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The anti-Chinese riot in Tonopah, Nevada, 1903.

The anti-Chinese riot in Tonopah, Nevada, (1) in 1903 was just one of many examples of how the Chinese were unable to obtain legal remedies for criminal acts committed against them. The case is interesting not only because of its coverage in local and regional newspapers but also because U.S. State Department records shed further light on the situation. Despite eyewitness testimonies, the rioters were found "Not Guilty" and the Chinese were denied indemnity payments. The incident is significant because it produced two diametrically opposed results: on the one hand, it gave impetus to another group in the Goldfield Mining District to try the same action a year later, and on the other, it led some citizens of Tonopah to take a more sympathetic and supportive view of their Chinese residents, as exemplified by the experiences of Billy Mm Chung Ford (Zhang Min). (2)

Early in their experiences in the American West, the Chinese realized that they did not receive equal protection under the law In 1854 in California, People v. Hall set the damaging precedent that the Chinese could not testify against whites. (3) In 1864-65, Nevada adopted the same policy in its Territory of Nevada laws, Chapter 136, Amendment to Section 13, which stated that the Chinese could not give evidence in favor or against any white person, and that the credibility of their testimony would be left to the jury. (4) Despite the signing of the Burlingame Treaty of 1868, which promised that the United States would exert "all its power to devise measures" for the protection of the Chinese and "secure to them the same rights, privileges, immunities, and exemptions as may be enjoyed by the citizens or subjects of the most favored nation," Chinese did not have to be regarded as truthful witnesses in court because they were not Christians, nor could they serve on juries because they were ineligible for citizen ship. (5) To avoid the racial issue, Nevada amended its November 26, 1861 act concerning crime and punishment to state that the credibility of witnesses in civil and criminal cases was up to the jury. (6) As John R. Wunder has shown for cases in the trans-Mississippi West, the oath was crucial to the admission of any testimony, and the absence of swearing on the Bible of a non-Christian made that testimony subject to being discredited. (7) Therefore, although testimony could be given without swearing on the Bible, the credibility of the witness remained in doubt even in the early twentieth century Chinese immigrants faced language problems, a different legal system, legal expenses, and the strong probability that their testimony would be disregarded.

The Chinese had few defenders. In 1869, when Euro-American miners drove the Chinese out of Unionville, Nevada, the federal court in Nevada unsuccessfully attempted to prosecute systematic assaults on Chinese rights, but this was the only time it was done. (8) Unlike cases in California, as detailed by Charles McClain, (9) the Chinese minister in Washington, D.C., and the Chinese consulate and Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) in San Francisco seldom defended Chinese rights or sought justice on their behalf when crimes were committed against the Chinese in Nevada until the 1903 anti-Chinese riot in Tonopah, and even in this case they were unsuccessful. (10)

On the night of September 15, 1903, several members of the Labor Union marched into Tonopah's Chinatown and ordered the Chinese residents to leave. Sixty-six-year-old (11) Zhang Bingliang (Chong Bing Long, also called Wing Sing, after the name of his laundry), who had lived in the United States for more than thirty years, was too old to move quickly from his "wash house--residence," so the mob, led by E. M. "Al" Arandall, a rival laundryman and president of Tonopah Labor Union No. 224, robbed him, severely beat him with two pistols and a hatchet, drove him out of town, beat him further, and left him in the desert. Two days later, the deputy constable found his badly bruised body His skull had been smashed and an artery severed. Although the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and its additions had lessened the threat of Chinese labor competition, the impending talks about renewed treaty agreements with China scheduled for 1903-04 revived anti-Chinese sentiments. Anti-Chinese feelings remained strong among some labor u nion members because of the economic competition, economic downturn, and continued racist beliefs and ideology. (12) This laid the foundation for the 1903 riot.

Court records from the State Department demonstrate the serious nature of the crime and give some insight into the situation not revealed elsewhere. A letter sent to the San Francisco Chinese-language newspaper, Chung Sai Yat Po, published on November 15, 1903 and translated by Him Mark Lai in this volume, also contributes to our understanding of the events. Government records such as the 1910 census manuscript, various land deeds, and other documents enhance our view of the dynamics in these early years of Tonopah's history as well. The reporters covering the Tonopah riot tried to be objective and sympathetic toward the Chinese minority in their midst, but never really presented the Chinese perspective. This study shows in depth the injustice that occurred in Tonopah, which was just one example of what happened elsewhere in the United States.


In May 1900, Nye County official James Butler went on a prospecting trip and discovered a rich vein in the San Antonio Mountains. (13) That winter, about fifty people moved into Tonopah (originally called Butler, with an official name change to Tonopah in March 1905) to live in tents and makeshift structures. Reputed to be the "Second Comstock Lode," with promises of great mining wealth, Tonopah began its transformation from a primitive mining camp to a permanent town in 1901. By the end of 1902, there were two newspapers: The Tonopah Bonanza (hereafter abbreviated as the Bonanza), started by W. W. Booth in June 1901, at the urging of Tasker Oddie, who later became governor of Nevada; and The Tonopah Miner (hereafter the Miner), established by Sam Dunham and T. D. VanDevort (whose interest was bought out by James Morris in February 1902) as a Democratic weekly. (14) In the tradition of Western "boom town" presses, both newspapers were responsive to the leaders of the community and strove to present their comm unity in a beneficial light to lure additional settlers into the area. (15) The two weeklies were joined by a third in 1904, when Lindley Branson started the Tonopah Sun, which became a daily on January 10, 1905. (16) The growth of the newspapers and the addition of the Sun reflected the town's expansion.

By the end of 1902, Tonopah had thirty saloons, several churches, a gambling hall, three bands, an opera house, a stock exchange, doctors, lawyers, livery stables, three blacksmith shops, three lumberyards, three butcher shops, three bakeries, nine general merchandise stores, three drug stores, telegraph and telephone service, a six-hundred-member miners' union, and a growing Chinatown that was located near the "red light" district and Mizpah Saloon, which later became the town's most famous hotel and restaurant. (17) Some of Nevada's leaders--most notably Chris Zabriskie, head of the Borax Company in Death Valley; Hugh Brown, founder of the State of Nevada Bar Association; George Wingfield, political leader and entrepreneur; and Key Pittman and Patrick McCarran, two of Nevada's senators--all spent time as early residents of Tonopah. By early 1903, the population of the town had grown past three thousand, and the newspapers began to focus on an issue common throughout Western American mining towns: eliminatio n of the Chinese labor force, which was perceived by the unions as a threat to their members' economic well-being.

