A Mystery Writer’s Almanac–Seattle Riot of 1886
On this day in 1886, President Grover Cleveland declared martial law in Seattle and sent in troops to enforce order. Anti-Chinese feelings in the city, prompted by competition for jobs in an economically gloomy period, had led to several months of street skirmishes. Mobs were forcing Chinese residents from their homes and putting them on outbound ships in the harbor. Other groups tried to defend the Chinese, and the resulting clashes led to ongoing violence.
This 1886 illustration of the rioting is from Harper’s Weekly, courtesy of the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle.