Last evening I attended a wonderful program organized by the St. Helena Historical Society, "From Canton to St. Helena -Chinese Immigration in the Nineteeth Century . My wife Liz and my Auntie Soo-Yin and her husband Ed were also in attendance. In a previous post I have discussed Jue Joe's early years working in the vineyards around St. Helena . Last night's program included famed Chinese American historian Philip P. Choy giving a great overview of Chinese immigration from Canton to California in the 19th century and earlier. This was followed by a fantastic presentation by St. Helena historian Mariam Hansen who has spent many hours pouring over old microfilm records of the St. Helena Star Newspaper archived by the historical society. Mariam has complied the following timeline of the Chinese in St. Helena which is fascinating . I have included it below. I was happy to be able to share some stories about Jue Joe with the attendees as well .
Here is Mariam's timeline of Chinese in St. Helena : 1857-61 Chinese begin working for grape growers in Napa & Sonoma 1860 45,000 Chinese in Calif-20,000 miners, 20k railroad, 5k misc 1862 Anti-chinese "Coolie" Clubs exist as political groups 1867 most wheat labor done by Chinese and Indians 1869 Railroad jobs end-10K C.unemployed, move to agric areas 1870 Chinese are 10% of farm laborers 1871 Chinese harvesting grapes in Napa Valley 1872 Jan Overland Monthly writes "grapes in the northern portion of the state are picked by Chinamen, who will pick an average of 1500 pounds per day" 1874 24-Jan Anti-chinese anarchists set fire to Occidental Winery hay barn 1874 12-Nov Locals are outraged that Chinese have requested to use public schools in the evening for classes, when they don't pay taxes. 1874 10-Dec "tallow colored rat eaters of the celestial empire buy guns, shoot their way to the Flowery kingdom" 1875 19-Aug Wah Chung, the labor contractor, says he has 300 Chinese waiting to pick grapes 1875 26-Aug There are so many Chinese in Chinatown waiting to pick grapes and hops, all 3 wells have gone dry 1875 At harvest time 300 Chinese arrived in SH, contracted to pick grapes 1876 22-Apr Quong Goon Loong advertises "China Labor Furnished", and China goods for sale 1876 1-Sep SF Chronicle condemns use of Chinese for grape harvest, when 3000 unemployed boys 16-20 yrs old are willing to work for $15-20 a month. 1876 1-Sep Charles Storey began picking hops with 60 Chinamen employed 1876 15-Sep H.A. Pellet (first mayor of SH) owns Manzanita Winery. His Chinamen got his finger caught in a grape crusher 1876 20-Sep Editorial espouses hiring local boys for vineyard work, not Chinamen. 1877 25-May Slumlord Gillam received a threatening letter, saying his premises will be torched because he employs Chinese (he doesn't) 1877 8-Jun Chinaman killed at Rudolf Lemme's La Perla Winery when a hillside collapsed on him as he was excavating for a wine cellar. 1877 27-Jul "San Sing, at Ginger's China Store, furnishes help for cooking, railroad work, chopping wood, etc. at Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, Calistoga. Good men at cheap prices!" 1877 29-Jul Chinaman working for John Lewelling burned a pile of brush, which got out of control due to dry conditions. Heavy fire damage. 1878 8-Feb Chinese residents invite the public to a "Grand Display of Fire Crackers" on Sunday at 4pm" 1878 7-Jun "Workingmen's Picnic" held in Napa with Denis Kearney, supremacist organizer as speaker. A load of St. Helenans rode south in a large bus decorated with a sign "Chinese Must Go". 1878 30-Sep "Ginger" the Chin merchant went bankrupt, debts of $1000 1878 majority of farm labor in Napa Valley still white 1879 22-Mar Mock You, married 28 yrs old woman died at Rutherfordof natural causes- no obituary 1879 9-May Editorial writes of Harpers Weekly "the paper did its best to break down the wine interest of California..with your fancy sketch of Chinamen treading out the wine with their feet" 1879 new Calif constritution discriminates against Chinese 1880 30-Jan Chinese laborers are plenty. Don’t patronize local merchants. Send money to china. Complaints about them always finding work. 1880 10-Sep 100 Chinamen working on the railroad between Napa and St. Helena. When poll taxes were due,they refused to pay. Railroad workers pass poll tax receipts from one to another, so that 100 receipts will do for 2000 Chinamen. 