1857Edward Day Cohota, a Sergeant in the 23rd Massachusetts Infantry during the Civil War and Chinese immigrant, arrived in Gloucester.People and Communities

Photo of Edward Day Cohota, n.d. Wellspring House, Freeman Family Project.
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Edward Day Cohota was born in the 1840s near Shanghai, China. In 1845, he and his brother were found at the port of Shanghai by Captain Sargent S. Day of the ship Cohota. His elder brother died soon after. Edward took his middle name from Captain Day and his last name from the ship Cohota and in 1857 he moved with Day and his wife to their home in Gloucester.

Cohota enlisted in the Union Army during the American Civil War in February of 1864. After the war, he returned to Gloucester for a short time but was forced to reenlist after he was unable to find work. He served with Company C in the 15th Infantry Regiment and was stationed primarily at Fort Randall in the Dakota Territory. He later settled with his family in Valentine, Nebraska.

After his application for a Nebraska homestead was rejected in 1912, Cohota discovered that he was not a legal American citizen despite a long career in the American military. The passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which prohibited the immigration of Chinese people to the United States, made it impossible for him to become a citizen, although he tried through appeals.

"National Museum of the United States Army.” https://www.thenmusa.org/biographies/edward-day-cohota/ Cape Ann Museum. “Edward Day Cohota.” http://www.capeannmuseum.org/edward-day-cohota/
Edward Day Cohota (center) with four of his five children. Courtesy of Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, c. 1930, Photo 14111
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