Lesson 2 – The Chinese Boycott – Primary Source Documents


© Montana Historical Society

To view a pdf version of this document that can be enlarged, click on the link below. Use your browser’s back button to return here.

how to look at a written document

This document is part of the Montana Historical Society’s archival collection. Reading the document can give us a lot of information: It is an oath pledging to catch thieves. It was signed by 23 men in December of  1863. It mentions secrecy, so obviously this document was only meant to be read by the signers.

Further investigation tells us that this is the original Vigilante Oath signed by the Virginia City Vigilantes in 1863. The two things this document suggests about life in Montana in the 1860s are: 1) there were lots of thieves in Virginia City and 2) traditional law enforcement was not enough, so citizens took to vigilance to clean up their community.

© Montana Historical Society

Boycott Posters – Primary Source Documents




















Hum Fay’s Court Testimony – A Primary Source Document

To see the full transcript, access the web link below from the Montana Memory Project. Use your browser’s Back button to return here.


A more legible version of Hum Fay’s testimony (a few short pages of it) is available at the link below.

Hum Fay testimony reprint

Further Exploration

Visit the digital vaults of the National Archives and enter “chinese” in the search box to retrieve digital images of some interesting primary source documents.


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