Be sure to bring your passport to our monthly Pub Night Talk
Doors open to Haynes Hall at 6pm
Program starts at 7pm
full menu offered, and of course our handcrafted ales.
Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hell's Canyon
presented by author R. Gregory Nokes
In 1887, a gang of horse thieves operating in northeastern Oregon plotted the robbery and murder of as many as thirty-four Chinese gold miners in Hells Canyon, in one of the most horrific crimes in the early American West. Among the gang was a fifteen-year-old boy, Robert McMillan, who confessed on his deathbed a few years later in Walla Walla to his role in the crime.
An all-white jury had earlier found McMillan and other members of the gang innocent of the crime after the ring leaders fled. McMillan’s confession to his father tore the close-knit McMillan family apart. It took several more years for his father to disclose the confession to a Walla Walla newspaper. But by this time, his son was dead and the crime was already being forgotten.
The crime was covered-up for more than a century until a county clerk in Oregon’s Wallowa County found the long-lost records of the investigation and trial in an unused safe she was cleaning to donate to a museum. The rediscovery of the crime set in motion a series of events that brought new attention to the mistreatment of Chinese miners and railroad builders in the Pacific Northwest.