Angeles’ Asian males were age thirty or older.
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Chinese banners in Los Angeles’s Chinatown
The vast majority of Asian laborers did not intend to settle permanently in
California but instead hoped to save a few hundred dollars and return home.
Unless otherwise noted, photos are courtesty ofSeaver Center for Western His-
tory Research, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.
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The story of the ear sometimes characteriz by Los Angeles’ Chine faced. Instead, research lives from newspaper local reporters knew familiar stereotypes entirely fanciful vers rather than reporting merchants occasionall their American lawyer ing. Nor is Chinese c interpreters, who were to have “confused test Scholars find it espe ual Chinese, not only English transcriptions For instance, only a fe les censuses match th ries, judicial documen admitted that he reco Clerk could judge by also confessed, “In spe the pronunciation, an lem of identifying sp the informal prefix “A The census of 1870 p Angeles’ Asian comm Chinese population nu percent). The most cooks, and gardener most American men d ifornia originally ent mining camps, where work.”16 Similarly, m because few satisfacto able.17 Two of the toThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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only eleven years old Los Angeles had its f California and also ca Men comprised 80 p This lopsided sex rati nese males were unm their fortunes in Ame left China, both to ce they would send part families back home- described as a bachelo their wives with them Companies, the wives tom and against the from home, and beca against our people ha against their will-“19
Los Angeles’ earliest out the municipality- started to develop alo diately northeast of th 1870 census of Los An town, while forty-six remaining sixty-six l Calle de los Negros, street, running only Angeles Streets to th cans but from the d resided there-21 Onc hood had deteriorated bucolic world of oran on the residential out ern California, the C borhood, adorning th and stringing Chines Antonio F. Coronel, t owned the main blocThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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The Coronel Adobe,
the main block of adobe stores and apartments
that the Chinese leased in Los Angeles,
Chinese leased. The migrant workers congregated there because they
were frugal and rents were cheap* In fact, it was not unusual for fifteen or
twenty Chinese laborers in California to share one small room.24 Seven
Asian men were known to occupy a seven-by-nine^foot cabin on
Grasshopper (Figueroa) Street in Los Angeles-25
By the early 1870s, Calle de los Negros had acquired a notorious rep-
utation- The local press referred to it as the “five points” and “Barbary
coast” of Los Angeles.26 Shortly after the Chinese massacre in 1871, the
New York Times published a colorful description of the neighborhood:
It consists of low, whitewashed, one-storied, old-fashioned, windowless
adobe buildings, and bears a striking contrast with its neighbor, Los Ange-
les-street, with its fine two-storied brick warehouses. The denizens are
almost cosmopolitan, and consist of the dregs of society, among whom are
some of the greatest desperadoes on the Pacific coast. Murderers, horse-
thieves, highwaymen, burglars, &c, from all parts of Southern California
and Arizona, make this their rendezvous. It is their brothels monopolizing
about two-thirds of an entire block.27
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People of all races, that regularly occurr the Polish journalist and noted that the C amongst themselves quency the quarrels e les court records an Sienkiewicz’s stateme that occurred on Nov with intent to comm Choo.29 The followi threats to kill30 Two and fined six dollars ea figure each other’s c row in a Chinese gam in a “faction-fight,” sp When reporting the sometimes referred t existed in town. The organizations in the were known as the C organized federation which were establis lines, provided serv extracted fees from worker could not pur issued by his associat were successful merc with Americans.33 T scattered Asian comm Angeles companies, i quarters in San Franc low company memb Buenaventura.
During the 1860S, the See Yup Company emerged as the most impor-
tant huiguan operating in Los Angeles. Its undisputed leader was Sing Lee,
a wealthy merchant who came to California around i860. He was char-
acterized as “a ‘big Tyee’ among the Chinese of this city” and a “boss ChiThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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ñaman” who dealt “ex powerful enemies, S attempt in the fall of criminal charges agai Sing Lee’s pantaloons dark room. After Gan dismissed.36
In addition to the h operating in California tended to attract und gambling, opium, and types of associations Early observers of Ch beneficent huiguan an instance, chastised Ca as disputes between t “Newspapers often s between the six comp purely benevolent soc tongs and tried to hal declared in 1864 that determined to stop . them as a people”40 a bined to break up the Writing to President panies castigated “unp America.42 Rev. Otis Francisco during the panies tried to stop the However, modern sc nize that wealthy m huiguan sometimes en putes. Membership in extent.44 According t similar to tongs that ac bers’ interests.45 Mor the Chinese Six CompThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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nothing less than a cu pretended to be oppo munity of Los Angele distinction between t the See Yup Compan Yuen (or Yung) – wer “keeping, maintainin dence over the next three huiguan magna cally erupted over th Chinese Women
Many of the troubles that arose in Los Angeles’ early Chinatown were
rooted in a pronounced sex imbalance- Only thirty-four Chinese women
(20 percent of the total Asian population) were living in the town in 1870-
Twenty-two of them were no older than twenty- The Los Angeles News
perpetuated the widely-held belief that “the majority, if not all, of the Chi-
nese women who immigrate to this country are brought hither . – – for the
purpose of prostitution-“48 Another California journalist claimed, “The
Chinese laugh at the absurdity of supposing that any of their country-
women of respectable position, ever come here-“49 As Lucie Cheng and
Suellen Cheng have pointed out, it is impossible to know how many
Asian females in Los Angeles actually worked in brothels, as the 1870
census did not list prostitution as an occupation.50 However, several con-
temporary scholars have theorized that Chinese prostitution may not
have been as prevalent as once believed, since a significant proportion of
scarce Asian women in nineteenth-century America became wives, con-
cubines, or laborers in other occupations-51
Los Angeles records support this proposition- According to the cen-
sus of 1870, two of the town’s Chinese women, Ah Lee and Wa Sug,
worked in laundries- Court records and news accounts of the early 1870s
confirm that several of the prominent Asian men of Los Angeles had
wives in town. Among them were Chee Long “Gene” Tong, a popular
physician; huiguan leaders Yo Hing and Sam Yuen; and businessmen Hing
Sing, Quong Lee and Charley Shew- The 1870 census also indicates that
three of the town’s Chinese households consisted of one man and one
woman, and another nine mixed dwellings may have housed as many as
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fifteen couples* Thus, ing in Los Angeles m predominantly femal records were not ne seamstress named Ту mother, sister (also a In addition, instances was once assumed. V 1878 that “when amo one woman, they all l account for the fact t or shared their hom reveals that the Los A one married couple w Chinese.