Anti-Chinese sentiment was expressed in print as early as June 22, 1901, when the Bonanza reported, "There is talk of banning John Chinaman from Tonopah. He is getting too numerous here." The talk stemmed from the growing Labor Union that represented laundry and restaurant workers, who were in competition for jobs with the Chinese. If the 1910 census manuscript is a reflection of the Chinese population, these fears were unfounded, because in that year there were only fifty-three Chinese residents of Tonopah in thirty-one households. (18) However, the threat of a large Chinese population in any Western boom town had an impact on the town's new residents.

One of the first Chinese to settle in Tonopah came at the invitation of Lottie Stimier (later the prominent Mrs. John Nay), a boardinghouse owner unable to cope with the difficult task of feeding the rapidly growing population of single male miners. (19) The common belief in Western mining communities at the turn of the century was that a Chinese cook's culinary skills contributed greatly to the contentment and stability of miners. At this time the typical fare for a miner eating in one of the best hotels, or in the home of a wealthy person, was a tough beefsteak, boiled potatoes, stewed beans, dried apples, and a jug of molasses. (20) Away from established communities, a miner boiled beans by the potful with salt pork and drank coffee made in a pot that was one-fourth to one-half full of coffee grinds. Lottie Stimier opened one of the first boardinghouses in the tent town. She decided to disregard strong protests from various leading community members and, on the recommendation of her brother, hired Fong Kee , who had been working at Silver Peak, some 35 miles away, as her cook. Business grew, and when she needed another cook, she asked Fong Kee to find one. He probably turned to Chung Kee (1847-1909), the Chinese labor boss and merchant in nearby Hawthorne, in order to hire another Chinese cook. (21)

Soon the Chinese began to build their own boardinghouses and restaurants to serve the booming population of predominantly single male miners. Charles Chung (b. 1846, immigrated 1870, d. 1914), a merchant, property owner in neighboring towns, and restaurant owner, moved to Tonopah and purchased a lot on Main Street on which he and his partner, Billy Ford, built the Barnum Restaurant, which he advertised in the Bonanza as a restaurant and boardinghouse in 1901. (22) Located across the street from the Bonanza office, the Barnum became a favorite dining place for the editor and reporters over the next two decades, though the Labor Union told its members to stay away from Chinese-owned businesses.

Other Chinese followed, and a Chinatown sprang up. Several other Chinese restaurants, as well as the ever-popular Chinese laundries, were established. The Chinese had been attracted by the potential economic opportunities in town. Some realized that, unlike the case in California, the Nevada Constitution stated that "foreigners who are or may hereafter become bona fide residents" of Nevada had the same rights as native-born citizens in regards to property ownership, enjoyment, and inheritance. (23) Charles Chung was the most active Chinese real-estate speculator, for he bought and sold property including the Brickboard Lode, a mine sold to him by the Tonopah Mining Company in 1905. (24) In 1911 he also sold a house on Summit and South Streets to Mrs. Chung Kee (1876-1929), widow of the Hawthorne Chinese labor boss. (25) Charlie, as he was known, was one of the Chinese community leaders, and his successes attracted others, many of whom came from the same Chinese village or district (today known as Kaiping, in Guangdong province in southeastern China) as he. Charles Chung was probably related to Hawthorne's Chung Kee, since they both had the surname Zhang and came from the same district in China.

Migration from one's native district in China to a new American boom town often resulted from communications between relatives and friends, and this made life in the strange environment more tolerable. Based on depositions taken in December 1903, many of the Chinese in Tonopah came from two districts in Guangdong province--Taishan (in the depositions called Sun Wing, or, more properly transliterated, Xinning, which was later incorporated into Taishan) and Kaiping (also known as Hoiping). (26) Both districts were part of the Siyi (Four Counties) dialect group, and this facilitated communication within Tonopah's Chinatown. Many of its residents had lived in the United States for thirty or more years, so they should have been familiar with American ways. As in all Chinatowns after 1875 (when the Page Law passed, halting much of the immigration of Chinese women), (27) there were few Chinese women in Tonopah; those who did live there often were not listed in the census, though they were occasionally mentioned in c ounty death records, birth records, and newspaper accounts. Thus Tonopah's Chinatown was predominantly male. Some men were married to wives who lived in China; others were single. They often formed close relationships for mutual protection and economic development.

According to census manuscript records of 1910, most of the Chinese in Tonopah were laundrymen or cooks, with a few in scattered occupations, such as boardinghouse owners, house servants, vegetable peddlers, wood packers, restaurant owners, grocers, merchants, and laborers. (28) Chinese cooks and restaurants owners had an advantage over their non-Chinese competition because they often got fresh produce from Chinese growers. The laundries, whose services were crucial to mining communities, did not require a large capital investment, but washing clothes was a demanding, seven-days-a-week occupation. (29) Competition for laundry work arose throughout the West, and Tonopah was no exception. A few laundrymen became prosperous, but most were able to earn only a living wage. Many Chinese laundrymen lived in the back of their shops, as was true for Zhang Bingliang and his assistant Zhang Baiwei (Ah Sam or Bok Wai in the newspapers).

Anti-Chinese sentiment was found among members of the Miners' Union and Labor Union of Tonopah. Raising the banner of the "Yellow Peril," so familiar in the 1870s-90s, the presidents and financial secretaries of both unions jointly endorsed the following declaration, which was published in the January 3, 1903 Bonanza:


That the Miners' and Labor Unions of Tonopah, Nevada, view with alarm the inroads that the Chinese labor is making in our fair city, by securing the work that should be done by the willing hands of our own people, especially in laundries, restaurants, hotels, and as household help.

And, whereas, we now have plenty of hotels, restaurants, and a union steam laundry and several white women who are doing laundry business at their home, where Chinese labor is not employed--

We, the undersigned, members of said organizations, by order of our respective unions, do hereby appeal and request all union men and women and the public generally in and around the fair city of Tonopah who are in sympathy with organized labor, to cease their patronage of Chinese restaurants, laundrys, [sic] and all places where Chinese is [sic] employed, thus giving our own race a chance to live.

Anti-Chinese feelings mounted throughout the early months of 1903. These sentiments were heightened by the proposed construction of the Tonopah Railroad, scheduled for completion in 1904, which was expected to use Chinese laborers and to link the mining town to major cities. Nearby Goldfield, founded in 1903, took note of this threat and in 1905 passed a local law prohibiting Asians from disembarking from the train that passed through town. (30) In 1903, most union members favored boycotting businesses that were owned or operated by Chinese or that employed Chinese workers. As in most organizations advocating discrimination, a few felt that peaceful means were not sufficient and favored violence to drive the Chinese out of town.


