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The Issaquah riot of 1885 took place when white and Native American hops pickers clashed with immigrant Chinese workers in the present-day city of Issaquah, Washington, U.S.A. The city was then known as Squak.

In Washington state, mainly in the Puyallup Valley, hop farmers used mostly Native American labor as hop pickers.[1] After the depression in 1883 they started hiring on a few whites. Hop farmers, the Wold Brothers, had a hop farm near present day Issaquah, Washington and in September 1885 they employed 37 Chinese laborers at a price undercutting the Native American and white worker's wages.[1] On September 5, a band of white and Native American hop pickers began threatening the Chinese in order to get them to leave Squak. The Wold brothers protected their workers and the crowd disbanded. They returned two days later and made the same demands, that the Chinese leave. Again, they failed. [1][2]

That night five white men and two Native Americans climbed over the fence which enclosed the Wold brothers Chinese labor camps. The group fired into the tents of the sleeping Chinese workers, three were killed, three others wounded. [1]

In 1887 anti-Chinese hop farmer and merchant George W. Tibbetts provided a first-hand account of the violence at Issaquah. He said, in part, "Intense excitement was aroused all over the county and other attacks upon Chinamen followed and the entire Puget Sound country was torn with dissensions and bitter feelings almost to the point of civil war."[1]

Eventually three men were arrested for their part in the violence at Squak but they were all acquitted at trial.[1]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f Long, Priscilla. "White and Indian hop pickers attack Chinese," The Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, 1 July 2000. Retrieved 12 March 2007.
  2. ^ "Lesson Fifteen: Industrialization, Class, and Race: Chinese and the Anti-Chinese Movement in the Late 19th-Century Northwest," History of Washington State & the Pacific Northwest, Center for Study of the Pacific Northwest, University of Washington. Retrieved 12 March 2007.
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