The Sampson Shoe Factory was very important to North Adams. When strikes broke out there, C.T. Sampson knew he had to find replacements right away. He wasn't just about to hand the unions what they wanted which was higher wages. He couldn't find men from other towns nearby to work for him so he decided to send men all the way over to China to bring him back seventy-five hardworking Chinamen.
The Chinese were very hard workers. They broke the strikes and left the other workers jobless. The Sampson Shoe Factory was a popular business so it was very important to keep it running. The Chinamen made this all possible.
" ...in 1870, a train arrived in North Adams with 75 young men from
China hired to replace striking shoe workers. Over 2,000 people watched
as the men walked to the factory under police escort. The crowd was
hostile, but there was no violence. The Chinese proved to be both
cheaper and more efficient than the union shoe workers they replaced.
But a Chinese community did not take root in Berkshire County. Within a
decade, only five Chinese men remained in North Adams. Small numbers of
Chinese could be found living in other Bay State cities, but Boston was
the only place in Massachusetts to develop a real Chinatown. For over
half a century, the population of Chinatown was almost entirely male." (Roessler, 1)
A photograph of kids' shoes from the Sampson Shoe Factory. Picture was taken at the North Adams Historical Society.
Another pair of shoes from the Sampson Shoe Factory. Picture was taken at the North Adams Historical Society.
Above article is a picture of the outside of the Sampson Shoe Factory. Underneath is a picture of the inside of the factory. Picture of newspaper taken from the North Adams Historical Society.