HISTORY: Ing ‘Doc’ Hay is dead

HISTORY: Ing ‘Doc’ Hay is dead


Published on September 28, 2017 12:48PM

Last changed on September 28, 2017 1:04PM

Jan. 25, 1952 Blue Mountain EagleIng “Doc” Hay is dead.With his death in Portland last Saturday, a symbol of a past and colorful era in Grant County history passed on. Funeral services were held Thursday from Driskill’s with the Rev. Mrs. Bach in charge. Interment was in the John Day cemetery.Doc Hay’s life in Grant County is so interwoven with the old mining history and the history of the Chinese colony in Eastern Oregon that there are hundreds of stories and anecdotes brought to light by his passing. Because he always avoided publicity and talked little of the past even to relatives much of the lore of his life has been lost. There is enough, however, to make interesting reading for newcomers and to bring nostalgic reminiscence to old timers.His age was not exactly known. Relatives believe he was at least 89 and, for the official record, give his birthplace as Walla Walla in 1863. When the Chinese exclusion act was about to be enacted and Doc had to prove residence to establish citizenship, he went to Walla Walla and obtained an elector’s certificate to establish his status. This certificate bears the date of July 31, 1897, and attested that he had voted in election there prior to that date.His ability as a Chinese herb doctor became legendary in Eastern Oregon. Stories are recounted of the early days when he would travel as far as Prineville by horse and buggy to treat patients.A remarkable, almost phenomenal, memory was listed among the Doc attributes. Relatives tell of a huge volume of Chinese medicine he possessed. He practically had the contents memorized and, at the mention of any reference, would give the page number and paragraph in which to find the information. His eyesight began failing in the late ’20s, and for the past few years he has been totally blind. In his old historic quarters, among the medicines, personal mementos and relics he kept several radios and kept abreast of world and national news. Ropes were strung for him to use as guides when moving out of the house.Sometime in his youth he went to China to learn the age-old precepts of herb medicines. The time when he started living regularly in John Day is hard to establish. His father, Orr Hogg, established the Kam Wah Chung store and herb center here in 1871. His father had arrived in the valley in the early ’60s with the first rush of miners into the Canyon City diggings. He returned to China to spend his last year before the turn of the century and nothing further was known of him.Doc Hay, according to the best information available, settled here permanently in the early ’80s. He was not known to have visited China during this century, but on one of his trips to China, he married and was the father of a son he never saw and of whom no present trace is known.In the heyday of the Kam Wah Chung business operation, it had a greatly diversified stock of all kinds of merchandise. Gold dust was brought over the counter. A frontier bank was operated, and at one time or another, much of the land of Grant County had loans from this bank against it. Most of the debts were paid, but many were quietly written off. Among the contents of the old store where the Doc spent his last years are papers, letters and un-canceled checks, all of which provided a rich storehouse of research material in studying the early days of the county. Among this material are un-cancelled checks, many of them dating back to the early 1900’s, mostly in small amounts, and written by many pioneers of the county now gone. The amount of the un-cashed checks is estimated to total close to $20,000.Although the Doc was noted for always offering a helping hand to worthy needy and making modest charges for his service, he managed to accumulate a substantial estate. When his eyesight grew poor, he gradually discontinued his practice, and the bulk of the work has been carried on by his nephew, Dr. Bob Wah. Occasionally he would treat an old-timer but gradually made his retirement complete.Doc Hay was a devout Buddhist but with the decreasing number of original Chinese immigrants too few were left to hold regular services. He maintained, however, a Buddhist temple in his quarters where he worshipped regularly. Although the Chinese colony here, which at one time numbered above 600, did not have any designated leader, Ing Hay was regarded as a senior statesman to whom many went regularly for advice. His business partner, Lung On, reportedly about the same age as Ing Hay, died in 1940.Mining camp gamblers at one time tried to use Ing Hay as an instrument in filching money from the miners. Part of his stock of merchandise consisted of playing cards. At one time he had approximately 1,000 decks on hand from which the frontier places of amusement regularly made purchases for their games. The gamblers offered Ing Hay a substantial amount of money for the cards: They would only keep them for several days and return them to him intact. He refused the offer, which obviously was intended as a way to steam off seals, mark the cards and then return them to Doc Hay to be sold for use in the games. The cards, as a product of Doc Hay’s place would have been regarded as reliable, and the miners would have been taken to the cleaners more rapidly than usual.Members of the Chinese colony of good repute could always get credit backing from Ing. Mrs. Margaret Herburger O’Brien, a native of Grant County, knew Doc Hay in the earlier days. Before her death late in June she had written several columns on the old doctor in the Ukiah, California Press which she owned. In a column appearing in the issue of March 24, 1942, she reminisced:“It is a long time since I saw him last. His name is Doc Hay and he is a Chinese doctor. He lives on a famous placer mining creek in Eastern Oregon and he had done a lot of good. When you visited ‘Doc’ Hay he would not ask you what ailed you. He would take your hand and forearm and place them on a small pillow. Carefully feeling about the wrist he would find out himself what the matter was. He would then fuss around in a pot of herbs, leaves and roots – it looked like a woodrat’s nest – and he would fix you up some medicine that would ‘Catchem’. The Celestial was a smart old coot, too. I recall a cowboy who had a violent toothache, went in to try and fool him and told ‘Doc’ Hay he was plenty sick, ‘Doc’ Hay put his forearm on the pillow and quickly jabbed his thumb in the cheek of the patient beneath the tooth which was throbbing. ‘Pull him out’ was the diagnosis.”



