Georgie Lee – Chinese Champion Bantamweight of the World

Georgie Lee Letterhead
“Ancil Hoffman Letter regarding George Washington Lee,” 1921, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, George Washington Lee & Raymond Lee case files, Seattle, Box 1349, Case 40233/1-1 & 40233/1-2.

George Washington Lee and his brother Raymond Lee were pugilists (boxers). Their primary home was in Sacramento, California but they were being promoted to box all over the world—United States, Canada, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, France and British Isles. In 1922 they were returning from their first trip out of the U.S.– a boxing match in Vancouver, B.C. Their manager was Ancil Hoffman and James J. Corbett created a promotional biography for George Lee. He called him the “yellow peril” and said he held his own with Bud Ridley, Young Farrell, Al Walker and Felix Villamore, know on the West Coast as the “Big Four.”
This is a condensed family biography gathered from Form 430, witnesses, letters, interviews and the promotional material in the file:
The progenitor of the family was Lee Moy, who was born in China, and his wife, Neevis Paderas, born in California of Mexican descent. They had seven children, four boys and three girls: George, Raymond, Elwin, Daniel, Emma, Dora and Irene. The mother died in Sacramento in 1917. (Moy and Neevis’s 1899 marriage certificate and Neevis’s death certificate were reviewed by the inspectors and returned to the family.) Their son Daniel died in 1918. George and Raymond were born in San Francisco before the earthquake and fire. (Raymond’s birth certificate is included in the file.)
Lee Moy serviced in the U.S. Army as a mess attendant on the U.S.S. Pinta and was receiving a pension for his military service. He worked as a cook after his stint in the army.
In 1921 George Lee applied for and obtained a U.S. passport from the Department of State. (included in the file)
Ira M. Conran, Chief of Police, Sacramento, Mr. Tharpe, a detective, and Ted N. Koening, a policeman, all testified that they knew George Lee since he was a child. A copy of a torn family portrait was included in the file.
The inspectors were satisfied with the applications and they were accepted.

Esther Wah Kee Moy – Age 10 months, born in Portland, OR

photo of Esther Wah Kee Moy
“Esther Moy (Esther Wah Kee Moy) photo, age 10 months,” 1917, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Esther Moy (Esther Wah Kee Moy) file, Seattle, Box 1263, Case 363531-3.

Mrs. Moy Bow Wing, a widow, also known as May Moy, was applying to re-enter the United States with her three children, Esther Wah Kee Moy, Florence Wah Jong Moy and Stanley Wah Chung Moy. All three were born in Portland, Oregon. The family had been visiting May Moy’s grand-uncle in Vancouver, British Columbia. Being Canadian-Chinese, May Moy made several trips between Seattle and Vancouver, B. C. between 1912 and 1915 and was known to the Seattle immigration office.
Dr. George Parrish, the Health Officer of the City of Portland, swore to the accuracy of the copy of Esther Wah Kee Moy’s birth certificate.
The reference sheet in the back of the file contains the names and file numbers for the baby’s father, mother, brother, sister, grandparents, and two uncles.
Esther Wah Kee Moy’s father, Moy Bow Wing, died in January 1917 just five months before she was born.
Additional information not in the file:
According to a long article in the Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, 6 January 1917, page 10: Moy Bow Wing was the eldest son of Moy Back Hin, Chinese Consul in Portland. He was 34 years old when he died of pneumonia. The article contains much biographical information and tells of Moy Bow Wing’s many accomplishments.

John Mackenzie, an anomaly – born in China; Scottish father

John Mackenzie photo
“John Mackenzie photo,“ 1921, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, John Mackenzie file, Seattle, Box 1310, Case 38905/1-11.

John Mackenzie, arrived in Seattle on the s.s. Princess Adelaide on 3 August 1921. He was applying for admission to the United States as a United States citizen. He was 25 years old and was born in Canton, China. He had never been to the United States but he did possess State Department Passport #21840, signed by Chares E. Hughes, secretary of state. His father, who died in 1903, was born in Scotland and was a naturalized citizen of the U.S. John Mackenzie was educated and registered in Hong Kong. He had been a clerk with the Standard Oil Company at Hankow but was not currently employed by them.

