Butte County California Chinese Immigrants




Landing at the San Francisco Customs office, Chinese immigrants would often come north from the peninsula using small watercraft crossing the bay from Benicia to Martinez (Chan 1986:96). In groups or alone they would proceed up the river to Sacramento City. From there they would walk or sail to Marysville, Oroville and many places to the north and east of these early commercial centers. Chan states this journey to Oroville took approximately seven days to complete and cost around sixteen dollars. Mansfield (1918:68,69) indicated that groups of Chinese miners first worked on bars in the Feather River near a “tent” town names Ophir (name changed to Oroville in 1854), the “Lava Beds” (west and a little south of Ophir-nearer the Feather River), and at “Bagdad” (probably in the Lava Beds at the riparian zone adjacent to the Feather River), and at Columbus (described as an Indian Rancheria between Hamilton-a small Feather River town- and Ophir). Before the 1882 exclusion law Chinese immigrants were continually drawn to this area following the news of the discovery of gold at many spots along the upper and lower Feather River. This was true especially at Bidwell Bar in mountains and Ophir/Oroville (near on the banks of the old river channel where it made a series of large bends, often meandering widely during flood years).