Still, prostitution w world of Chinese Los ceedings were initiate 1864, and 1866.56 Luc about Chinese prosti unmarried young wom trade. Sometimes desp curers; other women were even kidnapped. indentured servitude their lives were hard, who toured San Franc ingly, that Chinese p more to be pitied and other race
frequently being seen walking together on the streets, little Caucasian sisters going home from school.”58
For indentured or enslaved Chinese women in Americ sible avenue of escape was marriage. When young fem China, wealthy merchants purchased the most desirab households. According to Rev. Otis Gibson, the Method most of these women served as second wives or concubThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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wives are a rare articl they lived in seclusion from both American after working for some their husbands in thei ing men were less like they realized that the A few indentured Ch fleeing to mission hou or his association woul sons – the high profit her, and the precedent Los Angeles News exp most commonly empl titute from another ag When a rival company in trol of a woman owned b to make a charge of gran tim, provide a bond for the object of the proce appear in Court as witnes tim was arrested, and by son for the purposes of pr Angelenos first witn 25, Sing Lee, the head the arrest of a missin “full faced and about t a trunk and stolen $5 she had “been kidnapp tution,” and her posse another/’63
The See Yup Compan Three policemen – one assaults – suspected th los Negros, had kidna ing her and collecting William Q Warren andThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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abouts. Warren and B Street “after taking c elry. Sing Yu testified by two fellow Chinese Two days later, Sing thorough investigat against the woman we party, and asked that records do not indica returned to her owne (or Chung), and Juan admitted that the tw a buggy to his house a and delivered to anoth in this lucrative trade Los Angeles’ highest-p Sing Yu disappeared time, she was accused owner, Ah Jo, ascert Anaheim, where she turnout, and left in t more advertised a $10 marshal William C. W Redona, pursued Sing naventura. The two la on October 31, 1870, One matter remaine Marshal Warren had telegraphed the bench naventura.69 On Temp into a heated argumen dangerously unpredict ment five years earlie Yu’s capture to Warre belong to him. The tw each other. Policeman tried to intervene anThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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Warren died from h was released to her ow sustain the charge of Two months later, S night of December 22 arrest her in Los An deputy U.S. marshal where he found Sing hurry. Then they ru 100 angry Chinese, m They stopped the coa and tried to prevent The Chinese man wh shot in the back and riage was also shot a arrested. The Los An Chinese companies w who avail themselves to obtain possession a As more information once more been level remove her to Santa criminal case. Two w of stealing her jewelr for the prosecution. A Santa Barbara, the N How she could have stole jailer, is a mystery, as t from here, and was arre came within their jurisd custody of the law. The company possession and her from appearing this and should prove to the Chinee” is not only an ad laws and law officers ser The most startling a The News, in its lengThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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only cursorily mention the carriage in which between Chinese tong shooting at American would result in terribl For the most part, Ch escape from their mas backward to help rest unique to Los Angeles offered rewards to con the Chinese Six Compa tation of prostitutes, then unprincipled Chi the punishment of thei However, the huiguan tance of maintaining force. One reporter n tion of officers.”79 Th that allowing the Chin suit of a nefarious traff ery” in which justice newspaper also opine bought were “utterly un use of the legal system Sino-American Relations in Los Angeles
Unlike newly-arrived immigrants from Europe or Mexico, the Chin were neither able nor especially eager to blend into their California c munities. They clung to their home-country traditions and manner dress, remaining a people apart. That prompted journalist Albert S. E to write: “What a strange, peculiar people are these Chinese! Dwe among us, they are not of us … They walk the same streets and bre the same air with us; but they do not talk the same language; do not as we act; do not reason as we reason; do not think as we think.”82 Otis Gibson believed that the men’s custom of wearing long queues st “more in the way of Americanizing the Chinese than any other thing.” He also thought that their assimilation was slow because This content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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Chinese are extremely the thought of a wh any change in their n The Chinese of Los American population used the name John New Year festivities i a better opinion and early California histo cated that most Asia According to Bancrof from the white race unfriendliness visible neighbors.”85 Guinn among whom they liv ing the mobbing and As a result of langua udice they encounter iting their personal and their social outin town. No doubt many pealing. Zhang Deyi, in 1868, thought that and that the custom o “wanton in the extre some of his fellow co there is no marriage in and that all the peop Since the migrant la munity, only a mino nese. The 1870 censu alongside, and lived u ers, house servants, visited Chinese physi teenth century was la and infections.89 By Tong, was advertisinThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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In addition, thirty- domestics in 1870- A n Chinese house servan lawyers Cameron Tho King, Frank Ganahl, and John S. Griffin; Charles E. Miles, Ste Prudent Beaudry, Ma James M. Griffith. V employers were fav because their Asian w prone to change, give quick to learn, faithf ever, close contact w “prejudices and fears, ifornia who would no vants because there h The first Chinese re midst of a notoriously Angeles attracted you from the mountains, forts.93 Many residen armed. Between 184 around thirteen murd a much higher per ca cisco.94 During twel homicide rate reached tory.95 Mob justice w ing incidents in Los A than four times the n the town’s Chinese po because of the abund northern California b les did little to attract While the atmospher not seem conducive to Chinese occurred in tThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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View of Los Angeles in 1871,
taken from Phineas Banning’s residence on Fort Hill, looking northeast, past
North Broadway (then Buena Vista) Street, with Southern Pacific railroad
shops in distance. Chinatown was located beyond the right frame of this
photo. Courtesy of Security Pacific Collection/Los Angeles Public Library .
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more or less ignored let live’1 philosophy- cussed the Chinese at tone. After some Ame brothel in 1864, a jou “evil disposed person establishments” were “entitled to the protec All that changed abr cratic, pro-labor Los A a prolonged series of essence, the News put who lived “like rats in too hard-working for (The same paper hypo immigrants from Ore to California would e a brutish, mere physi for education, and r reach.”101 These polit ceived threat from C impending passage of Chinese citizenship an The advent of this a to have been sparked local Chinese populati cent of the city’s tota newcomers, proclaimin fact that the editors Europe or Mexico, bel new workers for th downturn elsewhere reportedly had the low the west coast at the workers undercut th tions in which they wThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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reported that the amo with non- Asian wag house servants would editors of the News, to have been aping the ern California, which Significantly, the Ne complaining about the workforce. It relentle inferior and idolatrous our civilization.”106 Th also gave the News a community as immo Angeles were ordinar tudes toward them we fighters and sex sla claimed to admire th newspapers counterin many lawyers, who p numerous court case Andrew J. King, was employed a Chinese co unchallenged.
Around the same time, Los Angeles witnessed an alarming increase
in unprovoked, racially-motivated attacks on the Chinese. A white man
threatened Yo Hing and his companion with a chair when they stopped
for a drink at a hotel in El Monte.108 Another white man said he “hit a
Chinaman on the head because I wanted to.”109 Irish immigrant Pat Glea-
son, having been insulted by a Chinese cook while he was in jail, thrashed
the first Asian he saw after his release because “he would just as soon
‘bate’ one as another.”110 A man named Santiago Arguella approached a
Chinese vegetable peddler and struck him on the face with a heavy
whip.111 In the early hours of a summer morning, a party of Latino “sere-
naders” beat up three Chinese men on New Commercial Street.112 An
inebriated Native American woman accosted some Chinese shoemakers
and smashed their window.113 A Chinese woman was “violently assailed
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with a shower [of] sto and then turned the h dren were seen “shak Sonoratown, the barr grants lived, someone ‘Heathen Chinee’ will ing transient Celestial proudly advertised “t the establishment/’11 young African- Amer for a time to severe lap Nothing in the news petrators of these att those held by the Asi grievances against spe to believe the increas press and on the stre subhuman – in short, that “public sentiment of the life of a China Angeles News to retr summer of 18 71 an objects of attack/’120 Y about the “natural ant against the hideous an During this period, t dealings with America ple suffered. As seen in which American la a farm shot fellow em argument over a cup o an African American Asian man reportedly children.124 When tw ing a white woman an case “tends to show t By 1870, the era of SThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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A War in Chinatown
At the close of the 1860s, the dominant See Yup Company and its thr principals – Sing Lee, Yo Hing and Sam Yuen – effectively controll business in Chinatown. Except for a few personal squabbles between Chi nese laborers, the local press reported very little tension within the Asi community until March 1870, when the Los Angeles News noted, seems that here, as elsewhere, the Chinamen recognize control by sep rate and rival Companies,’ having their headquarters at San Francisco- This observation was prompted by an incident in which a “pugnacio Chinaman” who had been attacked by an Asian gang when he went collect some laundry “sought revenge by knocking down the first one his country men whom he met that belonged to the same company wit those who had whipped him.”126 Disputes among the Chinese had som how become collective rather than individual. The following mont when an Asian man was arrested on suspicion of murder but discharg for lack of evidence, the News observed:
The Chinamen here, as elsewhere in California, are gathered beneath the
banners of rival “companies.” Members of the company to which the alleged
murderer does not belong have threatened his life. A bitter quarrel has been
engendered and open war was threatened.127
The rift in the local Chinese leadership had been at least two years i the making. In 1868, See Yup principals Yo Hing and Sam Yuen we among five Chinese cited for rioting when they got in a street fight wi each other.128 A few days later, Yo Hing charged Sam Yuen with “unlaw fully threatening to whip” him, professing his fear that his fellow See Yup
member would “carry his threats into execution.”129 At some point in 1870, the See Yup Company divided, and three new splinter association emerged in Los Angeles: Yo Hing’s Hong Chow Company, Sam Yuen Nin Yung Company, and the less significant Hop Wo Company.130 The original See Yup Company, still headed by Sing Lee, continued to exist as a separate entity. A fifth huiguan operating in the city was the Ch Woa Company, a minor organization.
