great 1906 san francisco earthquake

band10hut  asked:

Hey, do you know anything about Chinese immigration to America, especially paper sons and illegal immigration, before 1910, when Angel Island facility opened? I'm writing a story on a character who is Chinese and has to illegally emigrate from China to America by pretending to be a rich, legal man's deceased son to join his father in the late 1880s. Also, how much did the average Chinese farmer make in terms of wen and money? Thanks

Roughly speaking, you’re talking about 28 years between the Chinese Exclusion Act and the opening of Angel Island. This ask will be reblogged to @ushistoryminuswhiteguys, because it’s slightly better suited there, but I’ll answer here anyways.

That said: the larger influx of “Paper Sons” spikes after 1906. This is because in 1906, a fire sweeps San Francisco after the great Earthquake, and it’s the fire that destroys public birth records at the City Hall of Records. Because of this, Chinese men already living in the United States start to claim that they are born American citizens whose birth certificates were lost in the fire. 

 Chinese men already living in the SF area obtained U.S. birth certificates, claimed citizenship, and then claimed sons that were still in China. Because those men now had American citizenship, their paper “sons” could therefore also be eligible for American citizenship. 

Earlier “paper son” arrangements relied on testimonies and documentation that could be sold:

While trying to enforce the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the courts and U.S. Immigration documented the identities of existing Chinese in America.  Much of the documentation was based on oral evidence given by existing Chinese residents during court challenges.  Included in these documents were details of family history and village life.  This set of documentation became the first set of “paper son” certificates sold to people in China.

- My Father was a Paper Son

Those declared sons on paper would be sold as “slots” 

Prior to 1882, you don’t really need a paper son certificate, and prior to 1906, it’s not quite as easy to fake a paper son unless you’re referring to someone who was definitely born in the US. 

The first immigrants from China to California were in 1848, so you’re talking about someone who is an American born Chinese man who can’t be much older than 33ish in 1882, (so about 39-40 in 1888-1889)***, has the money/means with which to sponsor a paper son, and managed to meet all the requirements of the Exclusion Act, plus the 1888 Scott Act (prohibiting Chinese residents from being able to leave and then return to the U.S.). This rich man wouldn’t be able to leave to get his “son,” and the son wouldn’t be able to arrive without certification from the Chinese Government. 

***Naturalization would have been impossible due to the Naturalization Act of 1790, prohibiting Naturalization for non-white peoples in the U.S.  

The Exclusion Act outlined that the Chinese government would provide documentation stating that an immigrant was not a “laborer”:

That in order to the faithful execution of articles one and two of the treaty in this act before mentioned, every Chinese person other than a laborer who may be entitled by said treaty and this act to come within the United States, and who shall be about to come to the United States, shall be identified as so entitled by the Chinese Government in each case, such identity to be evidenced by a certificate issued under the authority of said government, which certificate shall be in the English language or (if not in the English language) accompanied by a translation into English, stating such right to come, and which certifi- cate shall state the name, title or official rank, if any, the age, height, and all physical peculiarities, former and present occupation or profession, and place of residence in China of the person to whom the certificate is issued and that such person is entitled, conformably to the treaty in this act mentioned to come within the United States. Such certificate shall be prima-facie evidence of the fact set forth therein, and shall be produced to the collector of customs, or his deputy, of the port in the district in the United States at which the person named therein shall arrive.

Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. [See also: US Nat’l Archives]

So in sum, it’s not really terribly likely from 1882-1906. Perhaps if this man was a merchant with documentation from the Chinese government who collaborated that the son was indeed his - pretty much only merchants had been able to bring both their wife and children to the U.S. 

The only exception I can think of would be this:

SEC.13. That this act shall not apply to diplomatic and other officers of the Chinese Government traveling upon the business of that government, whose credentials shall be taken as equivalent to the certificate in this act mentioned, and shall exempt them and their body and house- hold servants from the provisions of this act as to other Chinese persons.

Otherwise I’m not sure it’s very believable - just because it was so difficult outside of very specific circumstances like being in the employ of a government official, or pretending to be the son of a documented Chinese merchant. 

If you can push it back or forwards a few years (either pre-1882, or post-1906), then you have more wiggle room. I don’t have the average Chinese farmer’s salary of the time, except to say that Southern China (and the Qing dynasty as a whole) was suffering from the aftermath of two Opium Wars, the Nian Rebellion, the Taiping Rebellion, etc. 

Feel like that helped? Tips appreciated for Asian History - Keep History Diverse!