Ing ‘Doc’ Hay, c. 1890

This portrait of the Chinese doctor Ing Hay was taken when he was nineteen years old. Doc Hay, as he was best known, was a prominent medical practitioner in the eastern Oregon town of John Day for more than sixty years.

Ing Hay was born in Taishan County, Guangdong Province, in 1862. He came from a long line of herbalists and likely learned traditional Chinese medicine from family members. In the 1870s five of Ing’s uncles emigrated to the United States in search of opportunity. Ing and his father soon followed, probably arriving in the U.S. in 1883, a year after Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act.

In 1885 Ing and his father moved to Walla Walla, which had a thriving Chinese community. Ing’s father returned to China in 1887, but Ing remained in the United States. He relocated to John Day, where he became acquainted with a fellow Chinese immigrant by the name of Lung On. Ing Hay and Lung On would become lifelong friends and business partners.

In September 1888, Ing Hay and Lung On opened a store in the Kam Wah Chung building, a stone structure probably built in the late 1860s as a trading post and temporary fort along The Dalles Military Road. Catering primarily to the large Chinese community in John Day, Kam Wah Chung & Co. sold goods imported from China as well as canned food, bulk goods, tobacco, and other items to white miners and residents of John Day. It also served as a social center and hiring hall for eastern Oregon’s Chinese community.

In addition to the general store, Ing Hay practiced traditional Chinese medicine. He specialized in herbalism and pulsology, a technique that measures the pulse to diagnose medical problems. He became widely known for his ability to cure diseases that baffled American-trained doctors, and both whites and Chinese would travel from throughout the region to visit the modest office of the “China doctor.” When the Kam Wah Chung building was reopened in the late 1960s after being boarded up for more than a decade, over 500 herbs and other medicines were discovered, one of the largest collections of traditional Chinese medicine in the United States.

Ing Hay continued to practice medicine until 1948, when he retired to a nursing home in Portland. He died in 1952 at the age of eighty-nine. He is buried in the Restlawn Cemetery in John Day.

Further Reading:
Barlow, Jeffrey G. and Christine Richardson. China Doctor of John Day. Portland, Oreg., 1979.

McCunn, Ruthanne Lum. Chinese American Portraits: Personal Histories, 1828-1988. San Francisco, Calif., 1988.

Written by Cain Allen, © Oregon Historical Society, 2005.



Ing Doc Hay

Born in Walla Walla, Washington, per his death certificate and in Canton China from other sources. Famous herbal doctor “Doc” Hay; partner with Lung On in the Kam Wah Chung & Co., general store, in John Day, Grant County, Oregon, USA; Go to this link:

The Kam Wah Chung site was designated a National Historic Site in 2005.