The reason for the breakup of the See Yup Company in 1870 i unknown, but it was not amicable. According to Him Mark Lai, divisio sometimes occurred when ambitious huiguan leaders such as Yo Hing to advantage of clan and village loyalties to form rival power blocs.131 By t spring of 187 1, Yo Hing’s upstart Hong Chow Company had become tThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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most powerful Chine denounced the aggress the purpose of plunder This company is not one new concern gotten up he the fears and necessities upon all, who, having no they ask than subject the Yo Hing, the head of verted, ambitious man later adopted the Ame the time his organiza banker J. A. Graves de heavy, while not fat. ♦ fairly rumbled when mostly with his count community and forge He began his career as in turn served Yo Hing former mayor John G Angeles Street, served contractor.136 The Am Hing. The Los Angeles “an enterprising and polished . . . liked and Dorland, an early pres fornia, remembered national reputation of Hing’s rivals assassinat to the head from a hatc As of May 1871, the still Sing Lee’s long- months, however, the by another splinter h ingly, there was no re fact, the See Yup and N Perhaps Sing Lee, who This content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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1871, was winding do business interests to See Yup and Nin Yu counter the increasin Sam Yuen and his pa Wing Chung store, lo town’s L-shaped Coro a variety of Chinese Asians in the town o chants was cutthroat on behalf of their m to Yo Hing’s Hong Ch Prudent Beaudry for kingpin, reportedly the hapless shopkeepe of business. Yo Hing old rate of fifteen d man but finally relen to court.143
During the months the See Yup Company in Chinatown. The ch nese massacre in Los sensational incident ated a stir through November 1, 1870, fi San Francisco for $34 they stripped off her body with blazing st in her possession. The for assault to do great This inflammatory American population meeting and passed a in town after thirty atrous, degraded, une sibly become of any This content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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temporary need of lab lished a false rumor t although the editors the report with suspi this exaggerated accoun The San Bernardino a the Chinese of Los An turing Sing Ye were m best to protect them. O of an Asian cook nam Joseph Dye, who had traveled to San Bern arrested him there. W peace in Los Angeles, a Que Ma said that he h he was abundantly abl ensure that he would not testify against th nor any other witne According to See Yup all his little savings in innocent, was ruined b Yo Hing then set out of his company in Sa Early the following ye war against the suspect tim was a successful S was passing through L on their way back to for the Hong Chow C but they reftised. Th Mouie were about to l prise, they were arres Jailor Frank Carpente $694 in gold and silver meantime, one of Yo against Wong Hing, clThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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a writ of attachment that Carpenter was h Yo Hing’s next vict cisco who visited Lo mistakenly thought member Wong Hing, from him and his wif to get Choo Chee imp Yu, swore out a comp falsely alleging that $400 to kill them. Gr dismissed the “purely the “competitions an panies, and with wh ordered Yo Hing’s me Infuriated by this d direct method of re Bernardino laundrym Hing’s henchman, Lay let missed Wong Hing held to answer before and closed the laundr These events in the e by another daring es ever, the woman was n session was not a fals cook in a local househ pany, quietly obtaine tiful woman was alre of the See Yup Comp home in Calle de los leagues, arrived in a carried off Yut Ho. O they chased the carriag office. Lee Yong ban to be married. Afterw in the carriage.154
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Outraged, Hing Sing alleging that his wife He filed a separate pet and six other men, cha and intimidation, forc Yut Ho was brought b ordered that she be re over Yut Ho erupted in Hong Chow abductors men pursued them and That night, however, habeas corpus. Law off of Negro Alley” and b According to See Yup m of the Court room by Judge.” Nor was Hing reversal, Judge Morris Lee Yong. The judge in protect them from a g through the streets as The local newspapers romantic caper, creati being an old man’s dar Yong.157 Something m 1852, when Los Angel only two Chinese coup Things changed marke five Chinese couples w than a year.159 Their forced marriage suppl of procuring Asian wo Angeles. The Los Ange by going through the f try, they can defy their The Chinese statemen situation. Sing Lee and the first to tell theiThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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“respectable Chinese r the responsibility upo able for the villainy o not as a dashing lover alleged, occurred with asserted that Yut Ho, going on, was put thr time “was the woman They claimed that the whose “villainous featu sel of the nominal par under the names of “h Yo Hing did not suf responded with a pu charges that Sing Lee version of the facts, Y who made “false accus harassing law suits of t letter consisted of a s humble way.” “Since I principally with the A 1 refer for a refutati named prominent res Andrew J. King, fo McKee, and the office However, the series o bers had initiated tw nious testimonial and a scandalous romanc crowning act of ret Bernardino affair. A n Sing, as a suspected i claimed that Yo Hing baffled rage” that his had failed.164 What r Chow Company intend titution, sell her, or hThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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it appears that Yut Ho a pawn in the protract After Judge Morriso Chow men on March 7, history. The fact that recapture her suggests case made no news for which two Chinese me riage certificate. The L “doubtless intended t transfer.”165 Indeed, Y the proceeds toward hi ers of Sing Ye. Or perh friends of her husband ity of the marriage. launched in Los Angele The Race Riot an Although Chinatown w trouble between the h chant reported that th pistols from his store. Francisco, the passeng Chinese tong fighters against Yo Hing and th may have been Yut accounts.167 Represent better position to know Guey.168 Regardless of w that the contest over revenge but of honor. and protector in Califo ica as an anonymous in Sing. It is also likely th Ho. Some of Yo Hing’s gone too far in persecu affair.169
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Around 9:30 on the m iting the home of an Calle de los Negros- tong fighter, Yu Так row street» After a h through Yo Hing’s co and swore out a warr complaint against Yo H ties were released on ba The following aftern justice of the peace- adjourned until the ne Tensions ran high bet adversaries, who had avengers of Yut Ho af afternoon, San Franci part of a house on th motion in the street, of armed Hong Chow Yo Hing- One gunman tally wounding him- Th Police officer Jesus B ner of Arcadia and M horse and rode to Chi that morning that a b a gun battle between under arrest- Then he Officer Bilderrain fo Chung store, which h recognize any of them opened fire on him. pointed a pistol to hi pulled the trigger, bu saving the policeman’ door was stuck. He ra more Asian gunmen. A into the store, tumblThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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front door open. He s for support, he blew h The tong fighters in the door. Neighborin police officer Robert Chinese to surrender gunman fired at po through a house on th ral behind the Corone the adobe building an and ran back around f feet above the earthe he saw a man whom h at each other at the s right of the doorway.
A popular rancher an son ran up to Sanche replied, “The Chiname there and they may s entrance of the Win Sanchez hurried off t way, stuck his arm in store. Someone inside his chest. He had been Meanwhile, a large Americans surrounde commotion. Any tim exchanged rapid gunf two Asian women, C Sheriff James F. Bur the officers and the escape from the long son, well liked from behind a pregnant wif anyone know at the wounded teenage byst ical rumors that ChinThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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sale in Negro Alley” a law officers, failing t ensure that none of t ment block could flee much more concerned ing the innocent Asia Once the crowd learn to get their hands on in the brea roof of th them out, burn them o that night, they finally ing party” rushed in. ished to see that “fro of men, in a few minu will stop at nothing.” wore queues . . . [s]o t The horrors that occ recounted in detail el mob, roughly estima men and boys throug them, stabbed them, s to distinguish between one young Asian man mad, he damn fool; man!”179 One victim h were recent transpla about eighteen, on his by saying, “Me no fra The excessive bruta vengeance. One of the cian in his early thir begged for their lives fensive person” who educated” and spoke ” witness to his hangi delight in pulling him forcibly each time agThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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Bodies of Chinese vi Virtually everyone in the every ten Chinese had b Pacific Collection/Los Ang ing like the breaking the whereabouts of his Ah Loo, managed to g off strangulation* For hands with clubs and bone in his hands and the noose. The rioters bullets.”182 Other A Asians lying on the gro The frenzied rioters they ran out of hangi ten, whose “childish v victims.”184 As the C looters poured into thThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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selves, boys.” Fong Yu later testified that t trunk and destroyed looters also robbed th improvised gallows.
