China Joe and Other Foreign Miners

     Word of the northern riches spread all over the world. Adventurers came not only from the United States and Canada, but from every country where a newspaper could be read. The "Three Lucky Swedes," relying more on guile than luck, made their mark in the Nome mining district. Felix Pedro, an Italian, discovered gold in the Fairbanks area and word of his strike was brought to Dawson by Jujira Wada, a Japanese. Perhaps the best loved immigrant of the Gold Rush era was Lee Hing, better known as "China Joe," whose unparalleled reputation as a humanitarian stretched from Fort Wrangell to the Yukon River. This humble baker and storekeeper saved multitudes of miners from despair and starvation, asking nothing in return. On several occasions his benefactors stood ready to protect him with their lives, as they did in 1886 in Juneau, when armed vigilantes tried to seize China Joe and send him out of town with the low paid Chinese laborers they had herded out of the Treadwell mine. China Joe remained to become one of Juneau's leading citizens. He was said to be the only man in Alaska without an enemy.

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Used with permission.
Gold Rush Centennial Task Force, State of Alaska.

 
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Alaska's Gold was developed through a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission by the Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums, the Alaska Dept. of Education and Early Development.  1999.  All rights reserved.   Alaska Gold Themes written by Cristine Crooks, Alaska Consultants in Education.  Alaska's Gold Themes website developed by WEBDesign.