On the night of September 15, 1903, a group of thirty to fifty men or more, believed to all be union members, gathered at the lower end of Tonopah and marched into Chinatown, located at the northern end of town. (31) They demanded that the Chinese leave immediately or at least within twenty-four hours. A few hours later, a smaller group entered Chinatown and broke into every Chinese-occupied house, with the exception of the home of Doctor Wo On Hi and the houses of a few Chinese who lived in other parts of the city The headline of the Miner for September 19, 1903 read: "Chinese at the Mercy of a Mob." The headline of the Bonanza of the same date read "Gang of Thugs Attack Chinese Quarter." The leaders of the town were appalled at the action, and the newspapers reflected this sentiment in the headlines.

The newspapers gave detailed coverage to the riot, the discovery of Zhang Bingliang's body, the seventeen-day preliminary hearing in Tonopah, and the grand jury trial in Belmont's County Courthouse. Other newspapers in Nevada also carried the story, thus focusing public attention on the incident. The Miner was more conservative and often more thorough in its coverage of the trial. The story started out as front-page news. The Bonanza was much more sensational in its coverage, and on September 19, 1903, when the story was first published, the editor highlighted James L. Butler's telegram from San Francisco: "If what I read be true regarding abuses of Chinese, it is an outrage to the people of Tonopah. If the people do not fight this case I hope they may never prosper. I will give $500 to any fund for prosecution of the mob, and an additional $500 in case of conviction." When the founder of the town took this stand, others joined him and the community became divided over the issue of the guilt of the arrested m en.

In the same spirit, a mass meeting of concerned citizens was held on September 15 and the following statement was adopted:

WHEREAS, at a meeting of the citizens of Tonopah, Nevada, held pursuant to the call on Wednesday, September 16, 1903, a committee was authorized and appointed to adopt resolutions denouncing the action of the mob, which raided the Chinese quarters of Tonopah on the night of September 15, 1903, murdered an inoffensive Chinaman, beat, mutilated and terrorized a number of others, and robbed and otherwise maltreated them.

Therefore, we, the committee so appointed, hereby present the following resolutions as expressive of sentiment of the people of Tonopah in denunciation of said mob and its atrocious work.

RESOLVED, That the citizens of Tonopah view with horror and denounce in unmeasured terms the outrageous and brutal acts (which according to all the present evidence) have been committed.

That the citizens of Tonopah regard this act as not alone an atrocious violation of the law, but also a heinous crime against inoffensive people, against humanity and civilization.

That the people of Tonopah will support the officers of the law in all possible ways in their efforts to bring the criminals to justice. (32)

The resolution brought words of praise from the editor of the Desert News:

The citizens of Tonopab, Nev., [sic] have done well in protesting in mass meeting against the outrages of the mob, that drove the Chinamen out of town, plundering their residences, and, as it seems, murdered one of their number. When such acts of violence are reported from China against foreign devils" [white men],they arouse indignation and demand revenge. They ought to be doubly avenged when professed "Christians" are the perpetrators of the outrages. We hope the officers of Tonopah will not rest until justice is done in full measure. (33)

The Miners' Union and Labor Union leaders quickly denied that the unions were connected with the outrage, despite the fact that most of the seventeen men arrested were union members and two--E. M. Arandall, president of the Tonopah Labor Union No. 224, and Frank Billings, the Labor Union's recording secretary--were officers. (34) The Labor Union quickly appointed an acting president and secretary who condemned the mob violence but at the same time appealed to fellow citizens to await the decision of the court before reaching a conclusion. (35) The Reno Evening Gazette of September 18, 1903, responded by criticizing the union: "It may be said that any union should not be held responsible for what some individual member of such union does. That may be so, but when the president of a union takes the law into his own hand and uses his own judgment of who shall or who shall not live in a community it is high time to call a halt. As long as unions elect men to office who are irresponsible and rash advisors, just so long will organized labor have trouble and lots of it." The Inyo independent in nearby California also took this opportunity to criticize labor unions:

If the raid was planned and executed by the Labor Union of Tonopah, the sooner the union is broken up and its leaders in the penitentiary, the better it will be for the people of the State. Labor unions as a means of bettering the conditions of the laboring men are all right, but labor unions for the purpose of hatching conspiracies and committing crimes upon inoffensive Chinamen are all wrong and should not be countenanced by the law abiding people of the state. (36)

The immediate response of these concerned citizens was probably a reaction not only to the violence but also to state, regional, and federal attention. Most of the state- and federal-level activities were not reported in the local newspapers. By sheer coincidence, Warren Gregory, attorney for the CCBA in San Francisco, was in Tonopah handling a matter involving the Rye Patch Water Company, and as a result, he contacted the CCBA immediately According to the Reno Evening Gazette of September 17, 1903, the CCBA then sent a telegram about the riot to Sir Chentung Liang Cheng, the Chinese minister in Washington, D.C., who brought this "outrage" to the attention of the Acting Secretary of State Alveya A. Adee, (37) who in turn ordered the Governor John Sparks of Nevada (1903-8) to investigate and extend due process as well as to "afford every protection in his power to the Chinese residents of Tonopah." Lemuel Allen, lieutenant governor and acting governor of Nevada, immediately responded that an investigation woul d be conducted.(38) On November 11, 1903, Allen sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Hay explaining that the matter had been referred to the attorney general, who was to confer with the district attorney of Nye County on the matter. (39) The Chinese in Tonopah also sent a letter to the San Francisco Chinese newspaper, Chung Sai Yat Po, on November 15, 1903, detailing their situation. Thus the anti-Chinese riot quickly gained regional and national attention.

There were minor differences in the accounts about the actual riot published by the two newspapers. For example, the Bonanza reported that the home of Billy Ford, "an Americanized Chinaman," had been visited and that his family had been told to leave. (40) Ford, an influential Chinese boraxmining labor boss, a leader of the Chinese community, and part owner of the Barnum Restaurant, (41) took his wife and two sons to the safety of the home of a Euro-American family, but when he returned to his home the next day, he discovered that $86 had been taken from his trunk. The Miner had a slightly different version, reporting that Billy Ford had not been at home and that the men who had broken into his house had done nothing when they saw his family there. (42)

The rioters knew that Ford was respected in the larger community The Chinese had learned long before that sympathetic Euro-American families might protect them or their wives and children during riots. Norman Money recalled, "AS in the case of all mobs, the more heads making up the mob, the less brains. Folks in sympathy with the unfortunate victims and having friends among them--such as Kendall, Robb, and Douglass--endangered their own households in trying to hide or protect the [Chinese victims]." (43) A few Chinese avoided the mob by taking refuge in the homes of sympathetic Euro-American friends.