By Angel Carpenter
Blue Mountain Eagle newspaper
July 28, 2010

JOHN DAY – Time stands still at the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site, where the rooms appear just as they were around the turn of the 20th century.

Oranges, dried with the passing of years, grace a Buddhist/Taoist altar; hundreds of small boxes of herbs and other Chinese medicines are neatly stacked; and containers of food sit on shelves, their contents left undisturbed.

On the walls are epigrams written in Chinese on red paper -one reads, “Good friends make good business; good business makes good friends.”

Kam Wah Chung, which translates “Golden Flower of Prosperity,” was the home and business operation of Ing “Doc” Hay and Lung On, who bought the building in 1885.

Gold was discovered in nearby Canyon City in 1862, and the area saw an influx of people who came to work in the mining industry, including Chinese immigrants.

In the heart of Chinatown in John Day stood Kam Wah Chung, a center of activity for the Chinese population of Grant County.

Hay and On, both born in 1862, had talents which enriched the community.

Doc Hay was widely known for his unique ability to cure diverse ailments.

It is believed he learned his trade in China as an apprentice, but he also kept medical books.

Pulsology was his method for diagnosing medical problems for his patients who included the local Chinese and white people, as well as those who traveled miles to see him.

The patient placed their wrist on a pillow while Doc Hay felt their pulse.

If the patient was well he would send them on their way saying, “Go home, and have a happy life.” But if a cure was needed he had everything at hand – a pinch of this, a sprinkle of that – which was then packaged in paper.

Instructions were given, and the patient would take the medicine home to make a tea, or for some wounds make a paste, to bring relief.

In 1936, one young newlywed from Burns visited Doc Hay with her mother who needed a treatment. The younger woman didn’t know she was pregnant, yet Doc Hay, after feeling her pulse, predicted that she would have multiples.

Several months later the young woman had triplets – two boys and one girl.

Uncashed checks totaling about $23,000 – which would have been worth about $250,000 today – were found under the mattress of Doc Hay’s bed.

Lung On had an entrepreneurial spirit, and ran about 12 businesses in his 50-plus years in John Day.

He ran a general store, housed in Kam Wah Chung. Besides food items and fireworks, alcohol and tobacco were his biggest sellers – typical of a gold rush town.

When the building was “rediscovered” in the 1970s after being closed up for at least 20 years, 95 bottles of whiskey were found boxed up under the floorboards.

In the room next to the general store, Lung On rented out four bunks at 25 cents for one week – three or four to a bunk.

He had the first car dealership in town – the Tourist Garage.

Other services he offered included reading and writing letters for people, selling catalog clothing and fortune telling.

With mining and other jobs available in the 1870-90s, the Chinese population in the area was about 2,000; however, only three to five of the 2,000 were women due to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which prevented Chinese men from bringing their families with them to the U.S.

As the local job market dried up in 1910, the Chinese population in the John Day/Canyon City area dwindled to less than 20.

Still, Doc Hay and Lung On stayed at Kam Wah Chung.

Both were married, their wives and children living in China.

Lung On’s wife once wrote, “It’s been over 30 years. Don’t you love me anymore? Why don’t you come home?”

Lung On died in 1940 at the age of 78. He insisted on being buried locally.

“I will always be an American,” he said.

Ing Hay suffered a broken hip in 1948 and moved to Portland to receive care. He died at the age of 89 and is buried next to Lung On in the John Day Cemetery on Valley View Drive.

The museum’s interpretive center is at 116 NW Bridge St.; to reach the building, turn north from Main Street to Canton Street, and travel half a block. The center is on the right across from the United Methodist Church. Kam Wah Chung is farther up the street within walking distance near the city park and Gleason Pool.

Chinese Americans leave legacy
By Tina Cook
The Blue Mountain Eagle 9/26/2007

JOHN DAY – Grant County is filled with historical riches. One such treasure was left by two Chinese immigrants, who came to John Day, started several profitable businesses, offered services to the community and were respected by both cultures.

