Butte County California Chinese Immigrants
The Chinese residents of Oroville and environs reportedly numbered almost 1,000 in 1860 (Chan 1986:96). (This number is probably the result an undercount based on census returns). Our study of local records give us the first indications of Chinese ownership of land (through mining claims, deeds, and assessments) suggesting that number is totally wrong. By 1860 most of the early Chinese resided in or near Oroville (at no clearly defined locations). Other evidence coming from a March 20, 1857 issue of the North Californian noted that 1,500 Chinese were mining at the Indian Rancheria between the river town Hamilton and Oroville and in Thermalito, a small settlement across the Feather River north from Oroville (Mansfield 1918:90). They were washing dirt with their rockers having to pack water by hand from the Feather River several hundred yards away.