This one-square-block between E and F streets and 4th and 5th streets was the area of Eureka’s Chinatown, although there is nothing to indicate it. All of the Chinese population in Eureka was expelled in a period of 24 hours in 1885 after a stray bullet from two rival Chinese gangs killed city councilman David Kendall. A mob gathered and demanded that Eureka’s Chinatown be burnt down after the suspects could not be identified. The angry mob, momentarily deterred by the sheriff, concluded that since the suspects could not be found all Chinese residents within the city should be removed. Other towns surrounding Eureka soon followed expelling their Chinese populations as well. Over 300 Chinese people in Eureka and its surrounding area were given 24 hours in which to remove themselves and whatever of their belongings they could carry, to the docks of Eureka where they were then put on board two steamships and sent to San Francisco. In case the murderous intent of the populace were not entirely clear, gallows was erected as incentive to ensure that no Chinese people would stay. Fortunately no Chinese people were hurt during the expulsion, but their lives and livelihood were completely uprooted.
There are a few cases on record of local people standing up for the Chinese population. Rev. Charles Huntington saved a Chinese teenager and convert to Christianity, Charles Lum,after the teenager stopped at Huntington’s home to say his farewell. The mob, outraged that a young Chinese person should enter the home of a white person, captured Lum. The teenager was dragged by the mob to the waiting gallows, but Huntington followed and was able to dissuade the crowd from hanging Lum. Another man, Tom Bair, stopped a mob of men after they came to his Redwood Creek Ranch to take his ranch hand, Charlie Moon. Bair reportedly stood in the middle of the road, pointed his gun at the mob and said that they would have to take him first before they got to his ranch hand. The mob changed their minds and left. A group of fifty-two former residents of Eureka’s Chinatown also hired a white lawyer and sued the city of Eureka for robbing them of their property. However, the 52 former residents lost the case, with the court ruling that the Chinese were not property owners so the city could not have robbed them of anything.
In the following decades, Humboldt County and Eureka would continue to enforce these exclusionary edicts, ensuring that no Chinese would be allowed to reside within the county limits.
( Credit for information: http://www.northcoastjournal.com/022703/cover0227.html)