Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September 17, 1903: A Chinaman

Join me in a journey to a very confusing past. I found an intriguing lynching listed in The Chicago Daily Tribune on January 1, 1904 stating that a chinaman had been lynched in Tonopah, Nevada on September 17, 1903.  I looked in various newspapers and found some interesting articles. The first article is from the Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) dated September 18, 1903:


One Chinaman Killed and Five Missing. Eighteen Men Are Now in Custody on Charges of Murder

[Special to The Journal]

TONOPAH, September 17.—This camp is all excitement over the onslaught made on Chinese residents early yesterday morning. A mob of armed men invaded the Chinese quarter and captured all the Celestials they could. The victims were marched to the edge of town, robbed of several hundred dollars and warned not to return to the place. 

It is understood that the United States government is investigating the outrage and an appeal has been made to the governor of the state for milita if needed. One of the Chinese died from the injuries received and five others are missing. 

(Another version was received late last night.)

TONOPAH, September 17.—Eighteen men are in jail charged with murder. The mob was composed of labor union men. The miners' union as an organization refused to take any hand in the matter of running the Chinese out. 

The Chinese consul telegraphs to expend all money necessary to prosecute and special counsel has been engaged. 

The inquest of the Chinaman killed will take place tomorrow. The citizens to a man denounce the outrage and money is being raised by citizens to prosecute the perpetrators of the crime. 

The jail is guarded tonight by ten deputies to see that the prisoners do not escape. There is no danger of mob violence. More arrests will take place tomorrow. 

Our journey travels to the the Sioux Valley News (Correctionville, Iowa) September 24, 1903 and finds:


The Celestial Inhabitants of Tonopah, Nev., Driven Out of Town. 


Complaint Has Been Made to Acting Secretary of State at Washington by the Chinese Consul—Action Will Be Taken. 

Washington, Sept. 19.—The Chinese minister laid before Acting Secretary of State Adee a dispatch from the Chinese consul at San Francisco detailing an attack made my union labor men on a number of Chinese at Tonopah, Nev. They drove all the Chinese away, and seven or eight were severely injured, one, an old man, being nearly killed. He also reports that five Chinese are missing and asked for protection. 

Acting Secretary Add wired the governor of Nevada asking for immediate investigation and requesting that he afford every protection in his power to the Chinese residents of Tonopah. 

Tonopah, Nev., Sept. 18—A mob of 1,200 or 1,500 men invaded Chinatown at this place and at the point of guns compelled a number of Chinamen to leave town at once. Several who did not comply were badly beaten, dragged to the outskirts of town and told to take the road to Sodaville. Later on all but one returned to town and notified the officers. A searching party found the body of this one, horribly mutilated. 

The Chinamen also were robbed of several hundred dollars before being run out of town. 

Eighteen men, mostly cooks and waiters, have been arrested and are now in jail. Among the number is F. M. Arandall, president of a labor union. 

A meeting with the citizens of Tonopah was held at which 1,000 or more persons were present, and a committee was appointed to adopt resolutions denunciatory of the action of the mob and calling for their prompt punishment. 

The next stop on our journey is in The Topeka Daily Capital (Topeka, Kansas) September 20, 1903:


American Labor Union Officers Must Stand Trial for Killing a Chinaman.

Tonopah, Nev., Sept 19.—As a result of the verdict of the coroner's jury summoned to inquire into the death of Ping Ling, the Chinaman murdered during the the attack on the Chinese quarter Wednesday morning, the 17 ,em now in the city jail have been charged with murder. They include the president and secretary of the local branch of the American Labor union. 

Nearly all of those under arrest are cooks and waiters. Two men have left camp. The examination of the accused men takes place Monday. The funeral of the murdered Chinaman occurred today. Everything is now quiet. The citizens are raising a fund to prosecute the mob. 

Our next article is from the Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) dated October 14, 1903:

Held for Trial 

Jackson, Lang, Bradshaw, and Sinks have been held to appear before the grand jury of Nye county for complicity in the riot and murder of a Chinaman at Tonopah. A session of the district commenced at Belmont yesterday.

The next article is also from the Nevada State Journal and is dated October 28, 1903:

Tonopah Justice

After a hearing before Justice Lindsay, Edward Schillinberger was dismissed on the charge of complicity in the murder of Chong Bing Lung. The prevailing opinion is that Schillinberger was one of the chief instigators and participants in the recent riot which culminated in the death of the aged Chinaman, and despite his own confession, which was brought out in the testimony, Justice Lindsay held that the evidence was not sufficient.—Tonopah Bonanza. 

 Our final stop on the journey is also from the Nevada State Journal and occurs a few months later on September 18, 1904:

The United States government is now called upon to pay China a cool $40,000 in the way of indemnity for the death of a Chinaman and the destruction of Chinese property by a mob of American citizens at Tonopah several months ago. 

The matter of the demand has been kept a profound secret until yesterday afternoon. Only the officers through which an investigation of the case is being made had any knowledge of an attampt on the part of the Chinese government to compel this government to pay the magnificent sum into its coffers. 

It reached this place through the regular channels of the government and the red-tap attacehed thereto several days ago, but the facts were not ordained until yesterday. The journal announced yesterday morning that United States district attorney Summerfield and his stenographer had returned from a business trip to Tonopah. It did not state what the nature of the business was and the readers doubtless thought the trip had been made on ordinary legal business or on business connected with the gold fields.

But a different story leaked out early yesterday afternoon. It was currently reported on the streets that the district attorney had received notice of the demand of the Chinese government upon this country, and had gone at the insistence of the department of Washington to collect data in reference to the riot at Tonopah and determine that position of the United States government in the matter. When seen last evening, the district attorney admitted this to be a face, and that he had given the matter a thorough investigation. He took evidence at Tonopah concerning the riot and made a full report to the department.

When asked what this was he refused to make a statement. The report has been forwarded to Washington and will b held there until a decision is rendered in the matter. Just what the report is and what the government will do, is an open question.

In reference to the report it was learned, however, that it will show that only one Chinaman died from the results of the riot and that the total property belonging to the Chinese will not exceed the sum of $10,000 in value. The report also shows that the people did all in their power at the time to prevent the riot and bloodshed and later exhausted all means under the law to bring the guilty to justice. It will also be shown that but two of the men who engaged in the riot are still living in the community. Of the vast number engaged at the time, all except two have left for other portions of the country, addresses unknown. The report also shows that all of the Chinamen at Tonopah at the time of the riot are still there. These facts tend to show that as soon as the outbreak was made the civil authorities of the state of Nevada took the matter in hand and did all in their power to right the wrong. The prosecuted the rioters so diligently that they left the county and the Chinamen were so carefully protected that they have remained there unmolested.

The facts of the riot are still fresh in the memory of the people. It will be remembered that a mob attempted to drive the Chinese from Tonopah and destroyed much of their property. Only one death was caused, that of one Chinaman who was found on the desert, supposed to have been killed by the rioters, or died from results of injuries thus received. Whether the Chinese government will declare war against this country should the demand for indemnity be refused, remains to be seen. 

No comments:

Post a Comment