Oregon Hop Farm, Ah Coe Eng

Portrait of Ah Coe Eng
Portrait of Ah Coe Eng

Ah Coe was born in Taishan, China in 1861 and came to the United States to work on the railroad around 1880.  During these times marriages were prearranged.  Ah Coe was in his 40’s when he married Chinese American born, Nellie from California, age 15 without ever meeting her prior to the wedding. Because of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Chinese were unable to own property.  So Ah Coe leased farm land in Rickreall, OR near Dallas, OR to run a hop farm.  He was considered one of the pioneers of Polk County.  They were a well respected farming family from 1894-1923.  He and Nellie raised seven children on the farm. The oldest was Fances “Frankie”, followed by Ruby, Margret, Ella, Rosie, Roy, and Jack. All but Ella stayed in Oregon to continue putting down roots, running businesses, and becoming staples of the community. They worked as seamstresses, insurance agents, and restaurant owners, in and around the Portland area.  After leaving the hop farm, Ah Coe moved to Portland, OR and opened a restaurant.  He died in 1939.  Afterwards, Nellie went to work in the shipyards as a welder, and later after WW2 she worked a coat and suit factory and White Stag. Ivy Lin made a documentary titled Bitter Harvest  in the spring of 2017. This can be viewed on https//vimeo.com/193201153.  
The video on Ah Coe can be viewed on https//vimeo.com/193201641.  

Place(s): Portland, OR; Dalles, OR; Rickreall, OR
Year: 1880

– Betty Jean Lee

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant