No. 251.
Mr. Chang Ten Hoon to Mr. Bayard.

Sir: It is with great regret that I have to bring to your attention another case of outrage inflicted upon my countrymen, which resulted in the murder of ten Chinese laborers in the most horrible manner.

The consul-general at the port of San Francisco has reported to me that he received a joint petition dated the 18th of July, 1887, from Chea-Tsze ke, Chea-Fook, Kong-shü, and Kong Chun, natives of the district of Punyu, Chinese subjects, who represent that at the beginning of the ninth month, the Chinese twelfth year of Kwong Su (October, 1886), their clansmen named Cheapo, CheaSun, Chea-Yow, Chea-Shun, Chea Cheong, Chea Ling, Chea Chow, Chea Lin Chung, Kong Mun Kow, and Kong Ngan, respectively, went to Log Cabin Bar, Snake River, State of Oregon, in a boat loaded with provisions, accompanied by another boat manned be Lee She and others, for the purpose of seeking for gold; that they had been pursuing their avocation peaceably until the beginning of the intercalary fourth month (the latter part of May and the greater part of June, 1887), when they were suddenly murdered by some unknown persons; that when Lee She and his party came out of the bar in their boat they found three bodies of Chea-po’s party floating down the river and some provisions and bedding lying profusely at the entrance of the bar, and upon a search being made further found Chea-po’s boat stranded on some rocks in the bar, with holes in the bottom, bearing indications of having been chopped with an axe, and its tie-rope cut and drifting in the water; that Mr. J. Vincent, commissioner of Nez Percés County, Idaho, visited the scene of the murder, and on examining the three bodies found a number of wounds inflicted by an ax and bullets; that the bodies of the others that had been murdered have not yet been found; that in the fourth month, last year (the latter part of April and the greater part of May, 1887), a person named Jackson told a Chinese named Hung Ah Yee that he had witnessed some cowboys, eight in numb, forcibly driving Kong Shu [Page 384] and his party out of the bar in their boat and throwing their provisions and bedding overboard; that Kong Shu and his party fled from them, being afraid to offer any resistance; and that since he had learned of the murder of Cbea-po and nine others he came to the conclusion that the cowboys had committed the crime; that they, the petitioners, reported the case with all its circumstances to the authorities in Lewis-ton, Idaho, and a copy of which report and of the statement of the examination made of the bodies they have submitted to the consul-general for his perusal, praying that he may communicate with the local authorities on the subject, so that due justice may be obtained by having the murderers pursued, arrested, and punished.

The consul-general states that Log Cabin Bar is in the Snake River; that, after he had learned of the murder through the press dispatches, he immediately asked the Sam Yup Company to depute a Chinese interpreter, by name Lee Loi, who lived near the bar, to attend to the case, and on the 14th of July, 1887, wrote a letter to Mr. J. K. Vincent, commissioner of the county, requesting him to investigate the matter; that Mr. Vincent in his reply informed him that white men were the murderers, as some of the provision “flour” left at the bar he had traced directly to them, and that white man had told a Chinese at his camp some very curious stories, and that some circumstances looked very suspicious. He (the consul-general) is therefore fully convinced that the murderers must be white men (Americans), and further says that the commissioner promised to write again to him if he should thereafter have secured more definite information regarding the stolen property; but several months have elapsed and he has not heard from him again, though he (the consul-general) has repeatedly written to him. He (the consul-general) has offered a reward for the apprehension of the murderers, and has ordered Chea Tsze Ke and Lee Loi to make inquiries, but they have not yet discovered the names of the murderers.

The consul-general finds that there are very few Chinese in the neighborhood of the bar, which is far from San Francisco, and that it would not be easy for the police of that place to make their investigation; and that, as the commissioner has assured him that the murderers were white men, he has sent me copies of the correspondence and all documents connected with the matter, begging me to communicate with you thereon, to the end that the local authorities may be communicated with, so that justice may be secured by having the murderers arrested and punished, and that the Chinese during their sojourn here may be protected.

As the character of this case, wherein ten lives were murdered and their bodies mutilated in a most shocking manner and thrown away, as will be seen by Commissioner Vincent’s report, differs greatly from a common case of homicide, it is feared other wicked persons may, from their hatred of the Chinese, follow the examples of the murderers if they are not arrested and punished, which will affect the interest and safety of the Chinese resident there and elsewhere in the United States; I have, therefore, sent you the inclosed copies of the correspondence and documents connected in the case, hoping that you will kindly communicate with the local authorities, and urge that the murderers may be speedily apprehended and punished, to serve as a warning to others.

Accept, etc.

Chang Yen Hoon.
[Page 385]
[Inclosure 1.]

Messrs Tsan and Bee to Mr. Vincent

Dear Sir: Referring to this case-of the Chinese subjects recently murdered on Snake River, this consulate is desirous of obtaining further information.

We beg therefore to ask your good offices in giving us such information as you have in regard to the outrage. If not in your province to do so, will you kindly refer this letter to any one who can enlighten us further than what we have seen in the press dispatches, which merely announced the finding of the bodies of several Chinese in the river?

We have the honor, etc.,

  • Liang Ting Tsan,
  • F. A. Bee,
[Inclosure 2.]

Mr. Vincent to Messrs. Tsan and Bee.

