Pershig 's Ckieese Kefigees if rexas
EDWARD EUGENE BRISCOE
AMONG THE MANY PEOPLES that contribute to the present
population amalgam of San Antonio, Texas, whether
Canary Islanders, Spaniards, or western Europeans of
other origin, not one of them can claim the unique ingredients
revealed in a recital of the experiences of the Chinese refugee
company in its odyssey from northern Mexico to Texas. Aliens in
Mexico, these Chinese became refugees north of the Rio Grande.
Entering this country following an accidental association with an
American military force, they were obliged to live in a detention
camp several years. Eventually, the object of special congressional
preferment, they achieved the coveted right of permanent resi-
dence in the United States.
The vicissitudes and final triumph of some 427 Chinese men
who reached Texas following the withdrawal from Mexico in
February, 1917, of the American Punitive Expedition commanded
by General John J. Pershing, make a chronicle compounded of
faithfulness, responsibility, and generosity on the one hand, and
of prejudice, avarice, and neglect on the other. Under the direct
orders of General Frederick Funston, commander of the Southern
Department, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Pershing expedition
marched from Columbus, New Mexico, southward into Mexico
in the month of March, 1916, with instructions to capture, dead
or alive, the Mexican revolutionist, General Francisco "Pancho"
Villa, the scourge of Chihuahua, accused by the United States
as the attacker of Columbus on the morning of March 9. The ex-
pedition returned eleven months later without Villa, but with
about 2,7oo refugees-Mexicans, American Mormons, and
Immediately upon crossing the international line, Pershing
placed the Chinese under military discipline and provided them
'Of this number, 527 were Chinese. The Mormons found a haven at Fort Bliss,
Texas, while the Mexican nationals either returned to Mexico or elected to remain
indefinitely in the United States.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/. Accessed July 10, 2014.