Posts Tagged ‘Herbert Yee’

Toy Avenue

Well-respected Chinese herbalist and landowner Toy Wah Hing was born in Sacramento in 1869.(There also are avenues names Wah and Hing.) The family name, however, was Yee. His father was Yee Fung Cheung, a Chinese herbalist who treated Leland Stanford’s wife, Jane, when she was deathly ill. Stanford called him Dr.Hing, and he came to assume that name, said Melvin Hing, a great-grandson of Yee. Toy Wah Hing also too up the name and herbalist trade, but also invested in large tracts of land, including the land from Auburn in Placer County to areas south of the city of Sacramento. His herbal practice sometime ran afoul of authorities  who accused him of possessing morphine, heroin and opium when he was raided in 1920. Nevertheless, his family, including 16 chilren, was the only Chinese family lived in downtown, and he was the first Chinese man in town to own a car. Grandson Melvin Hing remembers going around to collect rents in the 1930s in an “old jalopy”. Toy Wah Hing’s land holdings included an area now know as Woodbine, where in 1915, he plotted out streets named Toy, Wah and Hing. The streets were plotted on a map. They did not appear on the grounds for years. Song, a street named for his wife, was never built. Three other streets were named Yee, Lock and Sam, the herbalist’s  Chinese names…….(until now, only Lock was built, Fan’notes). Toy Wah Hing’s home was at 725 J street.

Carlos Alcala.Sacramento Street Whys: The Whys Guy’s Wise Guide to Sacramento Street names. Big Tomato Press. Sacramento. 2007 page 71-72.

Yee Fung Chung, Sacramento Pioneer.

Yee Fung Chung came to Sacramento during the gold rush. In 1862,Jane Stanford, the wife of Sacramento businessman and California governorLeland Stanford, became sick…..After moving to Virginia City, Noveda, in 1869, he bagan using his second birth name Wah Hing, a name he utilized until returning to Sacramento. The exact date of his return is unknown, but advertisements for his business at 1209 Third Street, under the name of Yee Wah Hing, appeared in 1901, and he opened an office at 725 J street in 1905. His son, Yee Lok Sam, adopted the name T. Wah Hing in about 1897, continueing his father’s business on third street, but he resumed the name Yee Lok Sam in 1910. Yee Lok Sam’s son Henry grew up in the United States and later continued the family tradition of herbal medicine at another office on J street.

William Burg. Sacramento’s K street, where our City was born. The History Press.Charleston.2012.Page 37-38. (03/25/13 searched)

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A History of Chinese Americans in California:
THE 1850s


Technology Brought From China

The presence of the ailanthus tree (the so-called “Tree of Heaven”) throughout California has long been a puzzle. The tree is native to China, but not to the United States; yet it grows profusely in those regions where early Chinese immigrants lived. All sorts of fanciful explanations are given — that the Chinese accidently brought the seeds to this country in the cuffs of their trousers (their trousers did not have cuffs), or that the Chinese brought the seeds to this country because they were homesick. The real reason Chinese immigrants brought ailanthus seeds to this country is that the trees are thought to contain an herbal remedy beneficial for arthritis. [32] The Chinese “wedding plant” was also brought to this country as an herbal remedy, but is less easily recognized.

Herbal medicine fulfilled an important health need in the nineteenth century for both Chinese and non-Chinese alike. Western medicine had not yet developed wonder drugs, anaesthetics, vaccinations, or sophisticated surgical techniques. Patent medicines were widely used, and their contents were not regulated by any agency of the government. Drastic measures, such as bleeding, were sometimes resorted to. On the other hand, Chinese herbal remedies had one to two thousand years of use be hind them. In fact, some so-called “wonder drugs” are actually synthesized forms of various herbs. Even today, some medically trained Chinese Americans prefer some herbs to their synthesized forms because the natural herbs have no side effects. [33,Interview with Dr. Herbert Yee (1978)]

One of the ancient building techniques brought from China was construction using rammed earth. While adobe and rammed earth are of ten associated with Spanish and Mexican cultures, rammed earth was a construction technique in use in China as early as 1500 B.C. This technique involves packing mud between wooden forms and hammering it until it becomes as hard as stone. It is an inexpensive building technique, but it is vulnerable to rains and dampness. When it is used in South China, where the weather is often damp, buildings are faced with stone for added protection. [34]

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