Caretakers for graveyards and their records are so important in keeping a good accounting of the persons buried there, but in this case many factors made that task almost impossible.
Anaheim Cemetery’s Tricky Body Count
Anaheim Cemetery was the first cemetery in Orange County, California open to non-Catholics. As a result, it became the burial destination of choice for the huge numbers of Chinese migrants who came to work in California in the late 19th century. A patch of the cemetery is marked off with Chinese dawn redwood trees, planted in 1989. Yet the cemetery owners have no idea whether any bodies lie under that section of ground.
Records note 33 burials around the turn of the century, but the grave markers are long gone. They were made of wood, and caretakers burned them to get rid of weeds. Chinese workers weren’t thought of very highly a century ago.
The immigrants preferred their burials in the US to be temporary. As soon as they could afford it, bodies would be dug up and shipped back to China to be buried in their homeland. While the burial records survive, all interment records have been lost.
The body count will probably stay unknown, as the attitude toward the workers has improved. According to a trustee who looks after the cemetery, “Even if we found this area to be empty, I can’t see us using it. The Chinese played an important part in the development of Anaheim, and we can’t forget that.
I need to mention that I took this article from Listverse. Credit where credit is due, ya know!
Coffee out on the patio this morning. Rain has yet to show up.