The interest in Ford was no accident. Ford, whose Chinese surname was Zhang (variously spelled Jeung, Chung, Cheung), (44) had come to the United States from Kaiping in 1865 at the age of fifteen. Sometime between 1870 and 1890, he dropped his name Mm Chung and adopted the name Billy Ford. One story is that his lifelong friends and employers Thomas Kendall and William Douglass gave him the name when he worked in their Chloride hotel. (45) Another story states that he worked as a personal valet for the famous sportsman William Ford and took his new name from his employer. (46) A third account states that the Douglass family gave him the name when he and Charlie Chung worked in Sodaville, Nevada. (47) The adoption of an Americanized name in the late nineteenth century often indicated that a Chinese immigrant planned to make the United States his permanent home and was thus trying to acculturate. This was certainly the case with Billy Ford.

Ford had been working for Benjamin Edwards as the Chinese labor boss for the Pacific Coast Borax operations in Candelaria. (48) Edwards was a friend of Jim Butler, and when Butler made his big discovery, Edwards opened a branch of his merchandising firm in Tonopah. Billy Ford, who had married a young Sacramento-born Chinese American woman, Loy Lee (1882-1921), in 1899 in Candelaria, decided to move his wife and young son Timothy (1900-?) to this new town shortly after it was founded. (49) Through Edwards, who became vice president of the West End Consolidated Mining Company of Arizona, he probably knew Jim Butler, and it is not surprising that in 1902 he named his second son James Butler Ford. Billy Ford purchased his home on Oddie and Summit, on the edge of Tonopah's Chinatown, from Edwards. (50) Ford also knew the famous politician George Wingfield, who always visited Billy when he was in town; attorneys Hugh Brown and Key Pittman; and borax mine owner Chris Zabriskie--all men who became notable Nevadans in the coming decades. (51) His prestige in the Chinese and American communities deterred the rioters from taking any action against him and his family in 1903.

According to the two local newspapers, many others were victims of the union members' wrath. Almost all the buildings and houses in Chinatown proper were broken into. Fong Sing, Xie Liansheng (Lum Sing, Jay Lim Sing), Tom Lee, Charlie Joe, Tan Liansheng (George Sing, Tom Lim Sing), Li Maofen (Charlie Fawn or Lee Fawn), and Louie Him (or Ham) testified at the preliminary hearing that they had been robbed or that money had been taken from them, and that many of them had been severely beaten. The published amounts of money involved varied from $15 to $500. The losses suffered by the Chinese were actually greater, and if that information had been publicized, the Euro-American community's outrage might have been more vocal.

The main focus of the news was the death of the sixty-six-year-old (52) laundryman Zhang Bingliang. He had operated the Wing Sing Laundry just behind the Miners' Union Hall and had lived with Charlie Chung and Zhang Baiwei, his assistant in the laundry Zhang Bingliang, also known as Wing Sing (the name of his laundry), was interested in mining and had purchased Lots 13 and 14, Block G, an undivided 1/2 interest in the "D.D.," an undivided 1/6 interest in the Veteran Lode, and an undivided 1/3 interest in the Stypathia from Charlie Chung. He later sold the two lots to Key Pittman, one of Tonopah's leading citizens and a prosecuting attorney who assisted in the preliminary hearing. (53)

On that fateful night, two men entered Zhang Bingliang's home and severely beat the Chinese laundryman and his assistant. The two assailants, along with four to six others, drove the two Chinese men about a mile out into the desert and beat them some more. Bleeding and disoriented, Zhang Bingliang wandered northward in the direction of Sodaville; after 3 miles of walking, his trail marked by blood, he died in a wash not far from the main road. Two days later, Constable Scott Hickey found his body Many of the citizens of Tonopah were angry, but others sided with the rioters.

On September 26, the preliminary hearing began for the seventeen arrested men: E. M. Arandall, H. Zumstein, William Lang, C. Gallagher, Charles White, John Millick, A. E. Fetter, O. M. Jackson, John Hill, Frank Weiss, A. M. Bradshaw, Omar Sinks, C. M. Maxwell, I. C. Cushman, H. A. Breusing, F M. Billings, and A. Wilson, the only African-American involved in the case. Arandall, Millick, and Wilson were charged with murder; the others were charged with rioting and assault. The names are significant because they represent a cross section of the ethnic groups that made up the population of Tonopah.

District Attorney C. L. Richards, assisted by Key Pittman, represented the State of Nevada. Both men knew members of the Chinese community and in 1902-03 they had purchased property from Zhang Bingliang and Young Louie. (54) Pittman also served as Billy Ford's attorney and had advised Ford, for example, to put his property in his American-born wife's name in the event that an alien land law (prohibiting ownership of land by foreigners ineligible for citizenship) should ever be adopted in Nevada. (55) Pittman made a name for himself as an outstanding trial lawyer during this hearing and later became involved in U.S-China relations as a U.S. senator, serving from 1913 to 1940.

More than forty witnesses were called, over half of whom were Chinese. Key Pittman asked the court to allow Billy Ford to act as interpreter, but the defense attorney correctly pointed out that Ford was involved in the incident because of the robbery at his home, so that he could not be unbiased, and also challenged Ford's fluency in English. Eventually, George Quong of Carson City, an experienced interpreter, imparted the Chinese testimonies in English. Sixty-seven-ear-old Zhang Baiwei was the main eyewitness to the crime. He bad lived in the United States for 33 years and in Tonopah for 26 months, but lacked good English communicative skills to tell the story and identify the criminals. He stated that three men had entered the house and that Arandall and Sinks had beat him and Zhang Bingliang, then taken them out of town. The Miner reported that Zhang Bingliang had been beaten with a hatchet, that Zhang Baiwei had been robbed of $15 that he had in his pocket, and that both men had been taken out of town. Zh ang Baiwei had been able to walk back to town. During the hearing and trial, the defense lawyers questioned Zhang Baiwei's veracity because he did not believe in God, thus challenging his testimony.

Other Chinese witnesses were sworn in "in the Chinese method," though a few did use the Bible. For those like Li Xiang (George Lee, also known as Gee Lee and Lee Yet Heong), a laundryman who was not a Christian and did not believe in the Bible, the oath was administered by the late-nineteenth-century court practice, supposedly Chinese, of breaking the comb of a rooster. (56) This practice had been abandoned in the larger towns in Nevada but was revived during this hearing. The exotic procedure probably augmented the public's interest in the case and raised doubts in the jurors' minds about the reliability of the statements that followed. Li Xiang testified that when he had been ordered to leave town, he had asked for twenty-four hours in which to pack up his belongings. (57) His store and laundry were worth $7,000-$8,000, but the rioters only took $500 in cash, choked Li, and ran him out of town.

