The Chinese Cemeteries of Kern County

Dunia Cantu, Reporter

A discussion about the old Chinese Cemetery on Terrace Way and other cemeteries in Kern County was held at Beale Library on March 3.

Katherine Richers opened the discussion by stating, “The Census reminds us that our community is made up of all kinds of people. People from different backgrounds and beliefs. The Chinese Community is one of these significant presences’ in Bakersfield.”

Richers gave a presentation, along with Patrick Leung, who is the chairman of the Confucius Church, and John Codd, who is Historian at the Union Cemetery.

Back in the 1840s during the Gold Rush, a lot of Chinese labor workers came to California. Even after the Gold Rush was over, some decided to stay and work on the rail roads.

Richers talked about two people who were buried at the old Chinese Cemetery on Terrace Way. The first person was Low Chow Sing who was 70 when he passed. He was a laborer and was accidentally hit by a Santa Fe Train. The second person was Orlie Jung (Soo) who was 44 when she passed. She was originally buried off of Terrance Way, but was moved to Union Cemetery.

The ones that had families would be moved to the Union Cemetery, but that was until the Anti-Chinese Law was abolished after World War Two.

“According to Chinese customs before in the old days they all considered America a place they pass by that is not their homeland. If they die, if you have the money, and resources they would ship you back to your village,” Leung said.

Susan Hamilton and Pam Roberts where a part of the audience that day. Hamilton said what brought her out to come listen to the discussion was that she likes history, cemeteries and getting to know where people come from.

Roberts, who is a native of Bakersfield came down to listen because she likes to learn as much as she can about Bakersfield.

At the end of the discussion, Codd brought out some pictures for guests to be able to take a look.