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The Human Meaning of Migration
Digital History ID 6


Date:

Annotation: In a letter to his wife, a Chinese migrant to Oregon poignantly conveys the disruptions, losses, and hardships that accompanied migration.


Document: "It has been several autumns now since your dull husband left you for a far remote alien land. Thanks to my hearty body I am all right. Therefore stop your embroidering worries about me.

Yesterday I received another of your letters. I could not keep tears from running down my cheeks when thinking about the miserable and needy circumstances of our home, and thinking back to the time of our separation.

Because of our destitution I went out, trying to make a living. Who could know that the Fate is always opposite to man’s design? Because I can get no gold, I am detained in this secluded corner of a strange land. Furthermore, my beauty, you are implicated in an endless misfortune. I wish this paper would console you a little. This is all what I can do for now…."

Source: Kah Wah Chung Company Papers, John Day, Oregon

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