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2008 Hall of Fame Inductee
Tommie Haw

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Tommie Haw

2008 Hall of Fame Inductee - (Posthumous)


The Chinese immigrants sacrificed blood and dreams to help build the American West.    The Mai Wah Society, an organization to preserve the Chinese cultural history of Butte, Montana, is researching the contributions that Chinese   pioneers made to the settlement of the Montana area.  One of those is rancher Tommie Haw.  Tommie Haw came to Montana on the first cattle drive into Beaverhead, Montana in 1850.  He was adopted by local rancher William Orr, according to the Mai Wah Society.  William Orr's wife taught Tommie math and to read and write English.  As Tommie grew into manhood, like Orr's other sons, he soon had his own herd of cattle, and his own brand, O C (Orr's Chinaman).  He also worked in mining, and had a laundry business.

Tommie Haw later sold his cattle herd for $9,000 and bought into a sheep ranch with a partner, William Jones. Together they leased a ranch and raised sheep, running sheep in Montana and Idaho, and retiring from that business with a modest fortune.   Afterwards, Tommie invested in mining properties and lost most of his savings except for a few thousand dollars which he bequeathed to women who cared for him in his last months. Haw died in July, 1913 at the age of 70 of "stomach trouble" while living in the Kunzman Block in Dillon.  His funeral was an event.  Haw’s pallbearers included four sons of William Orr and the procession to the Poindexter Cemetery north of town included many friends from a long life on the frontier.   Tommie Haw was buried next to the Orr family lot.  His obituary concluded that "He was a big-hearted, honest, industrious and charitable man".

Our nation was built on the dreams of all immigrants who came in search of a new beginning. The Chinese, who left behind their families and lives to travel east, also helped to build the foundation of our nation with their dreams and hopes for a better future.  Today, the Beaverhead County Museum in Dillon, Montana devotes a display to Haw and other Chinese immigrants to the Dillon area.

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