John Werner, Scarsdale, NY and Ray Norton are the winners!
Chinese miners is the answer for Week 398 of Orofino History Trivia a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.
Join in the discovery!
Monday: Events half a world away were a part.
Tuesday: Often little understood
Wednesday: Worked for less than others
Half a world away from the Oro Fino mining district, the Taiping Rebellion from 1850-1864 left between 20 and 30 million people dead and millions living in abject poverty. Because of their proximity to Canton and Hong Kong, the Chinese got news of the gold booms in the west and that proved to be a powerful magnet, according to John Bradbury's History of Clearwater County series.
In 1865, the exclusion of Chinese miners was ended in the Oro Fino mining district, though some came even before that.
When the Chinese heard about the gold and work available with the Central Pacific Railroad, the deluge began. However, unlike other immigrants the Chinese did not intend to stay. Most were men who left their families in China and came to America to be able to support them. Once here, they tended to cling to native customs, traditions and habits. They socialized in fraternal groups known as tongs and worshipped at their temples called joss houses.
The Chinese immigrants were hard workers who accepted less pay. This along with their differences in skin, clothing, food and religion made them an object of derision and easy prey. Even the governments of the new territories imposed monthly taxes for them to just be within their boundaries. For years, they and their children were denied citizenship no matter how integrated they had become or how long they had been in the US.
Bradbury says that they arrived at Oro Fino about the time that other miners were leaving, attracted by other gold booms. By 1865, the district had 120 white miners and 550 Chinese. That compared with 7,000 inhabitants in late 1861.
The Chinese were pushed to the poorest claims, robbed, beaten and degraded in almost every way, yet they managed to survive and work claims that others thought were played out. They dug miles and miles of ditches to get water to distant claims. Bradbury says, "They rewashed the tailings, getting gold original miners had missed. They dug past the pay dirt into the much more difficult bedrock."
They also started various businesses such as farming, restaurants, laundries and general stores They were also known to operate gambling dens.
The majority had the purpose of sending money back to their families and worked hard to accomplish that goal.
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