Massacred for Gold, The Chinese In Hells Canyon by R. Gregory Nokes

  • Chinese Miners, Slate Creek
    Chinese miners, using rockers, mine for gold along the Salmon River near Slate Creek, Idaho. The Salmon River is a major tributary of the Snake River where as many as thirty-four Chinese miners were massacred in 1887. (Courtesy of Historical Museum at St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, Idaho)
  • 1888 Trial Building
    The Building in Enterprise, Ore., where a trial was held in 1888 for three men and boys accused of the massacre of the Chinese gold miners. The three were acquitted, while the three alleged ringleaders fled and were never caught. (Courtesy of Wallowa County Museum)
  • Lewiston Cemetery
    Bodies of some of the murdered Chinese miners floated sixty-five miles from Deep Creek in Oregon to Lewiston in the Idaho Territory where they were buried in the Chinese cemetery, now a city park. Whether the bodies are still buried here, or elsewhere, is unknown. (Photo by Deston Nokes)
  • Frank Vaughan
    Frank Vaughan, who turned state's evidence against the other accused killers, is seen in the left foreground of this photograph taken at his home in the Imnaha River Valley in the years following the trial. His son, Floyd, is over his left shoulder. His wife, Minnie, is second from the right in the top row. Vaughan is holding blacksmith tongs in his left hand. (Courtesy of family of Wynona Eleen Brown)
  • Ah Goon
    A vegetable peddler in Mt. Idaho near Lewiston about 1920. After large-scale employment in gold mining and on railroads ended, the Chinese either left the interior towns of the Pacific Northwest or took whatever jobs were available. The Chinese were known for the quality of their vegetables and flowers. (Courtesy of Historical Museum at St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, Idaho)
  • Healing Ceremony
    Nez Perce elder Horace Axtell, center, leads a healing ceremony at Chinese Massacre Cove in 2008. The land along the Snake River belonged to the Nez Perce until it was taken away through a fraudulent 1863 treaty. (Photo by the author)
  • Baker City Cemetery
    Chinese-American volunteers from Portland and the Baker County Historical Society restored the Chinese cemetery at Baker City, virtually the only remaining evidence of the city’s significant Chinese population during gold-mining days. (Photo by the author)
  • Imnaha River Gorge
    The author and Mike Shanahan drove a one-lane road north through this gorge to reach Dug Bar on the Snake River where they spent the night before hiking to Deep Creek and Chinese Massacre Cove. The Imnaha River is visible on the background (Photo by the author)
  • Hells Canyon
    A view near the mouth of Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon in North America with forty miles of cliffs more than a mile high. The Chinese miners used poles and ropes from shore to manueuver their boats upstream on the Snake River for sixty-five miles from Lewiston in the Idaho Territory to Deep Creek. (Photo by the author)
  • Deep Creek
    The creek at the site of the Chinese camp flows out of cliffs on the Oregon side of Hells Canyon and across a gravel bar into the Snake River. The Chinese victims of the massacre mined on the gravel bar and may have been working when they were ambushed. (Photo by the author)
  • No Escape
    Looking upstream on the Snake River from Deep Creek. The large boulders would have blocked escape when the Chinese were ambushed at their mining camp. (Photo by the author)
  • Chinese Walls
    Chinese gold miners at Deep Creek are believed to have built this wall as part of a shelter used for sleeping quarters or storage at what is now Chinese Massacre Cove. (Photo by the author)
  • Wallowa County Courthouse
    View of the Wallowa County Courthouse in Enterprise seen through a memorial arch dedicated to the county’s earliest settlers. The plaque with the name of B. E. Evans, the leader of a gang of horse thieves accused of murdering the Chinese gold miners, is among names on the inside left of the arch, which was erected in 1936. (Photo by Elane Dickenson)
  • Frank Vaughan
    Frank Vaughan, second from right in the top row, in a photo taken in 1898 during an outing of the Joseph Bachelors’ Club, a social group. Vaughan’s confession while turning state’s evidence brought murder indictments against six members of the Evans gang. (Courtesy of Wallowa County Museum)
  • Canfield Grave
    Burial site in Glenns Ferry, Idaho, of Titus Canfield, one of accused killers of the Chinese gold miners. Canfield, who escaped from Oregon, later settled in Idaho after changing his first name to Charles. He ran a livery stable, possibly financed by gold taken from the Chinese miners. He died in 1929. (Photo by Dustin Fink)
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