The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978 Page: 2
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
schap and Kim Wing, toured the South to explain the arrangements
and to take orders. In Texas, Koopmanschap offered to supply any num-
ber of Chinese for five-year terms at a rate of eight to ten dollars gold
a month for field hands and fifteen dollars for railroad workers, both
Opinion in Texas generally, though not universally, favored the
Memphis proposal. While the Dallas Herald bitterly warned against
"filling our fields and work shops and railroad lines with the offal of
China and other idolatrous lands beyond the Western ocean" and vili-
fied the Chinese as "miserable yellow imbecile dwarfs," the Galveston
News, the state's leading paper, expressed the more representative view.
It carried an endorsement of the Chinese as "the best, cheapest and
most reliable laborers ever known." The News argued, moreover, that
they would have a salutary effect upon the emancipated slaves: "When
the negro once finds out it is work or starve he will not hesitate long
between the two. Welcome then, John Chinaman."3
In Texas, the initial demand for Chinese laborers came from the
railroad companies, anxious to resume construction after the Civil War.
Late in 1869, the Memphis, El Paso and Pacific Railroad arranged with
Koopmanschap for a gang of five hundred Chinese rail hands to be em-
ployed on its line in northeast Texas near Jefferson. By the end of the
year, newspapers in the state were announcing the imminent arrival of
the Chinese. However, evidently because of last minute financial diffi-
culties on the part of the railroad, they never appeared.'
The first Chinese actually to reach Texas-they were also the first
large contingent to arrive in the entire South-came instead to work on
the Houston and Texas Central, then the biggest railroad company in
the state. On November io, 1869, the company, through its agent John
G. Walker, signed a contract with the San Francisco labor contractor
Chew Ah Heang for three hundred workers. Two months later they
were in Texas. They had come from California via Council Bluffs, St.
Louis, and New Orleans, arriving by train in Houston around January
14, 1968; and People, Newsletter of the University of Texas, Institute of Texan Cultures,
II (January-February, 1972), 2, 7.
2Gunther Barth, Bitter Strength: A History of the Chinese in the United States, 185o-
x87o (Cambridge, 1964), 188-197; Etta B. Peabody, "Effort of the South to Import
Chinese Coolies, 1865-1870" (M.A. thesis, Baylor University, 1967); Galveston Tri-weekly
News, May 9, 2o, 25, July 11, 25, 1870.
3Dallas Herald, July so, 1870 (first and second quotations); Galveston Tri-weekly News,
June 9, 1869 (third quotation), January 1o, 1870 (fourth quotation).
4Koopmanschap & Co. to B. H. Epperson, November 1, 6, 1869, B. H. Epperson Papers
(Archives, University of Texas Library, Austin); Galveston Tri-weekly News, September
29, November 24, 1869; Dallas Herald, January 27, 1870.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978, periodical, 1977/1978; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101205/m1/20/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.