Irish Luck, Chinese Medicine Historical Backdrop


2019: 150th Anniversary Building the Transcontinental Railroad

Irish Luck, Chinese Medicine has several love stories, one between an Irish woman and Chinese man. As immigrants they would have many things in common: fleeing oppression, escaping starvation, confronting prejudice, and surviving violence. They found each other only because the Irish and Chinese laborers both worked to built the transcontinental railroad.

We know that between the years of 1864 and 1869, Chinese laborers joined Irish immigrants ina race to complete the project. The Chinese proved to be of great value as they laid track at a much faster rate than their Irish counterparts due to their strong  work ethic and sense of community. They didn’t get inebriated with regularity, were strict about cleanliness, and boiled their food (preventing communicable and intestinal illness.) But there is much history yet to be discovered.

Read more about Stanford University’s The Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project that “seeks to give a voice to the Chinese migrants whose labor on the Transcontinental Railroad helped to shape the physical and social landscape of the American West.”