September 2, 1885
Rock Springs, Wyoming
A riot between white and Chinese miners breaks out, leaving 28-50 immigrant workers dead and 15 injured
The riot was sparked by white miners’ anger at the preferential hiring of Chinese miners. The Chinese miners received a smaller wage than their white counterparts, making them a more ideal candidate to the mining companies.
The white miners used wooden planks to fence in Chinatown to hinder any escape. They converged from multiple directions, setting fire to buildings and shooting and beating immigrant workers who in turn attempted to flee into the hills. Some either hid in their houses or were too sick to leave; they were either murdered in their houses or burned to death when their homes were set on fire. Rioters also threw the bodies of murdered victims into the fires. The total property damage came to around $147,000 (nearly $3.5 million in today’s economy).
The surviving victims were brought to a neighboring town where they endured more death threats. Newspapers defended the actions of the rioters and, although 16 men were arrested for the murders, none were indicted. However, 45 white miners associated with the riots were fired by the mining company when the mine reopened.
Horrific history from today:
1919: Mysterious call points to equally mysterious death (2017)
1938: Man executed for murder/dismemberment of wife (2017)
1983: Child rapists/murderer dies in botched execution (2017)
1906: Man kills girl he was obsessed over, wounds her companion, and kills self (2018)
Today in Horror History: September 2