Lung On and Ing “Doc” Hay immigrated to America and found their way to Grant County during the gold rush era. They formed a partnership and leased the building that is now the Kam Wah Chung Museum in 1888. The building served as a Chinese trading post, a hang out for Chinese immigrants, an herbal medicine practice, a Buddhist temple and their home.

Chinese and caucasian patients alike sought “Doc” Hay’s expertise. His specialty was pulsology, diagnosing ailments by the strength and rhythm of a person’s pulse. He mixed and sold herbal medicine to cure patients from all over eastern and central Oregon. He became well-respected by many as the “China doctor of John Day.”

Hay broke his hip and spent his last four years at a retirement home in Portland. He went blind several years before he died at age 89, but he continued to practice medicine.

On, an entrepreneur, ran the general store. He sold merchandise shipped from China, tobacco, American-made foods and products, and even Western medicines. He kept the store stocked with merchandise that would appeal to his Chinese and American patrons.

Fluent in English and well-educated, he was considered an upperclassman in China. He served as a labor contractor for the white people and Chinese. He also served as the letter writer and reader for the Chinese. On owned the first car dealership in Eastern Oregon.

“Basically, anything he thought he could make money at, he tried,” said the museum’s curator, Christina Sweet.

Lung On died when he was 78. He left his half of the business to his partner, Hay, who later left the entire business to his nephew, Bob Wah.

In 1955, Wah donated the building to the city to use as a museum. The building remained locked up until the 1970s.

In 1976, the building had its first restoration and museum officials made several interesting discoveries.

When one portion of the floor was pulled up, they found 96 bottles of Prohibition-era whiskey under the floorboards.

Under Doc Hay’s bed they found $23,000 worth of uncashed checks. Replicas are on display at the Interpretive Center.

Several documents, including letters to and from China were found, detailing the lives of a lost society.

“It’s kind of a forgotten history and here we have all aspects of the Chinese-American culture,” Sweet said.

Both men spoke Cantonese, as did most of the Chinese in Grant County.

“Chinese grouped together by province, because they spoke the same dialects,” Sweet said.

On and Hay became respected members of John Day society, at a time when Chinese people were usually persecuted.

“These folks were way ahead of their time and they were providing a service to the community,” said Deborah Wood, cultural resource manager for the National Park Service.

Kam Wah Chung means “Golden Flower of Prosperity.”

The museum is extraordinary because it holds artifacts from Chinese-American culture that are virtually untouched by time. From the homemade Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling to the unopened canned goods in the kitchen, there is a wealth of history to be uncovered throughout the building.

The museum is in the national register of historic places and has been listed as a national historic landmark since 2004.

Gravesite Details Row 13 along with Bob Wah, Rose Wah and Lung On

Flowers • 2

Left by Bonnie Rickmanon 24 May 2017

Visited the Kam Wah Chung museum and the graves this past weekend. These were amazing men.

Left by GraveWalker on 8 Sep 2009

  • Created by: Pam R.
  • Added: 24 Sep 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 21735924
  •  Pam R.
  • Source citation






我们要去的地方是图画山(Painted Hills),老早听说此地的眾山有如上苍挥洒了彩笔,点染青黄红赭,像图画一样美丽。一百一十四人分乘两辆旅游车,浩浩荡荡自西雅图出发,沿90号高速公路,越过卡斯基(Cascade)山脉,再南下俄勒岗州,走进连绵起伏的荒漠高原,从一条高速公路转接另一条高速公路,在海拔三千多呎的山区盘桓,把眾人弄得头昏脑胀。如此这般,便错过了一个出口,终于来到公路26号和395号的交会处:尊地(John Day),一个只有1.87平方英里的小市镇。墨西哥籍的司机说,这儿有一家金华昌博物馆,是纪念两位华人的。


车子停靠在广东路(Canton Rd)上的一个小公园旁边,眼前看到的是一间毫不起眼的两层建筑,用很结实的石块造成,四周的房子都是很寻常的民宅。这个在2010年的人口普查时,仅有1744人居住、97%是白人的小地方,日间也是静悄悄的,一下子来了闹哄哄的百多名华裔游客,也给博物馆来一个措手不及,向导每次只容十人入内参观,我们只得鳞比排队站在馆前。我居于人龙末端,估量要排候两小时才能够进内,便索性离队,随意先看园子里陈列的介绍图片。

