With the single exception of a survey of Chinese history in the Western United States written by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, there exists no other documented history of the Chinese experience in Utah.
This paper offers an overview of Pioneer Chinese life in Utah territory from the Chinese railroad laborers in Box Elder County to the Chinatown settlement in Silver Reef mining camp in Washington County. Old Chinese customs, individual Chinese personalities and communities are rediscovered through the use of census data, newspaper editorials, and oral interviews. Chinese religion is analyzed from available data about pioneer Chinese funeral customs. Emphasis is placed on majority attitudes and the corresponding effects they had on this minority group, as reflected in local nineteenth century newspapers. Of particular interest is the Chinese exclusion bill which was followed by a period of expulsion affecting Chinese in many Pacific states and territories including Utah. This study is a foundation for a significant but mostly unknown area of Utah minority history.
College and Department
David M. Kennedy Center
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Conley, Don C., "The Pioneer Chinese of Utah" (1976). Theses and Dissertations. 4616.
Utah, Ethnic relations, History, 19th century, Chinese