Another laundryman, Yee Lee, said that he had been beaten on the head with pistols. Tan Liansheng (Tom Lim Sing, also known as George Sing), who took an "American form of the oath," had also been struck on the head with guns and had been robbed of $145. He identified Bradshaw and Lang. Charlie Joe, a restaurant owner, identified Al Wilson as his attacker. Merchant Wo On Hi, whose property was worth $7,000-$8,000, testified that Arandall was the man who had choked him that night. Li Maofen (Charlie Fawn or Lee Fawn), who owned a laundry on Mineral Street behind the Mizpah Restaurant, stated that he had been dragged out of bed, beaten on the shoulder, and robbed of $300. In the case of severely injured Fong Sing, the Bonanza reported that he bad lost $292, while the Miner stated that it was only $240. After being beaten, Charlie Chung had gone to Tom Colehan's home for protection. Many of the Chinese identified several of the arrested men.

There were also Euro-American witnesses. M. P. Booth, a special night watchman, recognized Al Wilson as one of the rioters among the earlier crowd, and had seen a group of fifteen men beating a Chinese man but had not been able to see them clearly with the exception of Lang. A crowd of men recognized Lang as part of the mob. Others said that they had heard the noise the rioters made but did not recognize anyone specifically None of these witnesses could identify those who had attacked Zhang Bingliang.

In the end, only six men--E. M. Arandall, a laundry owner; E. R. Shellingberger, a bookkeeper; W A. Lang; A. Wilson, an Afro-American cook; A. M. Bradshaw; and O. M. Jackson, a restaurant worker--were charged with assault and murder. The case of the State v. Arandall et al. was tried before the grand jury for five days in Belmont, the county seat, in December 1903. District Attorney C. L. Richards and Associate Counsel P. M. Bowler, Jr., represented the State of Nevada; C. F Reynolds and S. E. Vermilyea represented the six defendants. (58) Vermilyea was allowed to talk for a considerable time on the issue of labor and the Chinese question at the trial, despite the fact that it was not relevant to a murder case. This indicated how powerful these concerns and racism were at the time. Despite the eyewitness accounts of Zhang Baiwei and the other witnesses, a verdict of "Not Guilty" for each of the six men was returned by the jury after one hour and fifteen minutes. Although the Miner simply stated the results, the Bonanza pointed out that the crowded courtroom was filled with "the wildest enthusiasm" when the verdict was read. (59)

Just as the case had polarized popular opinion, so the verdict did. The Reno Evening Gazette of December 15, 1903, commented:

The evidence against them was complete. Before any jury of intelligent and unbiased men anywhere in this country a conviction would have been a certainty, if not for murder in the first degree at least for murder in the second degree. There was no excuse for it other than ignorant stupidity and brutality ...

The men [Who committed the crime] were all known and... they are now all enjoying liberty and the law can never again put them in jeopardy for the offense.

Two days later, the Miner reprinted the criticism and defended the jury's decision by stating that the men had been tried by a jury of their peers, so the verdict had to be accepted. However, the paper acknowledged that the community was divided as to the guilt of one unnamed party (i.e., Arandall).

The two local newspapers diligently tried to cover the proceedings of the hearing and trial, and summarized the testimonies of the Chinese witnesses as best they could, yet they never described the gravity of the Chinese plight, as detailed in twenty affidavits taken in December 1903 by District Attorney Richards and later sent to the Chinese minister in Washington, D.C. (60) For example, the Bonanza simply stated that Li Maofen had been dragged from bed and robbed of $300. The Miner went into greater detail, reporting that ten to fifteen men had come to his house, hit him on the shoulder with a gun, and ordered him to leave town, whereupon he had run across a constable on Main Street and asked for protection in jail along with a Japanese friend. The constable had granted his request for an overnight stay but had done nothing to prevent the impending riot. Li Maofen's affidavit stated that the men hit him on the head and shoulders with butts of pistols, stolen $300 that was hidden in a vest, and then left, Th is frightening experience may have prompted Li Maofen to leave the United States for China in December 1903. In his case, his affidavit does not differ greatly from his testimony in court, as reported by the press.

The situations of other Chinese who filed affadavits were more serious. Many probably were among the forty witnesses testifying at the hearing. Fourteen of the twenty claims were made by men who had lived in the United States for 20 to 44 years. From Taishan (Sun Wing) District, there were Kuang Chengjiu (Kwong Sing Chow), a cook (30 years); Lai Ah Wing (also known as Ah Fong), a cook (44 years); Yee Joe, a restaurant owner (30 years); Loni Him, a cook (29 years); Li Xiang (Lee Yat Heang, also known as George or Gee Lee), a laundryman (34 years); Loni Goon, no occupation listed (30 years); and Won Sue (also known as Sam Lee), a cook (32 years). From Kaiping District, there were Xie Liansheng (Jay Lim Sing, also known as Lum Sing), a laundryman (24 years); Tan Liansheng (Tom Lim Sing, also known as George Sing), a porter in a saloon (33 years); Tom Den Sen (also known as Charley Hey), a grocer (34 years); Chung Yee (also known as Foo Yen), a laundryman (29 years); Ham Chung, no occupation listed (40 years); an d Jung Yen Quong, a laundryman (23 years). Li Maofen (Charlie Fawn or Lee Fawn), a laundryman, claimed Canton as his native place (in the U.S. for more than 20 years, he returned to China in December 1903). At least five of this group testified at the hearing: Li Maofen, Tan Liansheng, Xie Liansheng, Li Xiang, and Chung Yee. (61) Not all the victims filed affidavits. Billy Ford, for example, did not, but his losses were not as great as those of the others. The depositions showed the extent of injuries and losses suffered by the Chinese.

There were other cases that were not covered in the newspapers as well. Two men, Xie Liansheng and Tan Liansheng, not only lost property and cash but incurred medical expenses and loss of potential income. For Xie Liansheng, who incurred $400 in medical expenses resulting from a severe beating, these medical expenses represented approximately seven months of income. (62) Fellow laundryman Tan Liansheng incurred the most medical expenses--$550--the result of being beaten by four men with guns. Charley Hey, a grocer who not only lost cash ($230) and valuables (gold watch $75, gold chain $15, pistol $15) but also suffered serious business losses (estimated at $1,800), for a total of $2,135, suffered the largest known losses. Cheong Long Restaurant owners Yee Kwai (also known as Joe Quin) and Loni Kim (also known as Young Louie) reported a combined loss of $2,580, which included destruction of furniture and utensils ($700), business loss ($1,500), rent liability ($100 per month), goods destroyed ($260), and cash stolen ($20). Three partners in a restaurant business in Gold Mountain, some 6 miles from Tonopah, also suffered losses totaling $800. These reports indicate that the mob violence and loss of property were more serious than what was reported in the local newspapers.

Yee Tom Shee, a married woman, never had her story reported in the newspapers. (63) She claimed a loss of $399 worth of items, mostly jewelry, including a diamond ring, gold watch, gold earrings, and gold bracelets. One wonders if the public would have been more outraged if they had known that the rioters had accosted a woman.

