Polly Bemis became a legendary Chinese-American pioneer.
Polly Bemis was sold by her peasant father for two bags of much-needed seed. She was smuggled into the United States in 1872 and sold as a slave in San Francisco. In 1894, she married Charles Bemis to prevent herself from being deported.
She later gained her residence paper because she was able to prove that she could not apply in time due to a major snowstorm in Idaho in 1895.
Her cabin, known as Polly Bemis House, became a museum and was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1988. Her story was fictionalized in the 1991 film: A Thousand Pieces of Gold.
「吉爾里法案」通過後，1895年Polly Bemis和其他50名住在愛德荷的中國人，因為沒有居留權而將被驅逐出境，還好Polly Bemis證明當時當地下了一場大雪，交通中斷，迫使他們無法出門辦居留手續，Polly Bemis因禍得福，於1896年獲得美國永久居留權。
Polly Bemis是荒涼的愛達荷中部最早的墾荒者之一，她所居住的小木屋現已成為國家級的史蹟。她於1933年過世，享年80歲。她的生平被拍成電影「千金」。在父親眼中只值兩袋種子的Polly Bemis，在美國邊疆綻放出璀璨的花朵，傳播慈愛、溫柔、不屈的女性傳統美德，是美國華人女性的不朽傳奇。
Photo Credits: Iowa State Archive
Photo Credits: Iowa State Archives