SACRAMENTO – California State Parks and the California State Railroad Museum are proud to
present a special author presentation and book signing opportunity by Robert S. Wells, author of
Voices from the Bottom of the South China Sea, on Wednesday afternoon, September 16, 2015.
The compelling and illustrated non-fiction book by Wells highlights the largely untold story of a
tragic shipwreck in 1874 off Southern China that killed hundreds of Chinese who were just hours
away from reuniting with their families after years of helping to build the Transcontinental Railroad.
Based on lost records that were recently discovered and pieced together by the author, the
historical book captures the lives of the Chinese passengers when they spent years laboring in
California building the railroad, mining silver, growing food, and seeking their fortune.
In fact, many Chinese workers during this time played critical roles in building the Transcontinental Railroad. While many Chinese workers were already in California as part of the Gold Rush, many
more came to California as a result of an ambitious recruitment effort directed by five influential
Sacramento businessmen and political figures – Leland Stanford, Collis P. Huntington, Mark
Hopkins, E.B. Crocker and Charles Crocker. Their goal was to find an inexpensive labor force to
build the Central Pacific railroad eastward to connect with the Union Pacific. Included as a matter
of course were hazardous working conditions such as blasting and cutting through hard granite,
blizzards and extreme cold, and the high altitudes of the Sierra.
The special presentation will begin at 2 p.m. in the Museum’s East Theater and is included with
Museum admission: $10 for adults, $5 for youths (ages 6-17), and children ages five and under are
free. The book Voices from the Bottom of the South China Sea will be available for purchase in
the Museum store. For more information, please call 916-323-9280 or visit www.csrmf.org