1881 28-Jan "John Weinberger made wine from wild grapes, but his Chinese drank it all (Chinese must go)" 1881 27-Jun Citizens "will be glad to know that..effort is being made to remove the filthy den of disease breeding Chinamen from the main street to a more retired situation..the entrance to town is marred by stench, noisy confusion, fighting, etc. 1881 list of Cal Italian vine growers: 141 1882 13-Jan Eddie Butler murdered at Occidental Winery by two Chinese who demanded payment of their wages. Butler refused to pay until the wine was sold. 1882 10-Mar Large anti-chinese meeting held at the Palace Hotel. Resolutions supported bills in Congress restricting Chinese immigration of persons who are "a curse and a blight upon the industries and morals of this country" 1882 2-Jun Newspaper warns against a white mechanic teaching his Chinese assistant,enabling him to undercut the price of white man's work. 1882 15-Sep Chinese worker on Ink's farm brutally assaulted. Editor urges prompt prosecution of the evil perpetrators, who are not named. 1882 20-Oct Chinese labor camp at the Washington Mine in Pope Valley burned down. Chin miners lived separately from whites. 1882 Oct Witness for prosecution Ah Chuck in Butler case was murdered in San Francisco 1882 24-Nov Ad for Quong On Lee's Chinese Intelligence Office-Men for picking, clearing, ditching, chopping,etc. Look for house in back of stores in Chinatown 1883 17-Jul Edwin Angwin rented land on Howell Mtn to Chinese farmers, who raised over $300 worth of strawberries on half acre. 1883 3-Aug Town marshal and a large posse of citizens arrest 13 gamblers,while about 50 escape. Prisoners are marched up Main Street, escorted by 100 or so whites, and put in jail. 1883 10-Aug "Celestial lawbreakers" have all pleaded guilty to gambling: casino owner fined $30, each gambler $15. Four were unable to pay and remain in jail. 1883 26-Oct Local boys assaulted an old Chinaman on Main Street in SH. Four boys arrested, given stern warning by judge and released. Editor warns these incidents will tarnish town's good name. 1883 2-Nov "Lively rumpus in Chinatown resulted in Ah Chung hitting Ah Kate over the head with a revolver. Ah Chung was arrested by Officer mcGee and brought before Judge Elgin, Fined $25. Being unable to pay, he went to jail in Napa." 1883 26-Nov Police raided a gambling parlor in Chinatown 1883 Napa County collected poll tax from 400 Chinese 1884 3-Jan "A gang of 15-20 men mounted on horse back and mules rode through town looking like a bunch of lawless Indians. They rushed into Chinatown, frightening a team of horses hitched to a Chinese vegetable peddler's wagon, causing a runaway and smashup" 1884 13-Mar Chinese Free Masons met in Justice Hunt's court to initiate 13 members, there being no hall in Chinatown large enough. 40 prominent Chinese from other parts in their brightly colored costumes conducted the ceremony, followed by a feast and fireworks. 1884 14-Jan Charles Krug has a gang of Chinamen on Howell Mtn clearing forest fo plant grape vines 1884 31-Jan Residents complain of their chickens being stolen by Chinese who are preparing the Chinese New Years feast. 1884 3-Mar 3,000 Chinese cigar factory workers were fired in San Francisco 1884 7-Apr Chinese man of high standing died of consumption, given a stately funeral procession with band, hearse, 50-75 men on foot, wagon with food for afterlife, 4 leading merchants of Chinatown. 1884 14-Apr Editorial complaining Chinese increasing wage demands from $1 to 1.50 per day. Alleged that Chinese contractors skim off a large share from the laborers. 1884 14-Aug Huge fire in Chinatown started in upper story of Quon Loong High China Store. Hook & Ladder boys arrived, followed by the hose company. 3 stores, lodging houses and contents destroyed. $5000 total lost. 1884 18-Aug Slumlord John Gillam is rebuilding new store on site of fire. The other stores will be rebuilt at once, as tenants are waiting. 1884 8-Sep Ah Choo died. Service held at temple in Chinatown, 100 men marched to the cemetery in fine costume, Musicians played at the grave in rites of their secret society. 1884 15-Dec movement afoot to evict all Chinese from their tenements and wash houses 1884 Fire in Chinatown 1884 Napa County collected poll tax from 500 Chinese 1885 16-Feb Chinatown "den of infamy" constructed in Chinatown, 2 story 10X12 foot building a disgrace to the town. 1885 19-Feb Chinese New Year began Saturday, when our "celestials" are good natured, giving candy, nuts and cigars to white friends. 1885 23-Apr Old Chinese man was run over by the train while walking on the tracks. No name given. 1885 4-Sep Editorial encouraging hiring white men tramping the roads looking for work, saying they work harder than Chinese and spend their money in white owned stores. 1885 4-Dec Sh protest against Chinamen held and Anti-Chinese League formed by 300-400 taxpayers, prominent citizens who want to rid the town by any lawful means. Editor cautions that grapes could not be harvested without them. 1885 11-Dec Anti-Coolie League of SH has 300 members. Rumor that Mongolians are preparing to leave town. League meets at city hall. VP-H.C. Rammers, Sec-A.B. Swartout, Sgtat arms-A.B. Williams. 