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September 7, 2011     Chester Progressive
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September 7, 2011

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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011 15B ARTS and ENTERTAINMENT Quincy's Chinatown at the base of China Rock (extreme right) about 1900. The site extends from today's Les Schwab to the old slaughterhouse. Photos courtesy Plumas County Museum CEMETERY, from page 14B the California Legislature passed the Foreign Miner Tax. A similar act passed in Plumas County less than a year later, declaring that any foreign gold miner needed a license costing $4 every month. These !aws were specifical- ly aimed at the Chinese, even though they couldn't legally own a claim. Chinese at the time could only work on claims that whites had aban- doned. The taxes on Chinese made up 25 percent of Califor- nia's income at one point. The firstChinese were doc- umented in Plumas County in 1854, but there were likely* Chinese living in this area long before that. Most of the larger towns in Plumas had a "Chinatown" that was almost equal to the size of the white community. The town of Quincy had a "Chinatown" that was located by "China Rock," ranging from what is now Les Schwab to the old slaughterhouse. During those days, there were very few women in min- ing towns thus leaving very specific jobs open to those who were willing. That meant some of the Chinese miners soon became cooks or did laundry. A few even came to own their own stores. Plumas County was consid- ered one of the nicer counties for Chinese to live in at the time. but it still had its share of hate crimes and biases. In 1911, a local controversy occurred in Quincy, involv- ing the burial of a young Chi- nese girl. The newborn Mary Anna Foote died and was de- nied burial in the graveyard district. At this time, Chinese men had their bodies shipped back home after death per tradition. Often the cost of this was factored into their emigration deal. On the other hand, Chinese women's and children's bodies were usual- ly left in the United States be- cause the family couldn't af- ford the remains' trip back. Because there were only three women for every 100 men in the Chinese commu- nity, it wasn't until 1911 that the burial "problem" arose in Quincy. In the end, the coun- ty agreed to bury Mary Anna, but outside of the cemetery's fenced area. Supposedly there was an outcry from the townsfolk that forced the fence to be rebuilt with Mary Anna inside though we on- ly have word of mouth as a source for this information. Today, Mary Anna can be found buried next to her fa- ther, Moy Foote, in the far back of the cemetery. This incident supposedly caused Yein King Joe to buy a 57-by-74-foot plot of land for $50, out of concern for Chi- nese remains. The location was chosen with feng shui in mind. It is said that remains should be buried on a hillside with lots of trees, in order to be close to the clouds, receive gentle winds and find peace. After Yein moved to Sacra- mento, care for this piece of land was turned over to Gee Ching, who took care of the property, even planting pear and apple trees. Ten of the 11 men in the Quincy Chinese cemetery found their resting place between 1916 and 1935. Many of them had come to America as teenagers before the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. Their jobs in the United States ranged from being miners and cooks, to laundry men and mill hands. Even with more labor-in- tensive jobs and difficult liv- ing conditions, many lived fairly long lives. It is most likely that the family mem- bers they left back in China had died still waiting for their loved one to come back. After the 1852 taxes, only one or two out of 10 Chinese im- migrants could afford to go back home. The Chinese graveyard in Quincy remained untouched until Ching died in 1963. The county burned down his home; it had been located near the cemetery he had once cared for. It was only in 1970, when Diane Kohler came on the scene, that the cemetery had anyone to care for it. Since the early days, the Chinese cemetery has been endangered. The widening of Highway 70 blocked off the LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK Art & Wine OF LASSEN original access. The town dump was moved to the top of the hill, and lazy locals found it easier to dump their trash at the bottom in the grave- yard. Horses and cars were known to knock over the headstones, while kids used the graves as ramps for their bikes. There was also the bad habit of locals using the head- stones for target practice, leaving nothing but rubble. Diane Kohler replaced these headstones. She even re- buried the bodies when some vandals decided to dig up the graves. In 