|Ing “Doc” Hay and Lung On migrated from Guangdong, China to the United States in the later 19th century. They are buried at the Rest Lawn Cemetery in John Day, Oregon. This is unusual because most Chinese immigrants of their era arranged to have their bodies repatriated if they died while overseas. This was a “regular practice of Chinese sojourners in Malaysia and South America and later an essential part of migrant workers’ culture in the western U.S. and Canada” (2015, Bronson and Ho). Their decision to be buried in John Day demonstrates their commitment to the new lives they built in America.
Ing Hay migrated to the United States to earn money to send to his family who remained in China. He practiced pulsology, a method to diagnose and treat ailments based on pulse signals. He also prescribed herbal remedies which he created by mixing herbs and other materials from his extensive pharmacy. Illnesses which Hay is credited with diagnosing and treating include frostbite, blood poisoning, infertility, gangrene, polio, and influenza. He was a popular physician among both Chinese and Euro-American residents from throughout eastern Oregon.
Lung On migrated first to California in 1882 and then to eastern Oregon by 1887, where he met Ing Hay. In that year they formed a partnership and purchased the Kam Wah Chung and Company store in John Day. Lung On was highly educated and fluent in both Chinese and English. His skill at writing and translating was valued by many Chinese residents and non-Chinese businesses. He served as a scribe, business mentor, and interpreter for the Chinese communities in eastern Oregon. He invested extensively in real estate and a variety of business ventures. He opened the first automobile dealership in eastern Oregon in 1926. Lung On’s estate was valued near $90,000 at the time of his death in 1940. He arranged for his estate to be evenly divided between his wife and daughter in China and his business partner Ing Hay. Unfortunately, his family in China never received their inheritance.
In 1948 Ing Hay closed the Kam Wah Chung due to declining health, and in 1952 he died in Portland. Both Ing Hay and Lung On were well-respected members of the John Day community and their legacy lives in with the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site which includes a museum and is open to the public for guided tours (https://friendsofkamwahchung.com/).
Mid-County Cemetery District