Chinese Immigration

                                                            North Adams, Massachusetts


In 1820, the Chinese first came to the United States. The Chinese, like most immigrants at this time, came to America with the idea in mind that they were going to make a lot of money. Some traveled just for the adventure whereas others came here to get rich quick.

Before leaving China, because of foreign rule, immigrants had to go to Macao or Hong Kong first. The trip to America usually lasted all the way from fifty to sixty days. The conditions on the ships they traveled on were horrible, so people dying during the voyage wasn't uncommon.

In June 1870, seventy-five Chinese immigrants had come to North Adams. Calvin Sampson hired men to bring the Chinamen to work at his Sampson Shoe Factory. The reason he needed these immigrants is because most of his workers had gone on strike, so he used the Chinese as strikebreakers.

The Chinamen that came to North Adams didn't exactly experience a "warm welcoming." Many North Adams citizens waited, holding bricks, bats, and brass knuckles to use when the Chinese arrived.


From the Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. The top picture is a drawing of the Chinese men working in the Sampson Shoe Factory. The bottom photograph was taken the day the Chinese arrived in North Adams, Massachusetts. Taken from the North Adams Historical Society.