While the massacre justice that veered ho ber that the crowd t the lynchers were joc grisly murders. A de cony, called out, “Br trade.”186 A bystand hanged and intoned reported that one gro victim’s head against John M. Baldwin reb John D. Hicks mocki intoxicated man nam in the face of wagon reportedly said, “If Christopher Higby’s that “some of the lon The next morning, rows in the jail yar According to one jou torted, many of them An eighteenth victim before.193 Distraught searched for missing community was dire been murdered.
After the coroner’s them in rough redwo burial. Mourners built as they knelt and we body of one victim, re Perhaps they held hThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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According to policem Asians, believed to ha taken part in the gunf A journalist who visit “Clothes, Joss sticks, were strewn in every direction
the walls and boxes, and in and under the beds were pool The table in the Nin Yung Company’s dining room was st covered with “a variety of Chinese delicacies that we with/’ At Dr, Tong’s house, “Human gore could be tr tions-“196 Landlord Antonio Coronel tried to recover $5,0 for damages to his adobe building, prompting one citizen the Los Angeles common council should sue him for $10 “perpetrating a nuisance” and a “disgrace to the city-“1 Coronel was indeed cited with maintaining a public nuisa Aftermath
As Los Angeles reeled from the bad press it was getting across the nation,
efforts were underway to determine who was responsible for the tragedy-
Less than a week after the massacre, the coroner’s jury concluded that
“people of all nationalities as they live in Los Angeles” participated in the
riot-199 Most journalists maintained that the mob consisted of “the dregs
of society-“200 Indeed, some of the men indicted for murder were known
for previous acts of hooliganism or violence- One of them, Adolfo Celis,
had nearly been lynched the year before when he pursued and killed a
man who had stolen two shirts from him-201 Reporters described another
rioter, L- F- Crenshaw, as a young man with a “reputation of the worst
sort” who associated with people “of the lowest character” and whose
“favorite resort was the rendezvous of lewd women, pickpockets and cut-
throats-“202 Other men indicted in connection with the riot had faced
charges for assault and battery,203 malicious mischief,204 or theft.205 Histo-
rian William Locklear observed that the extensive looting of the Chinese
businesses and homes, together with the location of the riot in the cen-
ter of a slum, lent credence to the theory of substantial underclass
involvement- Locklear also characterized the mob’s actions as “the dying
breath of a period of general lawlessness.”206
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At the same time, m class businessmen, ar no threat from migr “[S]ome of our own ‘ and riffraff from th even served as a spec a butcher, a plasterer a teamster. None of peaceable Asian laund physician.
Perhaps it is most realistic, if most troubling, to view the Chinese
massacre neither as an expression of economic frustration nor as an inex-
plicable aberration but as the expected result of a collapse of the com-
munal forces that usually operate to keep the sinister side of human
nature in check. The motivation initially put forth by the press, “ani-
mosity of race and a desire for plunder,” may be as good an explanation
as any. The Los Angeles News suggested that the crowd attacked the Chi-
nese in part because they thought they could get away with it: “The law-
less elements of society have been educated to believe that murder could
be indulged in with impunity, provided it was committed by a mob
instead of a single individual.”209 Moreover, a notoriously racist Califor-
nia statute of 1863 prohibited any Chinese from giving evidence in court
either in favor of or against any white person.210 Paul De Falla, in his sem-
inal article analyzing the massacre, speculated that the Los Angeles
police force “had felt during the night of the riot that it would have been
legally useless to have made any arrests because the victims of the mob
were Chinese and therefore, clearly outside the protection of statutory
law. . . . No testimony available from [Chinese] witnesses or victims, no
Through the years, some accounts of the massacre have leveled vague
accusations that the town’s “leading citizens” also bore responsibility,
despite Hubert Howe Bancroft’s contention that the Asians were “pro-
tected by the better sentiment of the intelligent and right-minded.”212
Journalist Charles Nordhoff also observed, “The respectable classes,
though too often silent, are utterly opposed to the cry against the Chi-
nese.”213 For the most part, the events of October 24, 18 71 , bore out Nord-
hofPs observation about California’s elite – both their disapproval of
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Chinese persecution Cristobal Aguilar rod to reports of a disturb Well-known merchant Harris Newmark “hurried to the scene” of the
massacre but did not attempt to intervene*215 Some “respectable citizens”
witnessing the mayhem merely clucked that “it was a shame, but there
were no means to check the mob*”216 To be fair, a number of American
citizens, most of them lawyers and store owners, did risk their lives in an
attempt to stop the killings and escort the Chinese to safety» Furthermore,
one newspaper observed that the murders “commenced at an hour when
business men, professional men and all the better classes of our commu-
nity had retired to their homes*”217
Nonetheless, the town’s elites did not entirely escape the condemna-
tion of their contemporaries* Reporters for the Los Angeles Star claimed
that they “saw some of our best people with indignation flashing in their
eyes* It is possible that some of them, under this feeling, may have lent
encouragement to some sort of demonstration against the Chinese*”218
Councilman George F* Fall threw a brick and a chair at Yo Hing and
reportedly cried out, “Hang them!”219 Witnesses testified that a clothing
retailer named Cohen remarked that he was “in favor of hanging every
G – d – one” of the Chinese.220 Horace Bell later alleged that prominent
merchants “dealt out rope to be used for hanging Chinamen” and that
many “persons of position and influence * . * boasted of their guilt while
the affair was yet hot*” He also thought it was unjust that the subsequent
indictments for murder “were against poor Mexicans without influence,
and a lone Irishman, a shoemaker*”221 That shoemaker, A* R* Johnston,
also complained at his sentencing “that the people were guilty, but that
the poor alone suffered*”222 District judge Robert M* Widney, in his jury
instructions at the rioters’ trials, cautioned the jurors not to be influenced
by the fact that “many citizens or even a majority of the most respectable
citizens approved of the acts of the rioters*”223
Attempts to bring the mob killers to justice were frustrating* The
grand jury returned thirty-seven indictments in connection with the riot,
including twenty-five for murder of the Chinese victims* (It also indicted
eight Asians for the deaths of Ah Choy and Robert Thompson, two of
whom were tried and acquitted*)224 Only ten rioters were ever brought to
trial* Eight were eventually convicted on a reduced charge of manslaughThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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ter and sentenced to t ing year, their convic legal technicalities: th ify that anyone had a Despite this unpalata impressive legal head 1871. Ah Mouie, wif became the first Asian Angeles court. She su ter, seeking damages fo out, Yo Hing had mad couple. His henchman ing only Wong Hing couple’s confiscated $ not apply to her sepa nia Supreme Court af denied Ah Mouie’s $ 1 “inhale the filthy vap imprisoned there.227