Eng Se Tong – Section 6 Student Exemption at Whitman College

Whitman College brochure1922
“The Success of Whitman College” brochure, 1922, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Ng Shue Tong (Eng/Ng Se Tong) file, Seattle, Box 1327, Case 39540/3-1

Eng Se Tong, age 20, was coming to the United State in 1922 to finish his education on a scholarship at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. He could speak a little English. His deceased father was Ng Joon Sam. His brother, Soon En, was living in Chicago.
Ng Shue Tong was advised, “You should not become a laborer as you are to be admitted as a member of the exempt class and under your admission as a section six student you are not to become a common laborer, and if you do you are subject to arrest and deportation to China.”
Ng Shue Tong’s application was endorsed by the American Consular General at Canton, China in 1921 under the rules set forth at that time.
Ng Shue Tong had hookworm when he arrived so he was rejected. He applied for hospital treatment, was cured, and admitted at Seattle and from there went to Walla Walla.
A 16-page brochure, “The Success of Whitman College,” is included in the file.

Jung John – Merchant – did not perform manual labor…

Jung John
“Jung John, Form 421 photo,” 1922, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Jung John file, Seattle, Box 1327, Case 39555/2-3.

Jung John, a returning merchant, arrived in the port of Seattle on 31 January 1922. He was accompanied by his wife, Mok Shee. They were on their way to their home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Their witnesses were Lee Ho, Dr. George C. Taggart and Peter Hackett. [Peter Hackett – no relation but fun to see in the files.]
Jung John was a salesman at the Chong Wah Company in Philadelphia. He was admitted as the son of a merchant. His father had worked at Chong Wah Company and when he died in 1916 he left his share in the company to his son. The average annual sales for the company were $50,000 to $60,000. They sold Chinese groceries, drugs, fancy goods and chinaware. For $87 a month they rented most of the building at 909 Race Street. They subleased out the second floor to Far East Restaurant and the third floor was used for sleeping quarters. There were twenty members in the firm.
Before leaving the 1921, Jung John swore that for at least one year proceeding the date of his application he had not performed any manual labor other than was necessary in the conduct of the business. He was going back to China to visit his mother and get married.
Lee Ho, age 29, was the manager of Chong Wah Company. He and Jung John both came from Hok San district in China.
George C. Taggart, age 52, physician and druggist at the northeast corner of 9th & Race Streets and knew most of the Chinese in the area.
For the last 26 years, Peter Hackett, age 46, was a custom house broker with Vandegrift & Company at 400 Chestnut Street. He had seen Jung John at the funeral of his father and knew them both through Chong Wah Company. Jung John impressed Mr. Hackett as a clean-living young man of good habits.

Chin Fook Hing – Generation Book

Chin Hing photo & business card
“Chin Hing photo & business card,” 1922, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Hing alias Chin Fook Hing file, Seattle, Box 1328, Case 39666/1-1.

Chin Hing’s marriage name was Chin Fook Hing but he also went by Hing Henry. He was born in Canton, China on 1 September 1875 at one a.m. [It is very unusual to see the time of birth listed in a file.] His father, Chin Suey, was born in San Francisco and his mother was Woo Shee was born in China. Family information was included in a bible and a generation book. His grandfather, Chin Yick, was one of the first Chinese to come to San Francisco. He was married to an Indian woman and worked in the gold mines and then a fruit orchard. After the grandfather’s wife died in 1874 he and his son, Chin Suey, went to China. Chin Suey married Woo Shee soon after he arrived and they had a son, Chin Hing. The family moved back to San Francisco about 1881. Years later they moved to Seattle and Chin Hing became a merchant at Kwong Wa Chong Company. In 1910 Chin Hing visited China and married Tah Soo Len who was born in Los Angeles. Their two children, Chin Hing Henry and Chin Josephine were born in Seattle. At the time of his interview in 1922, Chin Hing was a merchant and member of Chong Hing & Co., at 676 King Street in Seattle.
The interpreter explained to the interviewer that the generation book was a history of Chin Fook Hing’s family for eighteen generations and dated back over three hundred years.
Witnesses for Chin Hing:
Julius Schweigart, in the art and picture business, a resident of Seattle since 1906.
Otto Guthman, salesman at National Grocery Co., Seattle; resident of Seattle since 1905.
Woo Gen, merchant and member of Kwong Wa Chong Co., Wa Chong Co., and Washington Rice Mill Company; resident of Seattle 36 years.

