More on the Chinese in Butte County


Ah Chung, Chico

Liz Stewart of Chico Heritage Association alerted me to the website Butte County California Chinese Immigrants. This project is the work of Bill Jones, former Special Collections librarian at CSUChico, and Paul Johnson. The focus is on a collection of photographs of Chinese men in Butte County during the 1890s. It also includes photos and essays that provide an excellent overview of the Chinese experience in California and in Butte County.

These photos were taken in order to comply with the Geary Act of 1892, a follow-up to the Chinese Exclusion Acts of 1882 and 1888, which required Chinese immigrants to carry residence certificates as proof of their right to be in the country. On the back of each photo is recorded the name of the subject, his age and place of employment, the date, and the names of several white witnesses.

Bill Jones, with the assistance of Jarith Kraft, did an outstandingly thorough job of checking census records, tax assessment rolls, newspapers, and other historical resources for every possible scrap of information on both the Chinese men and the witnesses, as well as the photographers and the places that employed the men. The result is a snapshot of Chinese life in Chico and Oroville in the 1890s.

Go and take a look!

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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7 Responses to More on the Chinese in Butte County

  1. Sandy Hill says:

    Butte County California Chinese Immigrants is a great site. Do I go to Special Collections to actually be able to look at the photos or are my lack of computer skills showing here?

  2. nancyleek says:

    That’s a good question. All the images are online — click on Chico, then The Photographs, and scroll down and click on the image numbers. The actual photographs are at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

  3. Sandy Hill says:

    Still can’t bring the pictures up that way.

  4. Sandy Hill says:

    I believe F.J. Hauck listed there was married to one of the Bryant girls from the Northgraves, Bryant, Compton, Patrick Rranch. He owned a Dry Goods Store in Chico. E.E. Canfield was listed on many “boards” in Chico government in the City Directory of 1898. If it is the same E.E. Canfield he made beautiful carriages. The Patrick Ranch Museum was just given one by the Morehead family and it has his tag still on it.

  5. Linda says:

    Yes, E.E. Canfield is Eugene Elmer Canfield. He held numerous board positions in Chico and was the owner of E. E. Canfield’s Carriage Factory.


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