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Probable site of the Chinese camp


On the night of September 7, 1885, five white men and two Native Americans climbed the fence around a hop farm in what was then called Squak Valley, about 15 miles east of Seattle. The group fired their guns repeatedly into the tents of sleeping Chinese laborers. Three Chinese men were killed and three others were seriously wounded. After caring for their wounded, the remaining Chinese left the farm and did not return.


The farm was owned by the Wold brothers, who, in an effort to cut back the wages of the existing workers at the farm, hired a group of 37 Chinese workers just a week before the murders took place. The white and Native American hop pickers threatened the Chinese workers and ordered them to leave the area. The Chinese refused to do so, and the Wold Brothers told those making the threats to leave their farm. They left but returned two nights later with their guns.


Three men were eventually arrested for the murders, and one confessed and testified at trial against his co-conspirators. In spite of the evidence, the jury took less than thirty minutes to return a verdict of not guilty for all of the defendants.

Sources: Asher, Fish, Issaquah Historical Society


About this site: Contemporary reports on the incident listed the location as “in the Wold Farm orchard” and “on a small peninsula formed by a creek that ran through the property”. The area shown across the creek in this photo is the only present location that matches both of those descriptions. There are no accurate maps of the creek at the time of the incident, but it is not known to have changed course since the beginning of the 20th century.


For more information, see my paper Finding the Site of the Attack on the Chinese Laborers in Squak Valley.

Issaquah (Squak)

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