The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 469
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Pershing's Chinese Refugees in Texas 469
refused to traffic with the expeditionary soldiers. On the contrary,
being alien sojourners in the land, the Chinese had no such bar
to trade impinged on the conscience.
After a few weeks of pursuit, the army found itself unable to
catch the redoubtable "Pancho" Villa, and it settled down to the
dreary life of military occupation, while the Chinese, with aston-
ishing rapidity, put up eating houses and merchandising stands
on the fringes of every military station in the occupied area.4 To
avoid the hostility of the Mexicans, still other Chinese attached
themselves to the camps, and not one proved to be a loafer or
unwilling to work his way. No other civilian labor being obtain-
able, Pershing hired the Chinese. In Colonia Dublin, some of the
more prosperous Chinese constructed a laundry, sorely needed
by the army, since it had no facilities of its own. Gratified to have
the industrious and capable Chinese associated with his command,
Pershing regarded their services to the expeditionary force as be-
ing of such a nature and extent as to create a debt on the part of
the United States in favor of these unusual people.5
In the refugee camp at Columbus, Page was busy organizing
the administration of the alien group and finding suitable em-
ployment for its members at the adjacent military base. This
was not a difficult task, for the -army was accustomed to the
Chinese, who were always willing to work and were unabating
in their efforts to please all who employed them. The entrance
of the United States into the European war precipitated a severe
shortage of labor and made it increasingly less necessary for the
federal government to take steps for the deportation of any
material number of the refugees. What persons, other than Persh-
ing, or possibily Page, engaged themselves to influence official
authority to delay deportation processes is not known. It is likely
that no other persons were concerned. However it may have been,
4The army had no exchanges worthy of the name; supplies had to be hauled
by wagon and truck over desert tracks, and the quartermaster experienced great
difficulty maintaining the normal supply of military necessities. But the indefatiga-
ble Chinese carried in his stock of goods by muleback, or shipped it through on
the only railroad from Juirez, a facility denied to the United States troops by the
Mexican government, which with great reluctance had consented to the attempt to
catch Villa in the first place, and actually was using all its resources to bring about
the retirement of Pershing's troops from the national territory.
ZPershing to Anthony Caminetti, November 6, 1919, Congressional Record, 67th
Cong., 1st Sess., 5001.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/566/: accessed December 11, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.