1885 11-Dec Chinaman arrested for riding his horse on the sidewalk due to a passing funeral. Employer Parrott hired a lawyer to defend him. Charges dropped. 1885 18-Dec Editorial urges boycott of Chinese vegetable peddlers, servants and laundrymen. The Anti-Chinese League held a regualr meeting at city hall. Dr Davis evicted his Chinese tenants. 1885 Napa County collected poll tax from 687 Chinese 1886 2-Feb 300 Anti-Coolie marchers descend on Chinatown and demand residents leave in 10 days, residents lock up and leave, bosses requested to listen to group's demands. Vintners urge restraint, as other sources of farm labor not available. 1886 12-Feb Slumlord John Gillam writes to editor defending his ownership of Chinatown, saying the rents support his family. "No Chinatown in state is so well located but out of the way as SH" 1886 12-Feb Vineyardists call meeting to discuss labor question. Speakers say violence against Chinese is wrong, threats against employers is un-American, demanding they leave Chinatown is unlawful, labor and employers should coopeate on a solution, and all should find another site for Chinatown. 1886 19-Feb "Chinatown sold-Moon-eyed Denizens must find other quarters"-Anti-Coolie league reps buy property, narrowly beating out the Chinese Six Companies who were willing to pay more. Buyers are Simmons, Logan, Sciaroni and Davis 1886 9-Apr Anti-Chinese meeting held at Turner Hall, 400-500 locals attend, urge opening a white employment agency, urge boycott of those who employ Chinese. 1886 9-Apr New owners of Chinatown complain Chinese refuse eviction by showing their leases and hiring a lawyer. Deny accusations they bought to collect the high rents from the Chinese, but were fulfilling wishes of the town. 1886 9-Jul A new road from Rutherford to Lake County is being graded by 125 Chinamen, presently working in Sage Canyon. 1886 wheat gone, first trainload of fruit shipped east 1886 17-Sep Height of harvest, roads lined with grape wagons. Difficult to get enough white men and Chinese to work. "Chinese are insolent and are asking $1.25/day. They must be treated with respect, or they quit." 1886 Chinese are 88% of farm laborers 1886 24-Dec Logan & Sciaroni, owners of Chinatown, defend their actions and attempt to move Chinese residents to another piece of property, tenants owe 6 mos rent, hired a lawyer, case in US District Court. 1887 7-Jan Marshal Spurr & deputies raid Chinatown lottery game,capture 3 celestials with lottery box & tickets, Chinese deny charges. 1887 7-Jan Ah Joey is in the county jail for stealing and tried to hang himself with his queue. Henry Lange opend the Napa Valley Laundry. Ad proclaims "No Chinese Employed" 1887 14-Jan Chinese arrested last week plead guilty , pay fines, released 1887 1-Jul Fire at Dr. Dawsons started when a boy threw a firecracker on the roof. His Chinese servant put it out 1887 2-Sep Chinese hop pickers demand $1.25/day and strike. Editor urges white boys and girls to apply for work. 1887 23-Sep great scarcity of vineyard labor. Whites pd $2/day, Chin $1.25, some demand $1.50 1887 30-Sep Chinese grape pickers strike in Rutherford-want $1.50/day 1888 1-Jun Chinatown landlords still in court in procedural issue. W.T. Simmons may drop the case, collect rents until leases expire. 1888 29-Jul Yung Hong Sing died at Josephine Tychson's of burns 1888 Northern Italians from Genoa, Lombardy, Turin begin arriving to work 1889 8-Mar Editor of newspaper says Ch gambling unchecked in Ch-town 1889 9-Aug 1890 24-Jan Deputy Constable Frank Sciaroni (part owner of Chinatown) requests residents not to light firecrackers at night, waking people up. Can light all they want in the daytime. At 2am they do it anyway. Town govment passes new law. 1891 1-Oct remains of 3 Chinese removed from SH Cem to China 1893 23-Jul Tong Sing died at Josephine Tychson's of burns-body sent to China 1893 17-Aug White laborers union formed, fight C. workers in prune orchards 1894 11-Jan Lee Han died at Niebaum Winery when a tree fell on him 1896 7-Jan Won You died in Rutherford of rheumatism at 70 1897 12-Mar Sam Kee was denied a permit to open a laundry on Pope Street near the railroad tracks. New city ordinance. Aetna Mine report describes Chinese laborers drilling holes for dynamite. 1897 45,625 Italians in Calif operate 2,726 farms 1899 17-Dec Qung Sing Lung General Store & Laundry sold to Wah Chung, who will not honor debts of seller. Ginger departs for China. 1913 2-Jun remains of 20 Chinese removed from SH Cem to China 1920 50% of farm labor is Mexican 1921 Portugese operate 8000 farms in Cal 1939 21-Jan Ah Joe last on list of Chinese burials, died at 89 in SH of heart ailment