By: Stephen H. Williamson
This site is to remember the contributions of Asians to Western Oregon
Men from Hawaii and Tahiti helped establish Fort Umpqua in 1836
these immigrants could only come, work and then forced to leave.
their labor built roads & railroads that made Oregon grow
and some rich
The Ping Yang School Bombings 1895-1901
The Ping Yang School was bombed three times and set on fire twice
destroyed from an explosive mix of social, religious and racial
the man allegedly responsible. He used racist fears of Chinese
against the school
The Japanese Colony at Shotgun Creek 1915-1925
1920 US Census shows almost thirty Japanese living in the area
news article refers to an entire "Japanese Colony at Mabel"
This photo shows one of the world's largest railroad trestles
This link has photos of two
graves of Japanese in the Mabel Cemetery
These may be the oldest Asian graves in Lane County
a photo of Japanese tea sold in Marcola around 1900. The package
reads it was "Imported by C. Cole, Isabel Oregon"
Columbus Cole was an important store owner and church leader. The package says that he imported the tea, not just sold it.
It also shows Marcola's original name, Isabel. The railroad later changed it to Marcola, after Mary Cole, wife of Columbus Cole
The Hayden Family with Two Japanese Friends
Read about the Hayden family
and their friendship with two Japanese men.
Ella Hayden was a University of Oregon graduate and a schoolteacher when the Ping Yang school was bombed.
Here are several very rare
photos & the story of Punjab Sikhs working in Oregon lumber
Sikhs worked in other local mills. This photo is from about 1909
story of a young Sikh who studied at Berkeley and worked in a
mill to earn money for his PhD
His immigration case later set a legal precedent. He is more famous in India than the US
Asia in the Life and Writings of Opal Whiteley
One of Oregon's best-selling authors, Opal Whiteley, lived in the Marcola area as a small child in 1903
Much of the research on this site was originally done to understand her early life and writings.
her mother had a life long fascination with Asia. She even
mentions kimonos in her childhood diary
Opal Whiteley Memorial www.opalnet.org
Read a collection of newspaper articles that mention Asians or Japanese in Oregon's Mohawk Valley. You will find a 1917 World War I draft list with six Japanese men on it. Another article documents Ku Klux Klan activity in Oregon and Marcola in 1924. Note: some of these old articles use the slur word "Jap" - this is very offensive to Japanese people.
Curtis Irish BIG File of Mohawk News Articles
Many of the
photographs and newspaper articles here came from the collection
of Mr. Curtis Irish, a lifelong resident of Marcola Oregon. He
has gathered thousands of historic pictures and news articles of
the Mohawk Valley. Tracing the
trail of these Asian pioneers would have been
Curtis Irish and his 80+ year passion for Oregon's history.
Stephen was born in 1951 and grew up near
Lickskillet, Louisiana. He loved to read as a youth, often
disappearing for hours into the woods with his dog and
books. He worked railroad construction while at Louisiana
State University. In 1975 he moved to Cottage Grove,
Oregon. Working as a "gandydancer" made him appreciate the
hard labor that the Asian railroad workers contributed. His
sense of justice inspired him to research their stories.
In 1994, Stephen founded the Opal Whiteley
Memorial in Cottage Grove. Opal Whiteley was a best-selling
nature writer in 1921 and grew up near Cottage Grove. Opal
Whiteley was fascinated with Asia. He was later asked by Dr.
Lynne Anderson-Inman of the University of Oregon to assist in
publishing Opal Whiteley's best-selling diary online. He
collected dozens of historical photographs of the people and
places Opal wrote about. The UO graciously provided support for
his work as research assistant through a courtesy
appointment. Those photographs led to Marcola and these
photographs. For over a decade he has shown his historic photos
and news articles at the Oregon Asian Celebration, held each
year in February.
Steve has worked for over 25 years with people who have psychiatric disabilities. He has also been a statehouse lobbyist for the Association For Retarded Citizens (ARC), and the Oregon Mental Health Association. Stephen has also given trainings in abuse reporting and client rights.
Steve is also an avid outdoorsman and still disappears into the woods with his dog and his books every chance he gets. He is a member of the Cottage Grove Historical Society and frequently speaks to community groups and schools.
Ping Yang on the Mohawk
all material on this website,
except where noted is copyrighted 2003 by Stephen Williamson