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State of California vs. John Chinaman
SFH 432  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography/Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: State of California vs. John Chinaman
    Dates: 1854
    Collection Number: SFH 432
    Creator/Collector: California. Grand Jury (Trinity County)
    Extent: 1 leaf
    Repository: San Francisco Public Library. San Francisco History Center
    San Francisco, California 94102
    Abstract: True bill against a Chinese man for assaulting an officer
    Language of Material: English


    The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk hours. Collections that are stored offsite should be requested 48 hours in advance.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.

    Preferred Citation

    State of California vs. John Chinaman. San Francisco Public Library. San Francisco History Center

    Biography/Administrative History

    John Chinaman was a generic name given to any Chinese person, especially male, in the early to mid-nineteenth century. William M. Lowe was sheriff of Trinity County in 1855. The grand jury probably convened in Weaverville, the county seat. Richard T. Miller later moved to Silver City, Idaho, serving in that state as a judge and attorney.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    A brief manuscript record of the agreement of what is assumed to be the Trinity County grand jury, regarding probable cause to try (a “true bill”) a Chinese man in court after he had been charged with assaulting an officer on the Trinity River on or about July 1, 1854. In this case, the People of the State of California vs. John Chinaman, William M. Lowe was a witness; R. T. Miller was jury foreman; the true bill was filed October 4, 1854. The outcome of the subsequent trial is unknown.

    Indexing Terms

    Chinese -- California -- Trinity County
    Indictments -- California -- 19th century
    Grand jury -- California -- Trinity County
    Court records -- California -- Trinity County
    Criminal courts -- California -- Trinity County
    Lowe, William M.
    Miller, Richard T., d. 1873
    Trinity County (Calif.) -- Social conditions -- 19th century.