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Seattle mob rounds up Chinese residents and immigrant workers on February 7, 1886.
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On February 7, 1886, a throng of workers round up virtually every Chinese person in Seattle and herd them to the Ocean Dock at the foot of Main Street for passage out of town on a waiting steamer. The mob and its frightened charges are met at the pier by police and a contingent of the volunteer Home Guard. A stalemate ensues when Territorial Governor Watson Squire (1836-1926) prevents the ship from leaving.
The following morning, nearly 200 Chinese embarked for San Francisco, stranding another 150 on shore to await the next boat, due in six days. When police and deputies tried to escort this group back to their homes, the mob rioted. The deputies fired into the crowd, five agitators fell, and one died of his wounds. Governor Squire and President Grover Cleveland (1837-1908) declared martial law.
Passions gradually cooled in Seattle and elsewhere as all but a few Chinese departed. Congress ultimately paid $276,619.15 to the Chinese government in compensation for the West Coast rioting -- but the actual victims never saw a dime.
Walt Crowley, National Trust Guide Seattle (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1998); Art Chin, Golden Tassels: A History of the Chinese in Washington, 1857-1977 (Seattle: n.p., 1977), 2-4. Also see The Readers Companion to American History ed. by Eric Foner and John A. Garraty (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1991).
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