Sirs: Your communication of July 14, 1887, just received, and in answer would say that about June 14 the coroner of this county was called upon to hold an inquest upon a body up Snake River. On his return he stated that he was a Chinaman shot in the back and body, chopped in the head with an ax. Three days after news came from Perewawa, 40 miles below Lewiston, that another body had been found there, shot in the breast and head chopped. About the same time a Chinese boat, manned by ten men, came down Snake River and reported the supposed killing of a boat crew of ten, as they were all missing from their camps. Words were immediately sent below, and in a few days Lee Loi, agent of the Sam Yup Company, arrived here. Upon his arrival I had a talk with him; at his request I went with him down Snake River to Log Cabin Bar, there we found another body, shot in the back twice, head and left arm off; made inquiries about others and found one had been seen badly chopped in the head, but he was not taken from the river. We brought the body to Lewiston and buried it here.

Since that time I have been in Lee Loi’s employ, have been up Snake River above where the murder was committed. Water so high impossible to find out what was done. Since have made a trip to Salmon River, from which I returned yesterday. To-day I had a little talk with a Chinaman who saw provisions on bar after men were gone.

I have been and am still in the employ of the Chinese company, ferreting out the matter. From what I have so far found things seem to show that white men were the murderers, as some of the provision “flour” I have traced directly to them. I have been following up, for six days, a white man who was at their camp and one who is the last one known to have been there. He has told some very curious stories about the matter, and some circumstances look very suspicious. But there is in that vicinity some twenty or thirty bad men and I was watched very closely for nine days. I expect to start again up Snake River on the east side and will get into their camp by some means and know what has been done with their property, if the agent here thinks best. It was the most cold-blooded, cowardly treachery I have ever heard tell of on this coast, and I am a “49er;” every one was shot, cut up, and stripped and thrown in the river. It happened about 120 miles above Lewiston, in Oregon,

The Chinese here have paid me for what I have done so far, but Government ought to take it in hand, for with actions like this none are safe. I shall continue to work for them endeavoring to trace the matter as long as they may wish me to, and if you should wish me to report what I may discover to you, or if you, as consul should wish any work done in the case, I should be very glad to do it for yon.

Respectfully, yours,

J. K. Vincent,
United States Commissioner.
[Page 386]
[Inclosure 3.]

Judicial proceedings in reference to murder of Chinese in Idaho.

In justice court of Lewiston precinct, in and for the county of Nez Perces, Territory of Idaho. The People of the United States for Territory of Idaho, plaintiffs, vs. John Doe, Richard Doe, etc., defendants.

Lee Loi, first being duly sworn, complains and accuses Richard Doe, John Doe, and others, names unknown, of the crime of murder by feloniously, wilfully and with malice aforethought cut with an axe, shot with a gun or pistol loaded with powder and ball, which they, the said Richard Roe, John Roe, and others, names unknown, did hold in their hands, kill and murder ten Chiuamen, belonging to what is known as the Sam Yup Company. Said murders having been committed on Snake River, in the State of Oregon, Wallowa County, about 120 miles from Lewiston, Nez Perce County, Idaho Territory, on or about May 25, 1887, to the best of his knowledge and belief.

All of which is contrary to the form of statutes and against the peace and dignity of the people of the United States, and he hereby prays that they, the said Doe, Roe, and others may be arrested and dealt with according to law. Subscribed and sworn to before me this 18th day of June, 1887.

J. K. Vincent,
Justice of Peace of Nez Perce County, I. T.

Lewiston, July 8, 1887.

This is to certify to whom it may concern, that I have by instructions from Lee Loi, an agent of the Sam Yup Company, have found the following description of murdered Chinamen whose bodies have been found. One on Snake River, above Lewiston near Lime Kiln, found by Mr. Lewis, description: About 5 feet 6 inches high, 4 very large teeth, 2 above standing out, 2 below standing out and down. He had on clothes; a leather belt around his waist; shot in the back just below right shoulder blade, two cuts in back of head, one on each side, done with an ax; found about June 16.

One at Perrewawa Bar, about 40 miles below Lewiston; found about the same time. No clothes; shot in breast just below heart; head very much cut and chopped.

One on Log Cabin Bar, found June 23, on Snake River, 30 miles below Lewiston; about 5 feet 7 or 8 inches tall; had on clothes and boots; two shot wounds in small of back near backbone; head off, as though chopped; left arm off between elbow and shoulder, both arm and head in coat which was fastened to his body, held there by belt around his waist. He was lodged in large drift pile when found; some recognized him as Ah Yow.

J. K. Vincent,
Justice of Perce County, and United States Commissioner.

warrant of arrest.

Territory of Idaho, County of Nez Perce:

In the justice or the United States commissioner court of said county. The people of the United States in the Territory of Idaho to the sheriff of Nez Perce County:

A complaint upon oath having been this day laid before me by Lee Loi that the crime of murder has been committed, and accusiug John Doe and Richard Doe and others thereof, you are therefore commanded forthwith to arrest the above-named John Doe and Richard Doe and others, and bring them before me forthwith at the justice court-room in said county and Territory, to be dealt with according to law, or in case of my absence or inability to act, before the nearest or most accessible magistrate in the county.

J. K. Vincent,
Justice of the Peace for Nez Perce County, I. T.,
and United States Commissioner.