Posts Tagged: Foreigners Doing Business in America

The Legend of Poison Jim, the Mustard King

In the Museum of Chinese in America, two blocks north of Canal Street in New York City, a small, illuminated tile informs visitors that “sometime before 1865,” a Chinese American squirrel trapper known as “Poison Jim” found the mustard plant “growing weedlike in the Salinas Valley.” By selling the seeds, he “unintentionally turn[ed] mustard into a commercial crop” in the United States. A textbook published in 2010 repeats the story, with Poison Jim making and selling mustard until it “became a major California product.”

“Poison Jim Chinaman” was first documented by the little-known writer Owen Clarke Treleaven, who published a six-page story about him in a 1919 [...]


Very Recent History: The Scandal Sheet Proto-Blog Empire of Stephen G. Clow

On May 6, 1924, the New York Times announced: "'BREVITIES' OWNERS INDICTED FOR FRAUD." Broadway Brevities and Society Gossip, published between 1916-1924, belonged to Stephen G. Clow, a native Canadian who traveled down south to become proprietor of one of the shadiest gossip magazines of New York City. The trial of Clow and his partners lasted until January 30, 1925 and was deemed as the "greatest show on earth" by the New York Sunday News. The result: Clow was fined $6000 and sentenced to six years in federal prison in Atlanta.