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Rock Springs Massacre #351: Robert Bartlett Rhode Papers

Coal miners working in Rock Springs went on strike after a wage dispute. The year was 1884. Union Pacific, which owned the mine, retaliated and hired Chinese workers to replace the striking miners.

Hostilities mounted towards the Chinese immigrants. White miners eventually returned to the mines, but they were outnumbered by the Chinese by more than two to one.

On September 2, 1885, violence erupted. The white miners walked off the job and marched to the area of Rock Springs known as “Chinatown”. They sent a messenger in demanding that the Chinese leave Rock Springs within the hour. But only thirty minutes elapsed before the shooting began.

The Chinese fled to the hills on foot, pursued by the white miners. As many as 150 armed men began looting and burning the homes of the Chinese. It is believed that at least twenty-eight Chinese were killed.

See the Robert Bartlett Rhode papers at UW’s American Heritage Center to learn more about the Rock Springs Massacre.

For more information, visit the American Heritage Center site.