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Rock Springs Massacre: Topics in Chronicling America

In 1885, anti-Chinese prejudice led to a clash between White miners and Chinese immigrants. This guide provides access to materials related to the “Rock Creek Massacre” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.

Introduction

"A deadly conflict between White Miners and the Chinese at Rock Springs, Wyoming Territory." September 9, 1885. The Indiana Sentinel (Indianapolis, IN), Image 1. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Anti-Chinese prejudice was rampant throughout the United States in the nineteenth century, but on September 2, 1885, this prejudice morphed into violence that would leave an estimated 28 Chinese miners dead. The Rock Springs Massacre, as it is now called, was one of the most significant acts of violence against Chinese immigrants in United States history. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.

September 2, 1885 In the morning, a fight occurs between a few Chinese miners and white miners at Rock Springs. Later in the day, White miners attack the Chinese miners, set fire to homes, and kill approximately 28 people.
September 3, 1885 All 500 Chinese miners are reported to have been driven out of Rock Springs.
September 7, 1885 22 white miners are arrested in relation to the massacre.
October 1885 No indictments found against white miners.
April 1887 Chinese government receives a check for $147,000 from the US government to compensate for damages from the massacre.