Dr. Tong’s widow, T judicial system. She “inciting and particip murder.228 (Dr. Tong huiguan but of the m gests that the neutra were primarily to blam When two Asian men Choy, their lawyer ob prosecution, Ah Ling Christian religion; d responsibilities there tion; he does not beli scribed and practice according to the form objection was overrule the first time allowed thought that “swearinThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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a visiting official from Widney approved a s could swear on the sev Sam Yuen’s Wing Chu Los Angeles, claiming resulted in nearly $7 complainants attempt Yuen Sing, the defens nese witness from giv Chung partners argue Los Angeles was not a the testimony.233 (T because the evidence i ticipated in the riot.”2 In early November 18 of the riot returned to cupied those compartm itable.235 By the follow rebounded. They celeb crackers and bombs.” H as formerly,” since t riot.”236
The massacre of 18 71 did nothing to quell the rash of disputed mar-
riages and the abduction of Asian women in Los Angeles. Only three
weeks after the tragedy, Ah Sum, a cook at the jail, and Hon Que, his
bride, were married over the objections of another Chinese man, who
told the justice of the peace “something relating to himself and the
woman in Sacramento.”237 The following February, Sing Нее, a woman
of the See Yup Company who escaped from “a life of shame” in “a den of
infamy,” caused a great uproar when she married Hong Chow member
One Za before a justice of the peace “to get the full protection of the
law.”238 An abduction was foiled in April 1872 when two men tried to
kidnap the wife whom Charley Shew had recently purchased.239 A cook
named Ah Sam was murdered by a storekeeper and his assistant when he
tried to steal a Chinese woman.240
One member of the Los Angeles judiciary finally got tired of hearing
cases that involved the sale and exploitation of women. In October 1872,
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Ah Chu sought to rec for locating and reco Fong Chong. Ah Chu f the owner for $125, t Peace William HL Gr among the Chinese fo night of the massacre On inquiry as to the pre stated that Fong Chong h ing closed his testimony dismissed on the ground contract between the pa motion was argued at som sustained by the court, an to punish both parties as Land, and afterward, for party to the transaction this cause is hereby dismi Meanwhile, the Los A of the massacre, soon culing the Chinese. Fo again blamed the “bar our fair city,” accusin who venture to interp role of the American had the gracelessness burial sites of the lyn “intrudes upon the gr desecration of the resti the heathenish custom When the Chinese con in August 1872, the contributed by thes music ever heard.” Am Perhaps the most sob how little Los Angeles got. The event is said although that develoThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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Chinatown (Marchess CA. l88o, A FEW YEARS Perhaps the most sobering as little Los Angeles changed as decrease in violent crime t cent Asians.246 The Los A consequence” would befall “be forgotten in a brief tim both Chinese and Americ disparage the Chinese. Th American law officers con In a more logical world, new era of racial toleranc increased during the dec nized an Anti-Coolie Clu town’s most prominent ci vátor noted that by then les. He further reported, ridicule these younger soThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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in fist-fights which a mistreatment-“249 An was aimed directly at 1882, many Angelenos If no one learned any studying it, or even r aphorism coined by a to summarize the ev “They tried to kill us- most valuable conclusi obvious one: the Asian persecution- Affixing break of irrational rac or 1 would never do tha day after the riot, on “sickened with last nig character shall ever a 1965, and 1992- Reme beings inflicted on th not prevent the recur happened that night i the very act of reflec aspects of our humani Notes
* The author thanks Hynda Rudd, Paul Spitzzeri, Eugene Moy, ]. W. Wong, Angi Ma Wong, Peter Blodgett,
Dixie Dillon, Bill Frank, John Mack Faragher, John Cahoon, and the Chinese Historical Society of South-
ern California for their help in locating sources for this article.
1 New York Herald, Oct. 28, 1871.
2 William R. Locklear, “The Celestials and the Angels: A Study of the Anti-Chinese Movement in Los Ange-
les to 1882,” The Historical Society of Southern California Quarterly, 42 (Mar. i960): 240, 244.
3 Charles Nordhoff, “California for Health, Pleasure and Residence,” in Nordhoff s West Coast: California, Ore-
gon and Hawaii (1874; reprint, London: kpi Ltd., 1987), 90; Otis Gibson, The Chinese in America (Cincin-
nati: Hitchcock & Waiden, 1877), 106; Hamilton Holt, ed., The Life Stories of Undistinguished Americans
as Told by Themselves (1006; reprint, New York: Routledge, 1990), 184.
*Los Angeles Star, Jan. 24, 1857.
5 Los Angeles Star, Apr. 27, 186 1.
6 Los Angeles Star, July 13, 186 1; Harris Newmark, Sixty Years in Southern California, 1853-19 13 ( 19 16; 4th ed.,
Los Angeles: Dawson’s Book Shop, 1984), 298.
1Los Angeles Star, Mar. 17, i860, and Apr. 27, 1861.
8 Shih-shan Henry Tsai, The Chinese Experience in America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), 33;
Roger Daniels, Asian America: Chinese and Japanese in the United States since 1850 (Seattle: University of
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Washington Press, 1988), 16; Pet America’s Oldest New Commun 9 Kwong and Miščevič, Chinese A ÑŽ Charles Morley, trans., “The torical Society Quarterly, 34 (De 11 Ludwig Louis Salvátor, Los Ang Wilbur, trans.; Los Angeles: Br 12 Thomas W. Chinn, “New Chap 13 Eng Ying Gong and Bruce Gra 14 People v. Ah Shaw, Con Wan Area Court Records, Huntingt 15 Los Angeles Star, Oct. 26, 1871.
16 Kwong and Miščevič, Chinese 17 Joseph Mesmer, “Chinese in L versity of California, Los Angel nia, 123.
18 Sucheng Chan, Asian Americans: An Interpretive History (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1991), 104; George
Anthony Peffer, If They Don’t Bring Their Women Here: Chinese Female Immigration before Exclusion
(Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1000), 4.
19 Judy Yung, Gordon H. Chang, and Him Mark Lai, eds., Chinese American Voices: From the Gold Rush to the
Present (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), 20-21.
20 Thomas Allen McDannold, “Development of the Los Angeles Chinatown: 1850-1970” (M.A. diss., Cali-
fornia State University, Northridge, 1973), 31.
21 Marco R. Newmark, “Calle de los Negros and the Chinese Massacre of 1871,” The Historical Society of South-
em California Quarterly, 26 (June-Sept. 1944): 98.
22 Newmark, Sixty Years in Southern California, 30-3 1; Morrow Mayo, Los Angeles (New York: Alfred A. Knopf,
1933), 38; Locklear, “The Celestials and the Angels,” 249.
23 Carey McWilliams, Southern California Country: An Island on the Land (1946; reprint, Freeport, N.Y.: Books
for Libraries Press, 1970), 85-86.
24Tsai, The Chinese Experience in America, 38.
25 Los Angeles News, July 1, 1870.
26 Los Angeles News, Aug. 24, 1870; Los Angeles Star, Nov. 4, 1870.
27 New York Times, Nov. io, 1871.
28 Morley, trans., “The Chinese in California,” 307.
29 People v. Ah Lim ‘John Doe, Chinaman], Case No. 81, Nov. 12, 1870, Los Angeles County Justices Court,
30 Los Angeles News, Dec. 25, 1870.
31 Los Angeles News, Oct. 11, 1871.
32 Los Angeles News, June 3, 1871, and June 4, 1871.
33 Him Mark Lai, “Historical Development of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association/Hu tern,” Chinese America: History and Perspectives [1] (1987): 13-51; Kwong and Miščevič, Chines 83-85; Günther Barth, Bitter Strength: A History of the Chinese in the United States, 1 850-1 870 (C Harvard University Press, 1964), 77-81; Elmer Clarence Sandmeyer, The Anti-Chinese Movemen ifornia (1939; reprint, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1973), 23, 29.
MLos Angeles News, Nov. 23, 1870, and July 19, 1871; Los Angeles Star, Nov. 25, 1870.
35 People v. Lee Fat, John Doe and Richard Roe, Minutes, Justice of the Peace (Gray), Nov. 25, Los Angeles Star, Nov. 23, 1870, and Nov. 25, 1870; Los Angeles News, Nov. 23, 1870.
36 People v. James Ganahan, Minutes, Justice of the Peace (Gray), Nov. 7, 1870, laacr.
37 Chan, Asian Americans, 67; Benson Tong, Unsubmissive Women: Chinese Prostitutes in Nineteen San Francisco (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994), 9-10; Kwong and Miščevič, Chines ica, 85; Barth, Bitter Strength, 101-102.
