January 7's Fact of the Week

In 1887, the Snake River Massacre was a mass killing that involved Chinese miners that searched for gold along the Oregon side of the Snake River that flowed upstream. A gang of white horse thieves traced one of the Chinese mining camps and decided to rob their gold. The 7 outlaws ambushed and set a fire to the Chinese settlement, forcing them out and killing them one at a time as they tried to flee. After their murders, the outlaws mutilated the bodies of the miners and tossed them into the river. The next day, 8 more Chinese miners would arrive at the camp, but would be murdered in a similar fashion. The outlaws would then travel by boat to another Chinese mining camp and murder 13 more miners. Accounts would estimate that over 30 Chinese miners were murdered in the two days of the massacre. In the following month, a group of Chinese miners would discover one of the massacre sites and report the crime to the Chinese Six Companies, which started an investigation. While the outlaws were caught and tried, the jury found them not guilty for their crimes. Speculation would arise that if the victims were white, the jury would have charged them guilty for their crimes- but because they were Chinamen, the murders were insignificant.

Source(s): http://www.ohs.org/education/oregonhistory/historical_records/dspDocument.cfm?doc_ID=5AAC99B2-DA97-A22B-5D8146345304E51C