The twenty affidavits formed the basis of the Chinese minister's indemnity payment demand on June 25, 1904. The Chinese minister pointed out that the assailants had taken $3,377.45, besides losses and destruction of property64 In the end he asked for $40,000 as redress for the relatives of Zhang Bingliang and for the destruction of Chinese property. (65) In his note to Secretary of State John Hay, the Chinese minister wrote:

In view of the fact that there is no dispute as to the substantial facts of the complaint of these Chinese subjects,... and that the authorities did nothing to protect them from these outrages; and further that no punishment has been inflicted on the guilty parties, it is respectfully submitted that these events call for the action of the Government of the United States to make good the stipulations and guarantees of existing treaties, and to render due reparation for the losses and injuries sustained by the subjects of His Imperial Majesty I need not remind you that for similar events in China my Government is held to a strict accountability (66)

This was the same tactic of a demand for indemnity payment used whenever a foreigner was killed in China in the late nineteenth century; now used in the reverse situation. However, U.S. Attorney Sardis Summerfield investigated the matter, and in September 1904 reported that the damages had not exceeded $10,000 and that the local people had done everything in their power to prevent the riot. (67) The indemnity was denied on the basis that Euro-American witnesses had not verified the losses. (68) In what should have been an obvious situation, the Chinese still lost their case before the court and the State Department.

Several years later, the Bonanza blamed the riot on the competition in the restaurant and boardinghouse business rather than in the laundry business, despite the fact that there had been economic rivalry in both types of enterprise. In Billy Ford's obituary, published in the Bonanza on April 14, 1922, the reporter pointed out that:

[The Barnum Restaurant] fed almost the entire populace and about the time of the expiration of the leases on the Mizpah a movement was started by a number of wobblies, who had been working for the leasers, and who had been boarding with Ford & Chung, and who were indebted for several months' service, to drive all the Chinese out of this camp. Their object was to avoid payment of just claims held against them by Ford & Chung, and many left defrauding the firm lof Ford & Chungi of large sums of money.

The success of the rioters in their "Not Guilty" verdict inspired others to try the same course of action. On December 18, 1904, another group of Euro-Americans ordered the Chinese and Japanese residents of Goldfield, Nevada, to leave and prohibited the Asian workers on the Carson and Colorado railroad from entering town, justifying their actions by saying that "miners the world over refuse to place themselves in competition with cheap unskilled labor and for this just reason it is thought the order to move on was given." (69) Again the Chinese consul general in San Francisco and the Chinese minister appealed to the secretary of state to call this to the attention of the authorities in Nevada, but the result was the continuation of a strong anti-Asian sentiment in Goldfield. (70) Years later, when Billy Ford went to Goldfield with his children Jim and Bessie, their lasting memory was of the anti-Chinese atmosphere that prevailed there. (71) For Bessie, it was a comfort to return home to the friendly environme nt of Tonopah.

Although the violence in Tonopah was one of many examples of injustice from the Chinese perspective, the Tonopah community was more cordial to some of the Chinese in town after the riot. Tonopah's population grew rapidly with the advent of the railroad, and an estimated 10,000 people lived there in 1905-07. A series of fires and the Panic of 1907, when two of the three Tonopah banks closed, marked the beginning of the town's decline, and byl9lO the population had dwindled to 3,900. The 1910 census manuscript showed a total of 53 Chinese living in Tonopah: 44 Chinese adult males (27 of whom were married, in addition to 2 widowers), including 3 sons of Billy Ford (Tim, James, and George Washington); and 11 females, including 2 married adult females, 3 daughters of Billy Ford (Bessie, Rose, and Lillian), and 1 half-Chinese, half-Shoshone female teenager. (72) However, even in 1913, there were two Chinese merchandising firms, Foo Yuen and Co. and Fook Lee and Co., still thriving in Tonopah. (73) Many of the Chine se involved in the hearing and trial stayed in Tonopah for several years, and a few, like Billy Ford and Charlie Chung, remained there until their deaths and were buried there. In contrast, the 1910 census manuscript does not list any of the arrested rioters, who probably left town shortly after the trial or because of the 1907 Panic.

The riot actually had some benefits for some. Billy Ford, for example, gained community recognition. The births of his next four children were announced in the local press. His children grew up in a relatively tolerant atmosphere and had many, often lifelong, friends. They made friends with the other children in school. "My sisters chummed with the Ford girls," wrote Norman Douglass Money, "while I played marbles, spun tops and broke burros with the boys. Tim [Ford] ... and I were pupils together in Professor Carol's violin class...I did well enough to play third violin,... the professor play[ed] first and Tim ... play[ed] an excellent second." (74) Another classmate of the Fords recalled, "We were all children of immigrants from different countries so we were all alike." (75) Mrs. Billy Ford was told that if anyone ever gave her any problems, she should see the sheriff immediately, and a close relationship developed between the Ford family and the sheriff's family. When Billy died, the headline of his April 14, 1922 obituary, published in the Bonanza, read: "[A] Real Pioneer [of] Southern Nevada, [Who] Was Honored and Respected Among Associates, RAISED A SPLENDID FAMILY, Was Universally Liked and [Whose] Demise is Regretted by the Pioneers of the State." This was an impressive tribute to a member of a minority group that had been targeted for removal from the town.

The 1903 anti-Chinese riot in Tonopah did not give the injured Chinese residents any legal remedies, but it did highlight the discriminatory court procedures and reckless actions of the Labor and Miners' Unions. The Chinese found some help from their official representatives, but banded together in mutual support just as they had elsewhere in the American West. As in all legal cases of the period, the expenses for litigation were beyond their combined means. Some of the Euro-American leaders of Tonopah went out of their way to create a friendlier atmosphere for their Chinese residents, and Billy Ford's experience was probably typical of how something good can come from something bad.


(1.) We thank the many people in Tonopah, Nevada, who contributed information about the situation in their town.

(2.) Chinese names in italics are rendered in the pinyin system of romanization. Chinese names and words that are not italicized are either in Cantonese or in the American immigration official "system."

(3.) People v. Hall, 4 Cal. 399, 405 (1854). See J.A.C. Grant, "Historical Note: Testimonial Exclusion Because of Race: A Chapter in the History of Intolerance in California," in Charles McClain, ed., Chinese Immigrants and American Law (New York: Garland Publishing, 1994), 82-91.

(4.) Nevada, Statutes of the State of Nevada (1864-65), Chap. CXXXVI, Act Amending the Act Concerning Crimes and Punishment, approved November 26,1861, 403-4.

(5.) U. S. Department of State, Treaties and Other International Agreements, 1777-1949 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1950), 6: 647.

(6.) Nevada, Statutes of the State of Nevada, 1881, Chapter LV, 83-84.

