“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Wheatland in Yuba County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Chinese Pyre

Chinese Pyre Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 6, 2009
1. Chinese Pyre Marker
Chinese Pyre was used by the Wheatland Chinese Community during the 1870s – 1890s for funeral ceremonies. The pyre was used to burn precious paper believed to release the spirit to go on .

Rebuilt in 1978 by the Wheatland Historical Society.
Erected 1978 by The Wheatland Historical Society.
Location. 39° 0.435′ N, 121° 26.274′ W. Marker is in Wheatland, California, in Yuba County. Touch for map. Marker is located near the Southwest Corner of the Wheatland Cemetery. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4865 Wheatland Road, Wheatland CA 95692, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Holland House (approx. 0.8 miles away); Johnson's Ranch (approx. 0.8 miles away); Durst Hop Ranch (approx. 1.1 miles away); Overland Emigrant Trail (approx. 3.6 miles away); Union Shed (approx. 3.8 miles away); Sheridan Cemetery (approx. 4.8 miles away); The Graham Hotel (approx. 7.8 miles away); Truckee Trail – To Johnson Ranch (approx. 7.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wheatland.
Also see . . .
1. Wheatland Chinese American Cemetery. This small plot of land
Chinese Pyre Marker and Pyre image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 6, 2009
2. Chinese Pyre Marker and Pyre
adjacent to the main cemetery in Wheatland has no grave markers, but there are believed to be bodies still buried there. The only structure that remains is a burner for paper money. This was reconstructed from the bricks of the original burner sometime after the original burner had collapsed. The reconstructed burner has an unusual shape, with a barrel vault roof instead of a pyramidal roof. The openings are too small and too low to be convenient for burning paper offerings. Therefore, it appears likely that the original form has been changed in the reconstruction. Nevertheless, it can be considered a monument to early Chinese pioneers in Wheatland. (Submitted on April 6, 2009.) 

2. Wheatland History. At the time of Wheatland’s incorporation in 1874, the population was 900, of which 300 were Chinese. Most Chinese came to work on the railroad and service industries (laundries, restaurants, etc.) and later were employed as hop workers. A thriving Chinatown existed from the 1860’s through the early 20th century, when anti-Chinese sentiment forced its relocation several times. The center of the Chinese burial rite was a ceremonial pyre near the Wheatland Cemetery where final meals were cooked for the deceased. The Chinese were buried nearby until they could be shipped back to China for final internment. (Submitted on April 6, 2009.)
Chinese Pyre image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 6, 2009
3. Chinese Pyre
Additional keywords. Chinese Americans
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesNotable PlacesSettlements & Settlers
Wheatland Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 6, 2009
4. Wheatland Cemetery
Pyre is located at the center-back of the photo.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 6, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 1,103 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 6, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.
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