原来这两个主人翁伍于念(Doc Hay,1862~1952)和梁光荣(Lung On,1863~1940)都是来自广东台山。



俄州的煤矿业原本集中在峡谷市(Canyon City),却因1885年的唐人街大火,纷纷迁移到尊地。于是在1887年,此地已有一千华人居住。


这一年,24岁、双手满是厚茧的伍于念遇上同乡的21岁的梁光荣,顿成莫逆。梁性格外向,能言善道,精通中英文;伍则木讷沉实,自幼熟读医书,娴习易经。两人商议之下,合资买了金华昌商店,店面改成厚重的铁门,门后增建一道木栅作保护,窗口加装铁栏,铺的前方作为大夫看症的场所,后方售卖唐山杂货,侧旁放上双层床,作为临时旅舍。自这天起,伍便改称Doc Hay,右手从此戴上手套,保持触觉的灵敏,只在看病时才脱下手套。梁亦改名为Lung On,也称Leon,负责翻绎和经营金华昌什货店。








终于轮到我们这一组入内参观了。大门侧边的桌子,大概该是伍大夫看症的地方吧,现在摆着访客签名册,我看到的是寥寥可数的名字。进门的时候,我特地看了钢门上的子弹痕迹,原以为已经看了不少的文字陈述,已有若干瞭解,但从看到子弹痕迹那一剎那开始,像穿越了时光隧道,立刻体验到在排华年代铺天盖地而来的惶恐震撼。从墙上挂着的格兰县银行(Grant County Bank)的日历,时空都冻结在1920年11月13日。屋子内最显眼的正中位置是悬挂着红布的神位,香炉里仍满满插着半烬的香烛,前面高悬四盏不再金碧辉煌的灯笼,想来这就是他们供奉香火,求心之所安之处吧!四周墙壁,都装有陈列架,摆放着各式各样的罐头、什货、雪茄、香菸、油糖、茶叶、化核应子、爆竹、酒、浸着蛇的药酒、五百多种药材,以及其他日常用品。还贴着饱酣墨汁写在洒金红纸上的大字「货如轮转」、「架物流行」。


另一房间设有两张双层的碌架床,想来是给疲惫的旅客用的。床榻周沿贴上十八张广告,上有男大衣、男西装和女装的款式,并用英文写着They are all one price(男女同价)。在厨房里,熏黑的墙壁,烧柴的炉灶,有着木盖子的大铁镬,杯碟盘碗,瓦罐铜壶,筷子、菜刀、坎具,一应俱全。令人想起这就是伍大夫煮草药给病人饮用的工具。旁边有一张老旧的木桌子,横放着几本簿子,其中一本写着「歷年存各客账部」,旁有毛笔、墨砚等文房用具,想来这就是无数离乡背井,又不识字的华工来找梁先生寄钱回乡和写家书的桌子吧!另一边的长木桌,放着研药用的盅子、小槌子。看到了这一切,体会到那些年在异乡谋生,言语不通,又饱受歧视的日子里,金华昌如何凝聚华人,成了一个同声同气、相濡以沫的重要地方。


在回程的车子上,眾人默然无声。我凝视远处山坡上的滚草(Tumbling Weed),枯黄乾涩,灰灰濛濛,这儿是高原地带,土地贫瘠,滚草秋季时茎在近地面折断,随风滚动,到了那里,便长在那里,其坚强的生命韧力,令人惊叹。寂寂无闻的金华昌博物馆正给我同样的感动。



梅伟强、张国雄主编 五邑华侨华人史











清朝末年,正是传统中医开始受到社会大众质疑之时,一贯反对中医的梁启超踏上大洋彼岸的美国土地。  初到新大陆,最使梁启超感到震惊的不是大厦楼宇,也不是异域的生活方式,而是美国人对中医的巨大热情。极目所见,中医馆和中药铺遍地开花。





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