Fires after the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906

April 18, 2017 … 111th anniversary of the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906

Wikipedia:  The 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck the coast of Northern California at 5:12 a.m. on April 18 with an estimated moment magnitude of 7.8 and a maximum Mercalli Intensity of XI (Extreme).

Severe shaking was felt from Eureka on the North Coast to the Salinas Valley, an agricultural region to the south of the San Francisco Bay Area.  Devastating fires soon broke out in the city and lasted for several days. As a result, about 3,000 people died and over 80% of the city of San Francisco was destroyed.  The events are remembered as one of the worst and deadliest natural disasters in the history of the United States.  The death toll remains the greatest loss of life from a natural disaster in California’s history and high in the lists of American urban disasters.


The Winchester Mystery House: the history of one of America’s strangest and most haunted houses

The story of the Winchester House began in September 1839 with the birth of a baby girl to Leonard and Sarah Pardee of New Haven, Connecticut. The baby’s name was also Sarah and as she reached maturity, she became the belle of the city. She was well-received at all social events, thanks to her musical skills, her fluency in various foreign languages and her sparkling charm. Her beauty was also well-known by the young men about town, despite her diminutive size. Although she was petite and stood only four feet, ten inches, she made up for this in personality and loveliness.

At the same time that Sarah was growing up, a young man was also maturing in another prominent New Haven family. The young man’s name was William Wirt Winchester and he was the son of Oliver Winchester, a shirt manufacturer and businessman. In 1857, he took over the assets of a firm which made the Volcanic Repeater, a rifle that used a lever mechanism to load bullets into the breech.

Obviously, this type of gun was a vast improvement over the muzzle-loading rifles of recent times, but Winchester still saw room for advance. In 1860, the company developed the Henry Rifle, which had a tubular magazine located under the barrel. Because it was easy to reload and could fire rapidly, the Henry was said to average one shot every three seconds. It became the first true repeating rifle and a favorite among the Northern troops at the outbreak of the Civil War.

Keep reading

why you should read outrun the moon by stacey lee

(more posts)

okay i just finished this book the other day and i absolutely loved it it’s honestly the right amount of cute and seriousness in a historical setting and i don’t often like historical fiction books

more reasons to read!!:

  • chinese protagonist!!!
  • chinese love interest!!!!! but not a romance!!!!
  • set in 1906 in san francisco (ofc with the great earthquake)
  • anyway mercy wong or wong mei-si is growing up chinese in a very anti-immigrant world
  • she has “bossy cheeks” (high cheekbones) which a lot of people don’t like in a woman but she actually likes them and sees them as another reason why she should rise in social status
  • all mercy wants to do is go to st. clare’s school for girls (ofc a school for only rich white girls) so she can get educated and later own a business so she can be wealthy and get out of the poverty of chinatown
  • ((mostly bc she wants a better life for her little brother whose lungs aren’t fully formed so he doesn’t have to spend his life working in a laundromat))
  • she gets in with a little bribery and persuasion
  • but then she has to deal with the girls there
  • also she has to pretend to be a chinese heiress when in reality she doesn’t really know the traditions there
  • and then the earthquake hits
  • so mercy takes charge of the remaining girls and help the other people who were affected by the earthquake
  • time for quotes!!:
  • “it is like the moon. we can see it differently by climbing a mountain, but we cannot outrun it.”
  • “Their deaths might leave a hole in our hearts as deep as the ocean, but it is only because we are as deep as the ocean, and our capacity to love is as high as the sky. The earthquake took much from us. But there is much we can take from it as well”   
  • “even if I did climb to the top of that mountain one day, people will never stop seeing my color first, before me.”

anyway you should read this book bc it has a strong female as a main character who’s also really in touch with her chinese culture and also a love interest who doesn’t think he deserves her AND it’s primarily not a love story!!! it’s primarily mercy working hard for she wants and getting it i love her so much tbh she’s probably one of my fave characters now please just go read outrun the moon by stacey lee!!!!

Daily Monster 147: The Whintosser

Region of origin: San Francisco, California, United States

The whintosser was a ferocious beast renowned for its stability and ability to survive. Their prism-shaped bodies, multiple sets of legs and swiveling heads makes sure it’s always upright in any conditions (it is alleged the creature appeared in the spring of 1906, coinciding with the Great San Francisco Earthquake). No amount of beating, shooting or other traditional hunting methods seem to fell the beast, only increasing its fury. The only known way to kill one was forcing it into an active flume pipe, with all three sets of feet touching a hot surface and would tear itself apart trying to escape.