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1895: Nobody Immigrates to the Midwest

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Nobody Immigrates to the Midwest --  about 900 Chinese come to the West Coast and 900 transit to Latin America, while only 55 go on to the East.

Another important on-line resource for American immigration studies is the website of the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, which thus far has entered the passenger lists for 7000 ship arrivals in the United States during the 19th century.  Most of the lists are for the 1880s and 1890s.  The Exclusion Act of 1882 required ship captains to hand in special lists of Chinese passengers when arriving at U.S. ports.  1895 was the first year that all such lists had to include not only the passengers' names but the cities they were going to.

In 1895 San Francisco had a total of 40 ship arrivals from the Far East.  Eight steamships took part, the White Star Line's ships Gaelic, Coptic, Belgic, and Oceanic, and the Pacific Mail Line's ships China, Peru, City of Peking, and City of Rio de Janeiro.   Each needed about two months for the round trip and brought an average of about 25 US-bound Chinese along with another 25 in transit to Latin America.

Altogether, the San Francisco immigration office allowed 922 Chinese to enter the U.S. in 1895.  Most stated that they planned to stay in California, and only 55 of the 922 gave destinations east of the Rocky Mountains.  10 were going to the East Coast, 10 to Louisiana and Mississippi, 12 to the Midwest outside Illinois, and 23 to Illinois, in and around Chicago.

Chinese did reach the Midwest by other routes in the 1890s.  Judging by NARA's records of re-entry permits for Chinese residents, at least some entered the country by crossing the Canadian border in Minnesota or North Dakota and then making their way south by railroad to Chicago.  And passengers who gave their destination as California did not necessarily stay there.  Chinese migration from the West to the Midwest continued through the 1920s, spurred by racist violence in California, Washington, Wyoming, and other western states..

http://www.immigrantships.net.  For an introduction to NARA's archives, see Peggy Spitzer Christoff, Tracking the "Yellow Peril,"  (Rockport, Maine: The Picton Press, 2001)