Chin Hing (Chin Fook Hing) died in Seattle on 16 November 1941. A copy of his obituary from 22 November 1941 issue of the Seattle Times is included in the file.
Excerpts from the obituary:
“A German knitter befriended Mr. Chin and taught him the knitting business and in                  1911, with no capital, Mr. Chin established the Chong Hing Knitting Company, 504                   12th Ave. S. of which he was general manager until his death.”
“Mr. Chin was the first Chinese to serve as a juror in King County Superior Courts. He                  was past treasurer of the Seattle Chinese Patriotic League and the Seattle Chinese                  Nationalist Association.”

Charley Wing – Merchant or Laborer?

Charley Wing photo 1894
“Photos of Charley Wing, 1894 & 1919,” Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Charles Wing, alias Chin Poon Leong file, Seattle, Box 1301, Case 38575/8-2

Wing Charley 1919

In December 1919 Charley Poon Wing was anxious to visit his sister in China before she died–she was very old, in ill health, and he had not seen her since they were children. Before he left The U.S. he applied to re-enter the country as a returning domiciled merchant. Although he was a laborer many years ago, he now considered himself a merchant. On his return trip Wing arrived in Seattle, Washington on 18 April 1921 on the S.S. Princess Alice but was denied admittance. His case was appealed and he was finally admitted on 6 June 1921. [He spent almost two months at a detention center waiting for the final decision.]
Wing first entered the U. S. at San Francisco in 1875 at the age of ten and remained here continuously until 1919. He was a citizen of South Dakota, owned property worth about $600, paid taxes, and was a registered voter. He voted until he was prohibited by the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1892. He had a certificate of residence No. 135,817, issued at Omaha, Nebraska in May 1894.
Charley Wing applied for readmission as a merchant but under the provision of the Exclusion Act he was deemed a laborer. Because the immigration authorities thought he was trying to enter fraudulently he was subject to deportation. An appeal was made and he was landed as a returning laborer issued nunc pro tunc. [Latin for “now for then,” this refers to changing back to an earlier date of an order, judgment or filing of a document. See]
Harry L. Gandy, a former member of the U. S. House of Representatives, and a friend of Charley’s, testified that he had known Wing many years and that he should be admitted as a citizen of the state of South Dakota. Gandy wrote a very convincing letter in Wing’s favor explaining that Wing was now an old man and if he was not admitted and forced to go back to China, he will probably die there, alone.
Mr. J. S. Gantz, testified that he had known Charley Wing over 30 years and that Wing had voted prior to 1889 when the Enabling Act [when South Dakota became a state] was passed. Wing was the manager and head cook at the Chicago Restaurant in Rapid City. [Because Wing also did manual labor as head cook, the immigration authorities considered him a laborer.]
According to the records of the Register of Deeds of Pennington County, Wing was the owner of lot 8, block 7, Feigel’s East Addition in Rapid City assessed at $400. Although Wing was the manager of the restaurant, Robert F. Davis, Immigrant inspector, did not think he qualified as a merchant.
Yee Sing Wah and Yee Wah Ong, partners at Chicago Café, testified that Charley Wing was a partner in the Cafe.
Louis W. Napier, the proprietor of a soft drink place in Rapid City, testified that he had known Charley Wing for 25 years. He said he wouldn’t classify him as a merchant but he was a businessman. His definition of a merchant was one who deals in merchandise although Wing was the proprietor of several restaurants over the years. “He always contributed to any cause, churches and civic movements, campaign finds, etc.”
George F. Schneider, president of Pennington County Bank, testified that he had known Charley Wing for over ten years. Schneider thought Wing was a merchant and in charge of supervision of his restaurant who also did manual labor as a cook so in the strict definition of the Act he was not a merchant.
Affidavits testifying to the good character of Charley Wing were filed by W. L. Gardner, a furniture dealer in Seattle; James B. Barber, a contractor and builder; Charles A. Whitson and Guy Wing, both workers at Wing’s Cafeteria; and Edmund Smith, a lawyer in Seattle.
In the five-page statement filed by Smith & Chester, Wing’s attorneys they reiterated all of Charley Wing’s qualities and point out the sad predicament he was in. They said Wing was denied re-admission because he stated he was a “restaurant man” when he left and a “merchant” when returned. They said, “The government does not mean for its functions to serve as a trap, nor to use this kind of a mistake as a snare for the unwary.” They ended their plea,

“Exercising the broad discretion given to the Secretary of Labor, we earnestly request that the decision of the local board be set aside and an order be entered nunc pro tunc, admitting appellant under his true status, if he cannot be admitted as a merchant.”

Charley Wing was admitted on 6 June 1921.