Archives On The Air 59: Nazis, Railroads, And Chinese Laborers—John S. Bugas Family Papers

Sep 6, 2018

First page of Andrew Bugas’ written memory of the 1885 Chinese Massacre in Rock Springs, Wyoming, undated. Box 2, John S. Bugas papers.
Credit American Heritage Center

Some of the smallest collections at the American Heritage Center tell the largest stories.

John Bugas grew up in Rock Springs and graduated from University of Wyoming in 1934. During WWII he broke up Nazi spy rings in Detroit as a Special Agent of the FBI.

His papers contain a recollection from his father, Andrew about the 1885 Chinese Massacre in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

The railroad and mining companies hired laborers from China. This ultimately enraged the white community who had been doing the work before.

On September 5, a mob of white railroad workers destroyed large parts of Rock Springs and killed nearly 30 Chinese laborers.

Andrew’s firsthand account shows us how prevailing sentiments about immigrants and corporations like the Union Pacific Railroad in 1885 led to the deadly Massacre.

Read the detailed story for yourself and learn more about the Bugas family in the John Bugas papers at UW’s American Heritage Center.