(7.) John R. Wunder, "Chinese in Trouble: Criminal Law and Race on the Trans-Mississippi West Frontier," in McClain, ed., Chinese Immigrants and American Law, 471.

(8.) For further information, see a study by Elmer Rusco in Susie Lan Cassel, ed., Chinese in America: From Gold Mountain to the New Millennium (Walnut Grove, Calif.: Altamira Press, 2002), and Rusco's book on the Chinese and Nevada law, forthcoming from the University of Nevada Press.

(9.) Charles J. McClain, In Search of Equality: The Chinese Struggle Against Discrimination in Nineteenth-Century America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994). See also Lucy E. Salyer, Laws Harsh as Tigers: Chinese Immigrants and the Shaping of Modern Immigration Law (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995), and John R. Wunder, "The Chinese and the Courts in the Pacific Northwest: Justice Denied?" in McClain, ed., Chinese Immigrants and American Law, 447-67.

(10.) The CCBA attempted to protest the 1908 attack on Reno's Chinatown when it was burned on the pretext of health issues, but again there were no concrete results or indemnity payments.

(11.) This was the coroner's assessment; the newspapers gave Zhang Bingliang's age as seventy

(12.) For a discussion of these beliefs and ideology, see the overview in Kay J. Anderson, Vancouver's Chinatown: Racial Discourse in Canada, 1875-1980 (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1991).

(13.) For information about Tonopah, see Robert D. McCracken, A History of Tonopah, Nevada (Tonopah: Nye County Press, 1990); Robert D. McCracken, Tonopah: The Greatest, the Richest, and the Best Mining Camp in the World (Tonopah: Nye County Press, 1990); Philip I. Earl, "Tonopah's Race War," Central Nevada's Glorious Past 10, no. 1 (May 1987): 1-5; Stanley W. Paher, Tonopah: Silver Camp of Nevada (Las Vegas: Nevada Publications, 1978); Guy Lewis Rocha, "Tonopah, 1900-1940, An Historical Overview," Nye County Historical Project (Tonopah: Janus Associates, n.d.); Russell Elliot, Nevada's Twentieth-Century Mining Boom: Tonopah, Goldfield, Ely (Reno: University of Nevada Press, [c. 1966] 1988); Jay Arnold Carpenter, Russell Elliott, and Shawn Hall, A Guide to the Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of Nye County, Nevada (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1981); and Byrd Fanita Sawyer, The History of Fifty Years of Mining at Tonopah, 1900-1950 (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1953).

(14.) Richard E. Lingenfelter and Karen K. Gash, The Newspapers of Nevada: A History and Bibliography, 1854-1979 (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1984), 241-44. See also Jake Highton, Nevada Newspaper Days: A History of Journalism in the Silver State (Stockton: Heritage West Books, 1990), 196-97. Other works are John R. McCloskey, "Seventy Years of Griping: Newspapers, Politics, Government," oral interview by Mary Ellen Glass between November 1975 and July 1977; Barbara Lee Cloud, The Business of Newspapers on the Western Frontier (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1992).

(15.) There have been several works written on the subject of boom town newspapers; see, for example, David F. Halans, Boom Town Newspapers: Journalism on the Rocky Mountain Mining Frontier, 1859-1881 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1981).

(16.) Lingenfelter and Gash, Newspapers of Nevada, 241-42.

(17.) For more on the Mizpah, see Florence B. Robinson, "Tonopah, Nevada, Mizpah, 1907, 'An elegant retreat into Nevada's past,"' a pamphlet published by the Public Relations Department, Union Plaza Hotel, Las Vegas, n.d.

(18.) U.S. census manuscript, 1910, Nevada, Nye County, Tonopah.

(19.) Mrs. John E. Nay, "Experiences of One of the First Ladies of Tonopah," typewritten manuscript, Central Nevada Museum. For more about her, see Nanelia S. Doughty, "Lottie Nay--Tonopah Naught One: Bitter Winter Storm Lasted Two Weeks," Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Nevadan" (June 2, 1974), 3-5, and Robert D. McCracken, Tonopah, 14-15.

(20.) Vardis Fisher and Opal Laurel Holmes, Gold Rushes and Mining Camps of the Early American West (Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1968), 137.

(21.) We are indebted to Shirlaine Kee Baldwin for information about her grandfather Chung Kee and his family.

(22.) Nye County Deeds, Book O, and, for example, the advertisement in the Bonanza, October 26, 1901.

(23.) Nevada Constitution, Section 1; reaffirmed in 16 Nev 50-58 (1881) State v. Ah Chew.

(24.) Nye County Deeds, Book P.

(25.) Nye County Deeds, Book 3C:36. For more information about Ah Cum Kee, as well as Mrs. Billy Ford, see Sue Fawn Chung, "Ah Cum Kee and Loy Lee Ford: Between Two Worlds," in Kriste Lindenmeyer, ed., Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives: Women in American History (Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 2000), 179-96.

(26.) Depositions of claims 1-20, Nye County December 26, 1903, in United States Department of State, "Notes from the Chinese Legation in the United States to the Department of State, 1868-1906," M98, RG 59, No. 98, Roll 6, National Archives and Records Administration (hereafter NARA), Washington, D.C., 1946, letter dated June 25, 1904, No. 37.

(27.) Sucheng Chan, "Exclusion of Chinese Women, 1870-1943," in Sucheng Chan, ed., Entry Denied: Exclusion and the Chinese Community in America, 1882-1943 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991), 94-196.

(28.) United States census manuscript, 1910 Nevada, Nye County, Tonopah.

(29.) For more on Chinese laundrymen, see Paul Siu, The Chinese Laundryman: A Study in Social Isolation (New York: New York University Press, 1987).

(30.) Jack Douglass, Tap Dancing on Ice: The Life and Times of a Nevada Gaming Pioneer (Reno: University of Nevada Oral History Program, 1996), 10, and several other writers mention this local law, but no official written record remains.

(31.) The accounts of the riot and subsequent trial were published in the Miner and Bonanza between September 18, 1903 and December 1903. For a summary of the details of the riot and letters referencing it in the Jim Butler Collection, see Earl, 'Tonopah's Race War," and McCracken, A History, 138-39.

(32.) Bonanza and Miner, September 19, 1903.

(33.) Reprinted in the Bonanza, September 26, 1903.

(34.) Miner, September 19, 1903.

(35.) Bonanza, September 26, 1903.

(36.) Reprinted in the Bonanza, September 26, 1903.

(37.) Alveya A. Adee, Acting Secretary, to Sir Chentung Liang Cheng, September 18, 1903, in United States Department of State, "Notes to Foreign Legations in the United States from the Department of State, 1834-1906: China January 11, 1899-August 3, 1906, M99, RG 59, No. 99, Roll 14, NARA, Washington, D.C., 1947, 241.

