Priscilla Wegars

Polly Bemis: A Chinese American Pioneer

Polly Bemis, Idaho’s most famous Chinese woman, lived here for over 60 years. Although owned at first by a Warren, Idaho, Chinese businessman, she later married Charles Bemis. Charlie died in 1922 and Polly died in 1933. Since her death, fictionalized versions of Polly’s life often state that she was a prostitute or that Charlie Bemis won her in a poker game. Primary sources provide evidence showing that both statements are myths.