38 Mary Roberts Coolidge, Chinese Immigration (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1909), 408.
39 Holt, The Life Stories of Undistinguished Americans, 182.
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40 Daily Evening Bulletin [San Fra 41 Daily Evening Bulletin [San Fra 42 Yung, Chang, and Lai, eds., Ch 43 Gibson, The Chinese in Americ ^Tsai, The Chinese Experience in and Miščevič, Chinese America, 45 Lai, “Historical Development 46 Daily Evening Bulletin [San Fra 47 People v. Sing Lee, Sam Yung, LAACR.
i8Los Angeles News, Feb. 23, 1872.
49 * Daily Evening Bulletin [San Francisco], July 20, 1869.
50 Lucie Cheng and Suellen Cheng, “Chinese Women of Los Angeles, A Social Historical Survey ing Our Lives: Chinese American Women of Los Angeles (Los Angeles: Chinese Historical Society ern California, 1984), 7.
51 Cheng and Cheng, “Chinese Women of Los Angeles,” 4-5; Huping Ling, Surviving on the Gol A History of Chinese American Women and Their Lives (Albany: State University of New York P 53; Peffer, If They Don’t Bring Their Women Here, 88-91; Kwong and Miščevič, Chinese America Yung, Chinese Women of America: A Pictorial History (Seattle: University of Washington Press Huping Ling, “Chinese Merchant Wives in the United States, 1840- 1945,” in Origins and Destin Essays on Chinese America (Los Angeles: Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, 1 52 United States Ninth Census ( 1870), Los Angeles Township and City, Los Angeles County, Califo Chung Co. v. Los Angeles City, Case No. 1941, June 22, 1872, 17th Judicial District Court, laacr; Los Angeles Star, Mar. 10, 1871, and Oct. 9, 1871; Los Angeles News, Feb. 18, 1872, Feb and Apr. 7, 1872.
53 People v. Ah Son, Wah Hing and Ah Shoah, Case No. 136, Feb. 8, 1873, Los Angeles County Just LAACR.
54 Morley, trans., “The Chinese in California,” 307.
55 Cheng and Cheng, “Chinese Women of Los Angeles,” 7; Peffer, If They Don’t Bring Their W 56 Case Nos. 610, 611, 614, 615, 616 and 646, Nov. 8, 1862, Court of Sessions, Los Angeles Cr laacr; Minutes, Justice of the Peace (Shore et al.), Mar. 12, 1864, and Sept. 8, 1866, laacr 57 Lucie Cheng Hirata, “Free, Indentured, Enslaved: Chinese Prostitutes in Nineteenth-Cent Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 5 (Autumn 1979): 4-9; Lucie Cheng Hira Immigrant Women in Nineteenth-Century California,” in Carol Ruth Berkin and Mary B eds., Women of America: A History (Boston: Houghton Mifïlin Co., 1979), 220-30.
58 Albert S. Evans, À la California: Sketches of Life in the Golden State (San Francisco: A. L. Ba 1873), 284-85.
59 Gibson, The Chinese in America, 134.
60 Cheng and Cheng, “Chinese Women of Los Angeles,” 7; Ling, Surviving on the Gold Mountain, 49, 61; Judy
Yung, Unbound Feet: A Social History of Chinese Women in San Francisco (Berkeley: University of Califor-
nia Press, 1995), 28; Ling, “Chinese Merchant Wives in the United States,” 83.
61 Hirata, “Free, Indentured, Enslaved,” 19.
62 Los Anzeles News, Dec. 24, 1870.
63 Los Angeles Star, Nov. 1, 1870; Los Angeles News, Oct. 28, 1870, and Dec. 24, 1870.
^Los Angeles Star, Aug. 26, 1870; Los Angeles News, Aug. 26, 1870.
65 People v. Sing Yu, Minutes, Justice of the Peace (Gray), Aug. 25, 1870, laacr.
^SingLee v. Ah Chu, Ah Gung and Juan Espinosa, Minutes, Justice of the Peace (Gray), Aug. 27, 1870, laacr.
61 Los Angeles News, Oct. 28, 1870.
68 Los Angeles News, Oct. 16, 1870, and Nov. 1, 1870; Los Angeles Star, Nov. 1, 1870.
69 Los Angeles News, Nov. 1, 1870.
70 Los Angeles Tri-Weekly News, May 30, 1865, and June 13, 1865.
71 People v. Joseph F. Dye, Case No. 1006, Feb. 23, 1871, 17th Judicial District Court, Criminal Cases, laacr;
Los Angeles Star, Nov. 1, 1870, and Nov. 2, 1870; Los Angeles News, Nov. 1, 1870, and Nov. 2, 1870; NewThis content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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mark, Sixty Years in Southern C agreed that Warren had fired first 72 Los Angeles News, Nov. 6, 1870 73 Los Angeles Star, Dec. 23, 1870 les News, Dec. 23, 1870, and Dec. Yu, Ah Hing, and Ah Yew. Los A 74 People v. Lee Woo, Minutes, J 1870.
15 Los Angeles News, Dec. 24, 1870.
76 id.
77Hirata, “Free, Indentured, Enslaved,” 19-20; Tong, Unsubmissive Women, 151.
78 Yung, Chang, and Lai, eds., Chinese American Voices, 21.
19 Los Angeles News, Mar. 9, 1871.
80 Los Angeles News, Dec. 24, 1870, Mar. 10, 1871, and May 6, 1871.
81 Los Angeles News, Mar. 30, 1872.
82 Evans, À la California, 246.
83 Gibson, The Chinese in America, 77.
^Los Angeles Semi-Weekly News, Feb. 16, 1866.
85 Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of California, in The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft (39 vols.; San Francisco:
The History Co., 1800), XXIV, 336.
86 J. M. Guinn, A History of California and an Extended History of Its Southern Coast Counties (2 vols.; Los Ange-
les: Historic Record Co., 1007), I, 232.
87 R. David Arkush and Leo O. Lee, trans, and eds., Land Without Ghosts: Chinese Impressions of America from
the Mid-Nineteenth Century to the Present (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), 32, 38.
88 Holt, The Life Stories of Undistinguished Americans, 183-84.
89 Kwong, and Miščevič, Chinese America, 15-16.
90 Los Angeles Star, Oct. 9, 1872.
91 Nordhoff, “California for Health, Pleasure and Residence,” 90.
92 id. at 85.
93 Robert W. Blew, “Vigilantism in Los Angeles, 1835-1874,” Southern California Quarterly, 54 (Spring 1972):
12; Frances Lomas Feldman, “Human Services in the City of Angels,” Southern California Quarterly, 85
(Summer 2003): 152; J. J. Warner, Benjamin Hayes, and Joseph P. Widney, An Historical Sketch of Los
Angeles Counts, California (1876; reprint, Los Angeles: O. W. Smith, 1936), 124.
94 Eric Monkkonen, “Western Homicide: The Case of Los Angeles, 1830-1870,” Pacific Historical Review, 74
(Nov. 2005): 609; Eric H. Monkkonen, “Homicide in Los Angeles, 1827-2002,” Journal oflnterdisdplinary
History, 36 (Autumn 2005): 172.
95 Kevin Starr, California: A History (New York: The Modern Library, 2005), 84-85.
96 Willard, The Heralds History of Los Angeles City, 280.
97 Locklear, “The Celestials and the Angels,” 241.
98 Los Angeles Star, Маг. 6, 1864.
“Los Angeles News, Jan. 4, 1869, Jan. 22, 1869, Mar. 19, 1869, Apr. 1, 1869, Apr. 13, 1869, Apr. 28, 1869, May
13, 1869, May 21, 1869, May 28, 1869, June 23, 1869, July 21, 1869, July 27, 1869, Sept. 9, 1869, May 2,
1870, June 11, 1870, July 9, 1870, Nov. 17, 1870, and Dec. 24, 1870; Newmark, Sixty Years in Southern Cal-
ifornia, 380.
100 Los Angeles News, Oct. 12, 1869.
101 Los Angeles News, May 21, 1869.
MLos Angeles News, Sept. 15, 1869.