(38.) Sparks was in Texas for two months.

(39.) Acting Governor Lemuel Allen to Secretary of State John Hay, Nevada State Archives, Carson City, manuscript file.

(40.) Bonanza, September 19, 1903, 3.

(41.) The 1910 census manuscript for Nevada, Nye County, Tonopah, gives Ford's occupation as a mining cook, but, in fact, he was a well-known Chinese labor boss. See Lorena Edwards Meadows, A Sagebrush Heritage: The Story of Ben Edwards and his Family (San Jose, Calif.: Harlan Young Press, 1972), 135-36.

(42.) Miner, September 19, 1903, 1.

(43.) Norman Douglass Money, "Poker Bill and Mary Ann and Other Mining Tales: Recollections of Norman Douglass Money," edited by Ramona Ruiz O'Neil, mss., University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Lied Library Special Collections," 45.

(44.) Interview with George Washington Ford in Los Angeles, California, late 1950s.

(45.) Norman Douglass Money, "Poker Bill," 23.

(46.) Bonanza, April 14, 1922.

(47.) Jack Douglass, Tap Dancing on Ice, 10.

(48.) Meadows, A Sagebrush Heritage, 111-12.

(49.) Walker Lake Bulletin, April 5, 1899, on marriage.

(50.) Nye County Recorder's Office, Deeds Book 20, recorded January 12, 1909.

(51.) Bonanza, April 14,1922.

(52.) In the Bonanza (September 19, 1903), Zhang Bingliang's age is given as seventy See also Carson City News, September 21, 1903.

(53.) Nye County Deeds, Book P.

(54.) Nye County Deeds, Books P and Q.

(55.) The movement against aliens owning property led to the Alien Land Law of 1913 in California.

(56.) Bonanza, October 10, 1903. Nevadans felt that swearing an oath on the Bible would have no meaning to non-Christians, but the practice of breaking a rooster's comb was very outdated, This procedure was not mentioned in the Miner.

(57.) The Miner, October 10, 1903, detailed the injuries and amounts of money lost.

(58.) Key Pittman was involved in another trial at the time.

(59.) Miner and Bonanza, December 12, 1903.

(60.) United States Department of State, "Notes from the Chinese Legation in the United States to the Department of State, 1868-1906," M98, RG 59, No. 98, Roll 6, NARA, Washington, D.C., 1946, No. 37, Chinese Minister Chentung Liang Cheng to Secretary of State John Hay, dated June 25, 1904 (hereafter cited as Chinese Minister to Secretary of State Hay, June 25, 1904).

(61.) The names on the affidavits and in the newspapers are similar in some cases and dissimilar in others. In addition, some who filed affidavits may have testified using other names. Names on the affidavits also differ from a few of the names in the Chung Sai Yat Po because some of those who filed them may have been "paper sons." A Chinese person has several names, and this, too, has led to some confusion. Moreover, the names were probably spelled differently in the 1910 census manuscript because there was no standardized romanization system. For example, Yee Chung may be the same as the Yee Chong Company listed in the Chinese business partnerships, NARA, San Bruno, California, Cabinet 40, Drawer 9, File 13562/260, and Doc Chung was probably also called Doc Won On Hi.

(62.) Xie Liansheng's affidavit stated that he earned $120 in two months.

(63.) "Shee" was not part of her name but an indication that she was married.

(64.) Chinese Minister to Secretary of State John Hay, June 25, 1904, attached note to Diplomatic Bureau dated June 30, 1904, and United States Department of State, "Notes to Foreign Legations in the United States from the Department of State, 1834-1906," M99, RG 59, No. 99, Roll 14, NARA, Washington, D.C., 1947, letter from John Hay to Sir Chentung Liang Cheng, dated July 2, 1904. For information on the Chinese ministers, see Kim Man Chan, "Mandarins in America: The Early Chinese Ministers to the United States, 1878-1907" (Ph.D. diss., University of Hawai'i 1981).

(65.) Bonanza, September 24, 1904, and Reno Evening Gazette. September 19, 1904; Chinese Minister to Secretary of State Hay, June 24, 1904.

(66.) Chinese Minister to Secretary of State John Hay, June 25, 1904.

(67.) Nevada State Journal, September 18, 1904, and Reno Evening Gazzette, September 19, 1904.

(68.) Chinese Minister to Secretary of State John Hay, June 25, 1904, attached note to Diplomatic Bureau dated June 30, 1904, and United States Department of State, "Notes to Foreign Legations in the United States from the Department of State, 1834-1906," M99, RG 59, No. 99, Roll 14, NARA, Washington, D.C., 1947, letter from John Hay to Chinese Minister Sir Chentung Liang Cheng, datedJuly 2,1904.

(69.) Nevada State Journal, December 17, 1904.

(70.) Chinese Minister to Secretary of State, dated December 26, 1904, No. 49.

(71.) Letter from Cynthia Chow Squire to Sue Fawn Chung, July 12, 1996. "Mom [Bessie Ford Chow] talked about how as a child her only trip to Goldfield was with my grandfather. . . . She said she spent the day hiding under the bed in the hotel because they [she and her brother] were so afraid. . . There was a lot more prejudice in Goldfield."

(72.) Census manuscript, 1910 Nevada, Nye County Tonopah. Special thanks to Bertha Coffee Way's granddaughter for identifying her as half Shoshone.

(73.) International Chinese Business Directory of the World for the Year 1913 (San Francisco: International Chinese Business Directory Co., Inc., 1913), 1,517.

(74.) Norman Douglass Money, "Poker Bill," 44.

(75.) Oral interview in Tonopah with Edward Slavin and other longtime residents, July 1997.

Sue Fawn Chung is an associate professor of History at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has published numerous articles on Chinese American history and served as a consultant on public broadcasting programs. Recently she has been with the United States Forest Service "Passport in Time" projects, combining archaeology and history on Chinese American sites in Island Mountain, Nevada (1998-2001), and Spooner Summit in the Lake Tahoe Basin (2002). She is an advisor and member of the Diversity Council of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, member of the Board of Museums and History for the State of Nevada, and vice-president of the Harvard Alumni Club of Nevada.

Elmer R. Rusco received his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, in Political Science in 1960. He is professor emeritus at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he specialized in minority civil rights issues, particularly racism and discrimination. His book, Good Time Coming, focuses on the African Americans in Nevada, and a recently published article concerns policies regarding Native Americans. He is working on a book on the political and legal history of the Chinese in Nevada.
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Author:Chung, Sue Fawn; Rusco, Elmer
Publication:Chinese America: History and Perspectives
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Date:Jan 1, 2003
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