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The Anti-Chinese Massacre of 1871 and its Strange Career: The People Killed

With so many public traces gone, it would seem that final accountings might be frustrated. That might be true of the ones that got away, but not all lists of names have disappeared. The Chinese Los Angelenos who were killed on October 24, 1871 were not nameless. The Los Angeles Daily News printed a record of those whose names were known. For the sake of a fresh look at the October 1871 massacre, and to provide a better accounting for at least eighteen of those killed, here is an inventory. There is Chee Long Tong. He was reputed to be a doctor. Non-Chinese Los Angelenos called him “Gene” Tong. He was shot through the head and hanged. There is Wa Sin Quai, noted as “resident of Negro Alley.” Shot in the abdomen and legs. There is Chang Wan, a resident of Doctor Tong’s house. He was hanged. There was Long Quai. Hanged. There was Joung Burrow who was shot through the head and left wrist. Another with no name, but was guessed later to be Won yu Tuk, hanged, was a cigar manufacturer in life. Wong Chin – hanged, and three cartridges were found in his pocket. There was Tong Wan who was shot, stabbed, and hanged and there was Ah Loo, hanged. Wan Foo was hanged. Day Kee was hanged. Ah Was was hanged. Ah Cut, shot in the abdomen and extremities. He was a liquor manufacturer. There was Lo Hey, hanged; Ah Wen, hanged; and Wing Chee, hanged. There was Fun Yu who was shot in the head and died October 27. And there was an unidentified Chinese male who was hanged and found in the cemetery (most likely it was Wong Tuck).

Victor Jew, The Anti-Chinese Massacre of 1871 and its Strange Career, chapter in William Deverell and Greg Hise, A Companion to Los Angeles (2010), citing P.M. De Falla, Lantern in the Western Sky, Part 2, 42 Quarterly of the Historical Society of Southern California 161-62 (1960).

chinatown massacre

Victims of the Chinatown Massacre of 1871 lie dead in the jail yard. Los Angeles Public Library, Security Pacific National Bank Collection.

The City of Los Angeles continues to desecrate the site of the Chinatown Massacre — click here to learn more about The City Project’s law suit to preserve history and green space at Father Serra Park and the site of the Massacre.