Butte County California Chinese Immigrants

THE CHINESE COMMUNITIES OF OROVILLE:

A BRIEF SKETCH


OPHIR/OROVILLE MINERS



By 1873, according to Mansfield (1918:270,271), an estimated five thousand Chinese were engaged in mining operations at Oroville in 1873. Other estimates, some being modern re-interpretations, state that as many as 10,000 Chinese lived in and around Oroville during the middle years of the 1870’s. Because the mining in California is seasonal, normally later spring, summer, early fall, this number is problematical and cannot be verified from any other source. Mansfield continues to report that by 1874 Chinese men were being transported to Oroville by special trains (although he does not mention from where) endeavoring to meet labor demands. Some speculate, from folklore mostly, that the majority of laid off railroad workers came back to California and went to Oroville looking for mining jobs/partnerships Police officials would meet the trains and “march” them to the courthouse square where their poll tax was collected and then freed to go where their contracts might specify.