COMMITMENT DOCUMENT, SENTENCING A CHINESE IMMIGRANT TO SIX MONTHS IN THE TERRITORIAL PRISON ON CHARGES OF LARCENY, 27 February 1886
1886·Miles City, M.T.
by Montana Territory
Miles City, M.T., 1886. Original document. Very Good. 2pp, folio, printed form, accomplished by hand, with seal of the US First Judicial District Court. Briefly, one Ah Kee was arrested in Miles City, Montana Territory, for the crime of stealing $25 at knifepoint from a man named Monsen. At his trial by jury, Ah Kee denied the charges and claimed that he had no knife. Ah Kee had been found with $18 on his person when arrested, and he claimed that Monsen had loaned him $10 which he parlayed into $18 by gambling. A dagger was submitted as evidence of the crime, although no one would claim ownership of it. As shown in this document, the jury found Ah Kee guilty, and US District Court Judge Charles R. Pollard sentenced him to a $5 fine and six months in the Montana Territorial Prison. He was further made to return the $18 to Monsen and to pay $21.35 in Court costs along with the $5 fine. Signed and sealed by Judge Pollard. Many Chinese migrated to Montana Territory in the 1870s and 1880s, seeking gold and fortune. The miners and settlers in the Territory did not welcome them. Incidents of severe discrimination against the Asians became commonplace. The arrest and six-month sentencing of Ah Kee seems an extreme judgement against the accused perpetrator who must have been hard put to defend himself in an English-speaking court. [This document is accompanied by a photo-copied article on the trial from the Daily Yellowstone Journal, February 2, 1886.]. (Inventory #: 038299)
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