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Oro Grande

General Area of the Chinese Camp


On February 12, 1879, five Chinese miners were murdered at the Oro Grande (sometimes spelled Orogrande) mining camp in central Idaho. Local officials claimed that the Sheepeater Indians, who had lived in the region for many years, were to blame.


The Sheepeaters denied they were responsible for the killings, and no evidence was ever found to connect them to the deaths. Many years later some white miners claimed that other whites had killed the Chinese for the small amount of gold they had in their camp.


Nonetheless, at the time the military took advantage of the accusations and initiated what became known as the Sheepeater Indian War. The army pursued the Sheepeater people throughout central Idaho for many months, and in October, 1879, the remaining 60 members of the tribe surrendered. They lived out their lives on the Fort Hall Reservation in southeast Idaho.


No one was every charged with the murders of the Chinese miners.

Sources: Wegers, Zhu, U.S. Forest Service

About this site: The site of the Oro Grande mining camp is located in a remote valley in the Challis National Forest. The general area where the camp existed is marked by a U. S. Forest Service sign.

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