Deadwood in Lawrence County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Deadwood's Chinese Ceremonial Burner
A Trail to Deadwood's Past
— History Link —
The first recorded Chinese burial in Mt. Moriah Cemetery occurred on September 1, 1878. Over the next fifty years, approximately 33 Chinese would be buried in the cemetery. Though interred throughout the cemetery, Section Six contained the highest number of Chinese burials. In 1908, representatives from Deadwood's Chinese community received permission to construct a burner and altar in this section. Upon its completion, the altar and burner were used by the Chinese community as a place to leave food offerings and incinerate paper offerings.
By the 1920s Deadwood's Chinese community was in decline and the ceremonial burner and altar fell into disrepair. Over time, the altar and burner were destroyed
In 2003, archaeologists hired by the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission tested and mapped the concrete pad associated with the burner and altar. Using the archaeological data coupled with historic photographs, design professionals developed plans for the reconstruction of the burner and altar. The exact size and height of the burner and altar were determined based on the excavated brick dimensions and number of courses of brick in the photographs. Bricks salvaged from the demolition of the Chinese Wing Tsue building once located on lower Main Street were used in the construction of the new burner and altar.
On July 23, 2013, the new burner and altar were officially dedicated. The Wong Family, descendants from the Deadwood's early Chinese community, helped officiate with the dedication.
Today, the Chinese burner and altar symbolizes the Chinese community that once thrived in Deadwood for over fifty years.
Upper Right: Chinese funeral service, circa 1891. Library of Congress
Lower Right: Photographic postcard of Deadwood's Chinese ceremonial burner and altar in Section 6 of Mt. Moriah Cemetery, circa 1920. Deadwood History, Adams Museum Colection
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Asian AmericansCemeteries & Burial Sites. A significant historical year for this entry is 1908.
Location. 44° 22.607′ N, 103° 43.627′ W. Marker is in Deadwood, South Dakota, in Lawrence County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Mt. Moriah Drive and Lincoln Avenue. The marker is located in the northwest section of the Mt. Moriah Cemetery. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10 Mt Moriah Drive, Deadwood SD 57732, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Chinese Immigrants (a few steps from this marker); Mt. Moriah Cemetery Flag Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Bird's Eye View of Deadwood Gulch (within shouting distance of this marker); Wild Bill (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Wild Bill Hickok Bust (about 600 feet away); James Butler Hickok (about 600 feet away); J.B. Hickok (about 600 feet away); Martha Jane Burke (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Deadwood.
More about this marker. There is a small fee to access the historic cemetery.
Also see . . . Incense in China. Wikipedia (Submitted on July 15, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 16, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 15, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 111 times since then and 66 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 16, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.