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 Thomas Ah Quin

Thomas Ah Quin

Birth
Guangdong, China
Death 8 Feb 1914 (aged 65)
San Diego, San Diego County, California, USA
Burial San Diego, San Diego County, California, USA
Memorial ID 93560378 · View Source
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Pioneer and businessman, often called the Mayor of Chinatown (San Diego). He was born in Guangdong Province, China, and came to the United States as a young man. After working as a laborer in Alaska and California he settled in San Diego on October 25, 1880 at the request of George Marston. At that time the Central Pacific Railroad was building a line from San Berardino through San Diego, terminating in National City. Many Chinese residents worked on the railroad because they were excluded from most other types of employment. His fluency in both English and Chinese allowed him to find work as a railroad labor contractor and bridge the gap between the English speaking and Chinese communities. In addition to his work with the railroad he often appeared on court to assist Chinese immigrants. In an era of widespread anti-Chinese sentiment Ah Quin earned the respect of both groups. He later branched out and became a merchant and farmer. In 1885 his son George became the first Chinese male born in San Diego. Ah Quin died after being struck by a motorcycle. We know much about his life because he kept a detailed diary (now preserved by the San Diego Historical Society) for much of his adult life. He wrote most of it in English, perhaps to practice his fluency. He married in 1881 and fathered 12 children; his descendants continue to live and work in San Diego. Cause of death: motorcycle accident


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  • Maintained by: SDCHM
  • Originally Created by: Esperer
  • Added: 13 Jul 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 93560378
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Ah Quin (4 Dec 1848–8 Feb 1914), Find A Grave Memorial no. 93560378, citing Mount Hope Cemetery, San Diego, San Diego County, California, USA ; Maintained by SDCHM (contributor 48408042) .