103 Remi Nadeau, City-Makers: The Story of Southern California’s First Boom, 1868-76 (Los Angeles: Trans-
Anglo Boob, 1965), 35-40; Locklear, “The Celestials and the Angels,” 244.
104 Nordhoff, “California for Health, Pleasure and Residence,” 90; Gibson, The Chinese in America, 107.
105 Sandmeyer, The Anti-Chinese Movement in California, 45-47-
^Los Angeles News, Nov. 17, 1870, and Dec. 24, 1870.
107 The Evening Express [Los Angeles], Sept. 5, 1871.
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108 Los Añóreles News. Senf. ia. Ñ‚8чо 109 Los An ^ – – – в – i
110 Los An 111 Los An mLos Ang 113 Los An 114 Los An 115 Los An 116 Los An 117 Los An mLos Ang 119 Willard mLos Ang m Los Ang 122 People News, Oct mLos Ang 124 Los An mLos Ang n6Los Ang n7Los Ang 128 Peopl (Still/Gr 129 People mLos Ang 131 Lai, ” 132 Aita C mLos Ang 134 Emma Inc., 1998 135 J. A. mLos Ang 137 Horac 138 С P. D Southern 139 People in Califor lection, H 140 Los An 141 The al jointly by News, Feb Yup Comp Yung Com news acco les City, C following pany: “We Wing Ch . . . had n les Star, S ^WingChu LAACR.
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143 Los Angeles Star, Oct. 30, 187 their response, did not deny th 144 San Bernardino Guardian, No Star, Oct. 31, 1871 (identifying on the ground that the defenda meanor. Ex parte Ah Cha, 40 Ca prisoners “roasted for two hours ishment by law.” Los Angeles St 145 San Bernardino Guardian, No 146 Alia California [San Francisco wNew York Times, Nov. м. 187 wLos Angeles Star, Nov. 10, 187 13, 1870, Nov. 29, 1870, and N wLay Yee v. Wong Hing, Case N Angeles Star, Jan. 24, 1871, Jan 150 People v. Choo Chee and Gi News, Mar. 5, 1871.
151 People v. Lae Yu, Minutes, Ju Aíta California [San Francisco], 152 Yo Hing v. Sam Gut Gee, M Mar. 12, 1871.
153 Lee Yong (groom) and Yut Ho (bride), Mar. 3, 1871, Marriage Records, Los Angeles County Registrar’s
Office. A later source identified the woman as Ya Hit, a name that has been repeated in several secondary
accounts of the Chinese massacre. Dorland, “Chinese Massacre at Los Angeles in 1871,” 22.
^Los Angeles Star, Mar. 8, 1871.
155 In the Matter of Ute How, Minutes, County Court, Mar. 7, 1871, laacr; People v. Yo Hing et al., Mar. 8,
1871, Minutes, Justice of the Peace (Gray), laacr; Los Angeles Star, Маг. 8, 1871, and Mar. 9, 1871; Los
Angeles News, Mar. 9, 1871.
^Los Angeles Star, Mar. 8, 1871, and Mar. io, 1871.
^Los Angeles News, Mar. 8, 1871.
158 These were John Tambolin (groom) and Ah Qu (bride), Nov. 19, 1862, and Oh Moy (groom) and Ah Foy
(bride), May 7, 1868, Marriage Records, Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office.
159 In addition to Lee Yong and Yut Ho, they were: Ah Chun (groom) and Sy Ku (bride), Oct. 3, 1871; Ah Kit
(groom) and Sung Kum (bride), Oct. 20, 1871; Ah Sum (groom) and Hon Que (bride), Nov. 15, 1871;
and One Za (groom) and Sing Нее (bride), Feb. 22, 1872, Marriage Records, Los Angeles County Regis-
trar’s Office.
160 Los Angeles News, Feb. 23, 1872.
161 Los Angeles Star, Mar. io, 1871.
mLos Angeles Star, Mar. 15, 1871.
163 Aita California [San Francisco], Mar. 11, 1871.
l(ALos Anéeles Star, Mar. 10, 1871.
165 Los Angeles News, Apr. 21, 1871.
166 Wing Chung Co. v. Los Angeles City, Case No. 1941 , June 22, 1872, 17th Judicial District Court, laacr (tes*
timony of Jesus Bilderrain).
^Los Angeles Star, Oct. 24, 1871; Dorland, “Chinese Massacre at Los Angeles in 1871,” 23.
168 Los Angeles Star, Oct. 31, 1871.
169 When Yo Hing indicated that the riot had its origin in the dispute over a shop leased from Prudent Beaudry,
Sam Yuen countered that the trouble was “not about rented premises alone.” Los Angeles Star, Oct. 30,
1871, and Oct. 31, 1871.
170 People v. Ah Choy and four other Chinamen, and People v. Yo Hing, Minutes, Justice of the Peace (Gray), Oct.
23, 1871, laacr; Los Angeles Star, Oct. 24, 1871; Los Angeles News, Oct. 24, 1871.
171 Los Angeles Star, Oct. 31, 1871. Ah Choy said that Yo Hing was with the party that shot him. However, Yo
Hing claimed that he was at Alexander Rendon’s barber shop on Main Street at the time of the shooting,
This content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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and Rendon corroborated that s saries swore out a complaint cha al., Minutes, Justice of the Peac at San Juan Capistrano while tr Angeles Star, Nov. 6, 1871 . How him. Alta California [San Franc 172 The foregoing account of the g from eyewitness testimony, wh Los Angeles City, Case No. 194 mony of Jesus Bilderrain, Est News, Oct. 26, 1871 (testimony Hester), Feb. 15, 1872 (testimon Adolfo Celis), Apr. 2, 1872 (testi of Jesus Bilderrain and Pedro B on Thompson for help, Bilderrai the fray voluntarily. Horace B Thompson went to the Wing Ch Old West Coast, 171 , 176. Bell w Los Angeles dailies praised Tho liberal man.” Los Angeles News subsequent accounts of the ma M. Kramer, “Emil Harris: Los An Quarterly, 55 (Summer 1973): 16 Early California Peace Officers (referring to Thompson as a “th mLos Angeles News, Oct. 28, 18 hoi, Jan. 5, 1872, Los Angeles with a deadly weapon but found mLos Angeles News, Oct. 29, 187 175 in the Matter of the Estate of LAACR.
176 Los Angeles Star, Oct. 27, 1871 (testimony of N. L. King).
177 Mesmer, “Massacre of Chinese,” Mesmer Papers.
178 The most comprehensive account of the riot and massacre is Paul M. De Falla, “Lantern in t Sky,” The Historical Society of Southern California Quarterly, 42 (Mar. i960): 57-88 (Part I) and i960): 161-85 (Part II). Newspapers covered the events of October 24 extensively, though n accurately. The Los Angeles Star and Los Angeles News, in their editions of October 26 through published the testimony of numerous eyewitnesses taken at the coroner’s inquest. These deposi be read carefully, however, as many of those who testified were suspected rioters. Eyewitness r recorded many years after the fact include: R. M. Widney, “Chinese Riot and Massacre in Lo The Grizzly Bear, Jan. 192 1, 3-4, 22 (also published in Los Angeles Examiner, Sept. 7, 1924); Jam Burns, “James Franklin Burns, Pioneer,” The Historical Society of Southern California Quarter 1950): 6 1-66; and Mesmer, “Massacre of Chinamen in 1871” and “Massacre of Chinese,” Mesm The massacre is discussed in the context of Los Angeles vigilantism in Paul R. Spitzzeri, “Judge Session: Popular Justice in Los Angeles, 1850- 1875,” Southern California Quarterly, 87 (Sum 105-11.
119 Los Angeles News, Oct. 26, 1871.
mLos Angeles Star, Oct. 26, 1871.
181 Mesmer, “Massacre of Chinese,” Mesmer Papers.
182 Newspaper clipping dated Nov. 4, 1871, Robert Maclay Widney, “Scrapbook and Folder of Miscellaneous
Items,” 11-12, Huntington Library.
W3Los Angeles News, Oct. 29, 1871 (testimony of H. Schlotterbeck).
184 New York Times, Nov. io, 1871.
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l85Peoplev. Sam Yuen et al, Cas mLos Angeles Star, Oct. 27, 187 187 id. (testimony of S. A. Butler mLos Angeles News, Oct. 27, 18 189 id. (testimony of J. M. Baldwi 190 Los Anseies News, Oct. 20, 1 191 Los Angeles Star, Oct. 27, 18 192 Los Angeles News, Oct. 26, 18 193 Paul De Falla identified a nin “Lantern in the Western Sky,” Chinamen who came down from les Daily News, Oct. 28, 1871. Th Chinese enemies prior to the ri 194 Los Angeles News, Oct. 31, 18 195 Los Angeles Star, Oct. 26, 18 men were killed. The rest were 196 Los Angeles Star, Oct. 27, 1871 197 Common Council Records, N Nov. 20, 1871. The Los Angeles to submit the determination o 1871, and Dec. 7, 1871, Los Ang 198 People v. A. F. Coronel, Cas 199 Los Angeles News, Oct. 29, 18 in the riot. Rather, the memb along with European and Mexic 200 San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 201 People v. Adolfo Celis, Case Los Angeles Daily News, Mar. 202 Alta California [San Francisc 203 People v. Andres Saur [sic; So v. Patrick McDonald, Minutes, 204 People v. Jesus Martinez, Mi 205 Los Angeles Star, May 18, 18 Criminal Cases, laacr; Los Angel Minutes, Justice of the Peace 206Locklear, “The Celestials and 207 Mesmer, “Massacre of Chine 208 Common Council Records, M 209 Los Angeles News, Oct. 27, 18 210 Act of Mar. 16, 1863, ch. 68, Race: A Chapter in the History 211 De Falla, “Lantern in the We m Bancroft, History of Californi 213Nordhoff, “California for He 2l*Los Angeles Star, Oct. 28, 187 215Newmark, Sixty Years in South 216 Los Angeles Star, Oct. 26, 187 217 Alta California [San Francisco mLos Angeles Star, Oct. 27, 1871 219 Los Angeles Star, Oct. 27, 18 Frederick Weaver).
220 Los Angeles News, Oct. 27, 1 221 Bell, On the Old West Coast, This content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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222 Aita California [San Francisco] 223 People v. L. M. Mendel et al. LAACR.
224 Los Angeles News, Dec. 3, 1871. The two Chinese who were tried were Quong Wong (also Wan) and Ah Ying. Other Chinese known to have been indicted were Ah Sing (originally i Due) and See Saow (originally indicted as Ah Shaw). Minutes, 17th Judicial District Court, and Feb. 14, 1872, laacr; Los Angeles News, Feb. 15, 1872; Aito California [San Francisco], F 225 Minutes, 17th Judicial District Court, Feb. 17, 1872, Mar. 27, 1872, and Mar. 30, 1872, la fornia [San Francisco], Feb. 19, 1872, and Mar. 31, 1872; Los Angeles Star, Mar. 28, 1872. L. F. Louis Mendel, A. R. Johnston, Charles Austin, Patrick M. McDonald, Jesus Martinez, Ref and Estevan A. Alvarado were convicted, while Dan W. Moody and Adolfo Celis were acquit rioters who were not brought to trial included J. Clement Cox, Edmund Crawford, Ramon D G. Scott, “Richard Roe” [actual name unknown] Doland, Victor Kelley, Ambrosio Ruiz, Sam son, Andres Soeur, A. L. King, Francisco Peña, and “John Doe” [actual name unknown] Kel viving indictments are found in Case Nos. 1067 through 1084 (murder) and Case No. 1115 (rio Judicial District Court, Criminal Cases, laacr.
226 People v. Crenshaw, 46 California Reports 66 (1873). This decision resulted in the release victed men from the San Quentin penitentiary on June 10, 1873. The eighth, Refugio Botello escaped punishment altogether, as he had been released on bail after sentencing pending reso appeal. Alto California [San Francisco], Mar. 28, 1872.
227 Ah Mouie v. James F. Bums and Frank]. Carpenter, Case No. 18 14, May 18, 1871, 17th Judi Court, Civil Cases, laacr. Ah Mouie’s claim for payment went full circle, finally landing Chow Company’s doorstep. Burns and Carpenter did not have enough property to satisfy the her favor, so Ah Mouie had to recover her money from those two officials’ sureties. Ah Mou B. Caswell and Phineas Banning, Case No. 2219, Apr. 25, 1873, 17th Judicial District Court laacr. Having paid the judgment amount, the sureties sued the three people who had original a bond indemnifying the sheriff for any damages he might sustain by reason of the writ of attac of them was Yo Hing’s henchman, Lay Yee. Samuel Ð’ . Caswett and Phineas Banning v . John G . Ni Wilson and Lay Yee, Case No. 2271 , July 30, 1873, 17th Judicial District Court, Civil Cases, l while, Ah Mouie neglected to pay her attorneys, who had to sue to recover their fees. Tho Wong Hing and Ah Mouie, Minutes, Justice of the Peace (Trafford), July 11, 1873, laacr.
228People v. Yo Hing, Nov. 2, 1871, Minutes, Justice of the Peace (Gray), laacr; Los Angeles Star Tong You’s case was unsuccessful; Yo Hing was charged but later released. Alto California [San Dec. 6, 1871.
229 Los Angeles Star, Oct. 26, 1871; Los Angeles News, Oct. 26, 1871.
230 Los Angeles News, Feb. 15, 1872; Alto California [San Francisco], Feb. 16, 1872.
231 Arkush and Lee, trans, and eds., Land Without Ghosts, 48.
232 Widney, “Scrapbook and Folder of Miscellaneous Items,” 12; Boyle Workman, The City T Angeles: The Southland Publishing Co., 1936), 148. A Los Angeles justice of the peace had this form of attestation for Chinese litigants eight years earlier. Los Angeles Star, Apr. 9, 186 233 Wing Chung Co. v. Los Angeles City, Minutes, 17th Judicial District Court, June 3, 1872, la 234 Wing Chung v. Los Angeles, 47 California Reports 53 1 ( 1874).
235 Alto California [San Francisco], Nov. 10, 1871; Los Angeles Star, Nov. 20, 1871.
236 Alto California [San Francisco], Feb. 10, 1872.
237 Ah Sum (groom) and Hon Que (bride), Nov. 15, 1871, Marriage Records, Los Angeles Coun Office; Los Angeles Star, Nov. 16, 1871; Los Angeles News, Nov. 16, 1871.
238 One Za (groom) and Sing Нее (bride), Feb. 22, 1872, Marriage Records, Los Angeles Coun Office; Los Angeles News, Feb. 23, 1872, and Feb. 25, 1872; Los Angeles Star, Feb. 24, 1872 1872.
239 People v. Ah Yan and Ah Yu, Minutes, Justice of the Peace (Gray), Apr. 6, 1872, laacr; Los Angeles News,
Apr. 7, 1872.
240 People v. Tung Cy and Ah Kong, Case No. 160, Sept. 3, 1873, Los Angeles County Justices Court, laacr;
Los Angeles Star, Sept. 4, 1873.
This content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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241 Bell, On the Oíd West Coast, 1 242 Ah Chu v. Fong Chang, Minu On the Old West Coast, 170.
mLos Angeles Star, Feb. 27, 1872.
mLos Angeles News, Apr. 30, 187 245 Los Angeles Star, Aug. 6, 1872 246 Blew, “Vigilantism in Los An Spitzzeri, “Judge Lynch in Sessio ulLos Angeles Star, Oct. яо, 1871 ^Locklear, “The Celestials and t 249 Salvátor, Los Angeles in the Sun 250Locklear, “The Celestials and 251 Id. at 253.
252 Aita California [San Francisco]This content downloaded from on Wed, 26 Feb 2020 06:27:45 UTC
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