Essay on railway coolie Wiki Entry

EUREKA! The July 11, 1865 Sacramento Union says that the Colfaxparty arrivedviaboat at Sacramento from San Francisco at 8 am on July 11, and will leave by specialtrain at 4 pm, July 11, 1865 for the end of the rail. On July 12, 1865,the Dutch Flat Messenger says that the Colfax Party arrived here by stage coach.(No mentionof Crocker nor Stanford, who rode the cars with the Speaker)So, Speaker Colfax was in Camp 20, to be renamed COLFAX on the afternoon of the11th, or the morning of the 12th, or, he could have stayed overnight ... anywherein the vicinity. As to Illinoistown being renamed COLFAX, Illinoistown is 3 milesor so WEST of Colfax, and that area, behind Sierra Chevrolet, is STILLcalled Illinoistown. Ah, the perils of history. —G J Chris Graves,NewCastle,AltaCal'a

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An Indiscreet Letter_Chinese_railroad_workers - Coldnoon

Edson T. Strobridge comments: "The story of the ten miles of track laid in one day has a number of assumptions that really make it impossible to know the exact numbers. First of all, Stillman wasn't there at the time and describes the event while on his way to the 'Last Spike' ceremony at Promontory so one can only assume that he has used information taken from the reports of others. He really didn't do too badly except for his reporting of the rails being 50 feet in length and his estimate of 74 tons per man. I would guess that his use of the 50' is the result of a typographical error as he is the only one using that figure. All the other reports report the rail lengths as 30'. By law, rails on the Pacific Railroad could be no less that 56 lbs/yard hence a 30 foot (10 yard) rail weighed 560 pounds. The problem was that all rails were not the same length, they varied from as long as 30' to as short as 22' which was acceptable under Huntington's contracts. Rail manufacturing had not developed to the point that iron quality was good enough that every rail could be cut to the same length and any rail the Iron Co. couldn't sell had to be re-rolled or scrapped. Shipping was also a problem as not all available ships could handle 30' rails. James Harvey Strobridge in an interview stated '1000' tons and '3500' rails were laid on April 28th, 1869 for a distance of ten miles and 200 feet however he stated that the UP Engineers measured the distance so no errors would be made. The actual figure accepted was ten miles and 56 lineal feet of track. 3500 rails weighed on average something less than 560 lbs due the varied lengths however assuming all rails were 30' and the weight was 560 lbs that would provide a total weight of about 980 tons. So each of the Irish rail handlers unloaded a total of about 122.5 tons during the 11 hours they worked. Another way of looking at it is that the total length of rail (ten miles and 56') equaled 105,656 lineal feet divided by 30' = 3522 rails. So J.H. Strobridge wasn't too far off on his recollection and that depends if no side tracks were laid for passing construction trains(which no one ever addressed) and his 3500 rails wasn't too bad either. Throw in the possibility that all rails were not 30' but something shorter just adds more confusion. It would be my bet that J.H. Strobridge would probably be rolling with laughter right now if he knew of our effort to tie down the facts to such a great detail as there was never an exact counting of material in those days. They lost entire stacks of rail which were not found until the snow melted. Rails were not ordered by the foot but by the ton, shipped by the ton and counted by the rail/ton. The reporting of the event of ten miles of track in one day was embellished by everyone who reported the story to make it as interesting as they could. One fact that did come out of the days story was just how much weight eight strong men could handle in one day. One fact that was not widely reported was that it took the work of three track bosses, H.H. Minkler, his two assistants, Frank Freitis and Mike Stanton to make it all work. Charles Crocker gave Minkler a $500 bonus for his efforts and I assume that he shared it with his key men. One fact that cannot be challenged is that the rail was 56#/yd +- depending on when it was rolled in the life of the roll. The more the roll wore, the larger the pattern became and the more the rail weighed. ... Another fact not widely reported was that the railroad fed 5,000 men in the one hour break for restand lunch."