1984, the Plumas County Board of Supervisors, with the assistance of the Plumas County Historical Society, recognized the Chinese ceme- tery as a "Pioneer Memorial Park." This has helped pre- vent vandalism, but the care for the park continued to be igr~ored by the county. Kohler and her husband built a fence around it, and Matt McMorrow and his family put up the red poles and sign. Local Girl Scout troops and the Clampers have aided the cemetery in various ways. But any county and cemetery district plans made to care for the Chinese cemetery have fallen through. On May 11, 1992, through the work of museum director Scott Lawson, the cemetery was officially recognized as a California Point of Historical interest. Being recognized means, at most, that the graveyard is protected from people building on it, and that a bronze plaque can be placed recognizing it as a point of historical interest. Care for the cemetery itself is still under the county's juris- diction. This seems to be a theme with the entire issue of the Chinese miners in Quincy and their cemetery. They were treated as a problem to be dealt with, something that was to be pushed aside where no one could see, instead of being treated as they really were: an asset to the commu- nity. These men had worked See Cem etery, page 16B Two of the Foote boys, the older brothers of Mary Anna Foote, ride donkeys on their recycling route, early 1900s. Who is buried in the Chinese cemetery7 Except for the names of the deceased, along with their personal timelines and causes of death, there ;s a lack of pre- cise data. Other than date of death, most of the dates men- tioned are merely estimates; for example, burial documents did not use exact age. Gee Foo was born in China in 1835. Around the age of 40, he traveled to America. His main' line of work was as a laborer. He died in 1929 at age 94. His death was attrib- uted to myocardial failure, possibly brought on by terminal pneumonia. He was thought to be widowed. Gee Que was born in China around 1859. He traveled to America at the age of 17. He owned a laundry shop and he had been married to a Celia Jenkins. He died in 1936 of esophagus carcinoma, which supposedly contributed to anemia. He was 77 years old; his wife had passed before him. at the Do~ievi~e ~h{~t 6)~ 'Early L~kers$10. am* loam OPEH4Oam~[~pm:F~ A Great Colletedoa of Western Beers, Idedil:ines and Miniatures on display. Sa,les:~clude ~'oz', d.ea~e:L-.inio flick or Cher~ Sirni ~ 530:28%365?/, Available through local bookstores ($15) Also available on Amazon.corn or Kindle e-books The Delightful Miss Carrie By Sonja Bartimus From the goldmines of California, the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, the Depression & Pearl Harbor, this memoir has it all. COMING: FRIGHT NIGHT living in extraordinary times - a story well worth teUing" -Book's Editor Yee Yuong Ming was in Hoy Sun, Canton, China around 1897. Supposedly, he came to America in 1897 atthe young age of 13. He lived in the United States for a total of 35 years, in California for 20 of those. He died at age 48. There had been an accident while he was swimming and he drowned. Cause of the drowning is vague as he actually lived in the town of Twain, and was moved to be buried in Quincy. Chin Sing was born in Hoy Sun, Canton, China around 1860. He came to California at the young age of 15; he lived here 60 years as a laborer. He died in 1935 of cerebral hem- orrhage at age 75. He had lived in the town of Clio and his body was moved to Quincy. Jue Hap was born in China around 1841. He came to California in 1877 working as a miner. In 1927 at age 86, he died from inflammatory rheumatism. This was con- tributed to mitral regurgita- tion with failure of circulation. Gooy Foote was born in China in 1852. It is unknown when he came to California. His main profession was a gold miner. He died in 1927 from bronchopneumonia. He had supposedly been widowed, but little else is known. Jee Kee (also known as Gee Kay or Gee Kee) was born in China in 1868. He came to California at age 14. He was a cook at the Plumas House restaurant/hotel. He died in 1922 at age 53 from dropsy, leaving behind a wife in China. See Who, page 16B "-- ,-~ Bounce Even s ..o.. . ' ~ eosonoble Special Event Rentals ~eote , Tables Chairs Chair Covers"~'L#""~'~q'~ Linens China Chargers Flatware Food Service Glassware Tents Canopies Dance Floor Staging : Wedding Items Bar Equipment ~55 Delleker Dr., Portola 530-832-5455 TOWN HALL THEATRE Presents RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Thurs., Sept. 8 - Sat., Sept. 10 Rated PGd3 I hr., 44 min. A single act of both compassion and arrogance leads to a war unlike any other - and to the Rise of the Planet of the Apes. 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