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Massacred for Gold

The Chinese in Hells Canyon

Nokes, R. Gregory

(Book - 2009)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Massacred for Gold
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In 1887, more than thirty Chinese gold miners were massacred on the Oregon side of Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon in North America. Massacred for Gold, the first authoritative account of the unsolved crime, unearths the evidence that points to an improbable gang of rustlers and schoolboys, one only fifteen, as the killers. The crime was discovered weeks after it happened, but no charges were brought for nearly a year, when gang member Frank Vaughan, son of a well-known settler family, confessed and turned state's evidence. Six men and boys, all from northeastern Oregon's remote Wallowa county, were charged-but three fled, and the others were found innocent by a jury that a witness admitted had little interest in convicting anyone. A cover-up followed, and the crime was all but forgotten for the next one hundred years, until a county clerk in Wallowa County found hidden records in an unused safe. Massacred for Gold traces the author's long personal journey to expose details of the massacre and its aftermath and to understand how one of the worst of the many crimes committed by whites against Chinese laborers in the American West was for so long lost to history.
Publisher: Corvallis : Oregon State University Press, 2009
ISBN: 0870715704
9780870715709
Branch Call Number: 979.573 N785m 2009
Characteristics: 208 p. :,ill., map ;,23 cm

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Jun 30, 2013
  • merlinrain rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

TNokes documents not only the sparse known facts of the massacre, but also the difficulties he faced in researching this story. Vehement anti-Chinese racism at the time of the crime, and the white community's desire to protect its members from "embarrassment" (continuing until today) combine to keep this story hidden.

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