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"Long lines of horses, mules and wagons were standing in the open desert near the camp train. The stock was getting its breakfast of hay and barley. Trains were shunting in from the west with supplies and materials for the day's work. Foremen were galloping here and there on horseback giving or receiving orders. Swarms of laborers, Chinese, Europeans and Americans were hurrying to their work. On one side of the track stood the moveable blacksmith shop where a score of smiths were repairing tools and shoeing horses and mules. Close by was the fully equipped harness shop where a large force was repairing collars, traces and other leather equipment. To the west were the rails and line of telegraph poles stretching back as far as the eye could reach. The telegraph wire from the last pole was strung into the car that served as a telegraph office. To the eastward stretched the grade marked by a line of newly distributed earth. By the side of the grade smoked the camp fires of the blue clad laborers who could be seen in groups waiting for the signal to start work. These were the Chinese, and the job of this particular contingent was to clear a level roadbed for the track. They were the vanguard of the construction forces. Miles back was the camp of the rear guard–the Chinese who followed the track gang, ballasting and finishing the road bed. Systematic workers these Chinese–competent and wonderfully effective because tireless and unremitting in their industry ... The rails, ties and other material were thrown off the train as near to end of the track was as feasible, and then the empty train was drawn back out of the way. At this point the rails were loaded on low flat cars, and hauled by horses to end of track. The ties were handled in the same way. Behind came the rail gang, who took the rails from the flat cars and laid them on the ties. While they were doing this a man on each side distributed spikes, two to each tie; another distributed splice bars; and a third the bolts and nuts by which the rails were spliced together. Two more men followed to adjust and sent back for another load ... Back of the track builders followed a gang with the seven more ties necessary to complete the foundation for each rail. These were put into position and spiked by another gang, which also leveled up the track and left it ready for the ballasters. ..."

A Coolie Woman’s Work is Never Done — Review essay on 'Coolie Woman' from the Asian American Writers' Workshop.
As soon as he had gone, she hailed a passing railway coolie.’Where does the zenana stop ?’ ‘Right at the end of the platform


The landing at Jersey City was done in a stampede. I had a fixed sense of calamity, and to judge by conduct, the same persuasion was common to us all. A panic selfishness, like that produced by fear, presided over the disorder of our landing. People pushed, and elbowed, and ran, their families following how they could. Children fell, and were picked up to be rewarded by a blow. One child, who had lost her parents, screamed steadily and with increasing shrillness, as though verging towards a fit; an official kept her by him, but no one else seemed so much as to remark her distress; and I am ashamed to say that I ran among the rest. I was so weary that I had twice to make a halt and set down my bundles in the hundred yards or so between the pier and the railway station, so that I was quite wet by the time that I got under cover. There was no waiting-room, no refreshment room; the cars were locked; and for at least another hour, or so it seemed, we had to camp upon the draughty, gaslit platform. I sat on my valise, too crushed to observe my neighbours; but as they were all cold, and wet, and weary, and driven stupidly crazy by the mismanagement to which we had been subjected, I believe they can have been no happier than myself. I bought half-a-dozen oranges from a boy, for oranges and nuts were the only refection to be had. As only two of them had even a pretence of juice, I threw the other four under the cars, and beheld, as in a dream, grown people and children groping on the track after my leavings.
At last we were admitted into the cars, utterly dejected, and far from dry. For my own part, I got out a clothes-brush, and brushed my trousers as hard as I could till I had dried them and warmed my blood into the bargain; but no one else, except my next neighbour to whom I lent the brush, appeared to take the least precaution. As they were, they composed themselves to sleep. I had seen the lights of Philadelphia, and been twice ordered to change carriages and twice countermanded, before I allowed myself to follow their example."

Dec 08, 2011 · The Other Slavery: Chinese Coolies in Latin America Michele C

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Wm. F. Bailey. I have a hunch that the story of Wm. Bailey might just turn out to be an interesting one. Here are a couple more thoughts that might be a part of the story. In Stanford's June 1, 1863 1st Annual Report to the Secretary of the Treasury lists James Bailey, living in Sacramento City, as a stockholder in the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California as well as one of the nine members of the Board of Directors. William F. Bailey mentions James Bailey (pg. 7) as "a Sacramento jeweler" having been brought in by Judah, his personal friend, and originally acted as secretary of the company, but he, too, dropped out, either seared or "frozen." George Kraus mentions Bailey (pg. 27) as being the person who introduced Leland Stanford, for the first time, to Theodore Judah. Stanford goes on to say "The first time my attention was called to the question of construction was by a gentleman by the name of James Bailey who was afterwards the secretary of the Central Pacific." I realize that Bailey is a common name but I doubt that many Baileys were connected to or interested in some way in the Central Pacific. I also wonder if these two men were related in some way. Bruce Cooper lists Wm. F. Bailey's birth year as 1861 and I suppose that it is possible he was James son or a nephew or ???. There could have been some kind of relationship as I imagine that some of the source documents could have come from Bailey the jeweler. All speculation of course but it can be a small world and there may be a story to tell. The California Death Record Index may list Wm. F. Bailey if he died in California after 1905 and perhaps his obituary would tell the story of this nearly unknown early CP historian. James Bailey, Wm. Francis Bailey, the Bailey House, all connected in some way to the Central Pacific. Sacramento, Fair Oaks and Pilot Hill all in close proximity. One can only wonder but I'd bet there is a story to tell and William F. Bailey needs to be added to the list of Central Pacific historians. My Great Great Grandfather is also listed in the 1863 report as one of thestockholders of the CP but have no idea what became his stock. —EdStrobridge

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