18607 Bothell Way NE / Bothell, WA, 98011
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Pub Night Talks
Anderson School - Haynes' Hall
6 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. program
All ages welcome
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6 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. programFreeAll ages welcome
Presented by author and journalist R. Gregory Nokes
In 1887, a gang of horse thieves operating in northeastern Oregon plotted the
robbery and murder of as many as thirty-four Chinese gold miners in Hells
Canyon, in one of the most horrific crimes in the early American West. Among
the gang was a fifteen-year-old boy, Robert McMillan, who confessed on his
deathbed a few years later in Walla Walla to his role in the crime.
An all-white jury had earlier found McMillan and other
members of the gang innocent of the crime after the ring leaders fled.
McMillan’s confession to his father tore the close-knit McMillan family apart.
It took several more years for his father to disclose the confession to a Walla
Walla newspaper. But by this time, his son was dead and the crime was already
The crime was covered-up for more than a century until
a county clerk in Oregon’s Wallowa County found the long-lost records of the
investigation and trial in an unused safe she was cleaning to donate to a
museum. The rediscovery of the crime set in motion a series of events that
brought new attention to the mistreatment of Chinese miners and railroad
builders in the Pacific Northwest.
About the AuthorR. Gregory Nokes has traveled
the world as a reporter and editor. He is author of two non-fiction
Northwest histories: Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hells Canyon in
2009, and Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory in
2013, both published by Oregon State University Press.
Breaking Chains tells
the little-known history of slavery in early Oregon, focusing on an 1852
slavery case, Holmes vs. Ford, the only slavery case adjudicated in
Oregon courts. Nokes’ book was a finalist for the 2014 Oregon Book Award for
non-fiction. Prominent Northwest author Jane Kirkpatrick has said, “This is how
history should be written.’’
Nokes’ 2009 book, Massacred
for Gold, tells the story of the long-forgotten 1887 massacre of nearly
three-dozen Chinese gold miners in Hells Canyon on the Oregon-Idaho border. The
book inspired the Oregon Public Broadcasting program, Massacre at Hells Canyon,
which aired on OPB-TV’s this January. Published by Oregon State
University Press, the book is in its fourth printing.
In 2012, Nokes and others
installed a memorial to the fallen miners at the massacre site in Hells Canyon.
He is currently at work on a third book about the life of Peter Burnett, Oregon
pioneer and the first elected governor of California.
Greg spent more than forty
years in journalism, during which he traveled to more than fifty countries. As
a reporter in Washington, D.C. for The Associated Press, he covered the
State Department and traveled with several presidents and secretaries of state
on foreign trips. Greg started his career as a reporter for the Medford Mail
Tribune, and finished at The Oregonian, where he was both an editor
and reporter. He retired from journalism in 2003 to embark on a second career
as an author and lecturer on Northwest history.
A native of Oregon, Nokes did his undergraduate work at
Willamette University. He attended Harvard University as a Nieman Fellow in
1971-72. Nokes and his wife, Candise, live in West Linn, Oregon.
The University of Washington Bothell and
McMenamins co-sponsor this speaker series in which university faculty and other notables from
the community share their expertise through
entertaining and informal talks. Learn about interesting topics and issues of
the day while enjoying the hospitality of Anderson School’s Haynes’ Hall. It's
like being back in the classroom -- except this time you get to settle into
comfortable seats and enjoy a drink or two with dinner while you listen and
This event is eligible for a History Pub Stamp
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